Creator and Writer Kevin Cuffe
Creator, Pencils, and Inks by Paul Gori
Finished Colors Hedwin Zaldivar
Color Flats Paula Goulart
Inking Assistance Roman Hitzeroth
Edits, Lettering, and Production Shawn M. Greenleaf
Presented by Loophole Comics
Not sure if it’s just a crazy coincidence but they say that things come out in pairs, so I’m very lucky to have gotten my PDF Kickstarter rewards of two books that have very fresh and different takes on the western genre. Oathbound is heavily influenced by spaghetti westerns, specifically an all time classic in Once Upon A Time In The West. This is more than a western however, this is more of a fantasy and western hybrid amalgamation that takes the best of both worlds and blends them into a visually pleasing tale that features the storytelling of a western but with fantasy characters. Gunslinging humans, pointy eared elves, nasty little goblins, and magic; not sure what else they have planned but I can’t wait to see how much fantasy they throw in this spaghetti mess of a western.
Paul Gori’s artistic style is particularly fun and his style falls within my personal category of perfect comic book art. It’s not just the fact that I enjoy Gori’s art, Gori is a co-creator and has more than just a paying job out of this comic, he has partial creative control. A writer can have all the writing attachement in the world but an artist in Gori’s unique position has a clear vision of what the writer intends because they came up with the idea together. I feel that the close relationship between co-creators; writer and artist, can be hard to pull off but Gori and Cuffe could write the book on it and they deserve the credit for the creation. It must be nice being able to co-create with both sides being active. The quality of the co-creation shines very bright through Gori and his talents for bringing the Oathbound world to life. I particularly like the creepy looking goblins and the way that they personify both genres of fantasy and western, they look like something taken out of a Token novel and placed in a Clint Eastwood western.
Even though Gori and Cuffe have a great idea that they worked hard to make look good they knew that there were some aspects of creation that they couldn’t do themselves and they couldn’t ignore, which is a sign of true comic artists. The Oathbound team went out and got Hitzeroth as a coloring assistant, and Greenleaf as a letterer and editor. I feel like adding these artists were excellent moves, for a few different reasons. Adding a coloring assistant is great for a few different reasons; quicker production, adding eyes to the art, and speeding up production. I have a vision of an old school artist assembly line like they used to have at Disney where Gori is handing over pages to Hitzeroth to finish one after the next. Of course its probably a little more complicated and chances are they don’t sit side by side trading paper drawings but they seem to have gotten themselves into a nice groove because as I said before the art is fantastic.
Finally there is Greenleaf as a letterer and editor. Of course letterers are the unsung heroes of comic creation but in this particular case Greenleaf gets credit for what I assume comes natural to a letterer, editing. Editing and lettering should go hand in hand and in the case of Greenleaf he got his due in the credits. I can’t imagine a world where a letterer doesn’t at least ask if a mistake in grammar is on purpose before just going with it. Greenleaf does a stellar job at lettering, he adds all of the standard expert level letterer nuances; doing different balloon and font styles per the different type of conversation or even in this case per different species, and he adds in action lettering that is placed just right. The lettering is expert level and Greenleaf’s efforts at not just lettering but editing have been recognized but don’t forget the production title as well. I’m not exactly sure what this title entails but it’s clearly that he probably acted as a product overseer that has been closely watching from start to finish. I assume this because of the editor title. I assume that he gets these pages with only lettering and editing left to do so the rest of the team lets him run over the final art and final product before letting it go to the printers. Clearly Greenleaf’s editing skills are great and adding eyes to be sure the art is correct can’t be a bad thing.
I received Oathbound #1 PDF because I backed the Kickstarter but Loophole Comics has a page on Comixology where I’m sure Oathbound will show up eventually. There is also the Loophole Comics website where I’m sure they will make Oathbound available alongside their already available comics.