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Shelter Division #1 Review

Shelter Division

Writer Bob Salley
Artist Fracesco Tomaselli
Letterer HdE

When I first heard of Kickstarter I jumped on just to look around and see what all of the fuss was about and the first project that I saw was Salvagers. I read about the project and thought that it was a great idea but I had never really invested into indie comics or backed a Kickstarter before so I sat back and just watched as the project came to life. I can honestly say that I’ve been a fan of Bob Salley since he took the plunge into comic creating and I’m thrilled to see him branch out of the Salvagers world and take on something else that is close to his heart. Salley has been around with the Salvagers series, as far as labels and artists, but now he has landed firmly on his feet with Source Point Press where both Salvagers and Shelter Division can be found. Shelter Division started as a webcomic, the first eleven pages can still be found here, but has recently had a successful Kickstarter that will ensure fans get a print copy. Salley, being the masterful marketer he is, put issue three of Salvagers Wreck Raiders in with Shelter Division, giving people not only a taste of something new guaranteeing them something familiar as well. For someone like me who has followed Salley and Salvagers this is just a great opportunity to have killed two birds with one pledge and get something familiar with something new and exciting.

Shelter Division is, in Salley’s words, “When the investigated become the investigators” and it certainly lives up to this tagline. The Shelter Division is something like the BPRD meets X-Files; they’re a group of paranormal entities that consist of a handful of characters that include a Bigfoot like creature named Biggs and an alien named Roswell. The leader of the group is a fellow named Emrik Chaplin and it starts off with an action packed chase scene that sends Chaplin after a mystery man while Biggs is left to battle some giant mean looking guy. As a writer Salley has really started to come out of his shell, he effortlessly introduces two of his main characters with an intense action sequence that has minimal dialog, while slowly building the plot and still leaving surprises like the introduction of Roswell in later pages. All of what I described can still be found for free at Source Point Press and is almost guaranteed to hook the readers. The idea of the unexplained investigating the unexplained is pretty genius but where Salley really shines is in character development, I really enjoy all of the characters and am invested in the series and that happens nearly instantly for me. From the first page to the last the plight of the characters and the world building keeps me engaged and ready for more.

Tomaselli is fairly new to the US and indie comic world but has had extensive training at colleges like Roman School of Comics and International School of Comics. The art of Shelter Division is polished and it’s hard to believe that Tomaselli does everything himself. That’s correct, the entire book; pencil, ink, colors, are all Tomaselli. What a team Tomaselli and Salley make, the action scenes are what make this book so exceptional and Tomaselli nails the character’s actions thoroughly by staying true to their physical dimensions and matching their personalities to their body types. Biggs is a giant bigfoot looking guy and Tomaselli makes sure he is always flexing like a big muscle bound bigfoot would.

HdE is probably the heavyweight crown holder for indie letterers. His lettering is ALWAYS spot on and never fails to be suiting in terms of style and suiting formats for the artist’s style. HdE always has a pleasing font for dialog balloons and makes the captions special with their colors or design, just to set them apart. HdE is also very talented at slipping in action letters like BLAM or KRNCH to spice up a panel. Without the little tweaks to dialog balloons like all caps for an ARGH and captions design I don’t this book would be complete. HdE completes books like no other. As I said, heavyweight champion of lettering.

The first eleven pages of Shelter Division can be viewed at Source Point Press, along with purchasing information for all of their titles that include Shelter Division and other titles like Salvagers.

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