Hey, let’s dive into some webcomics! Gale is an indie webcomic made by fellow creators that I met through social media/networking. It is written by Seth Greenwood and drawn by Angela Zhang, who’ve been working tirelessly to bring this comic to readers, so let’s jump in!
Gale is a noir. You know, black and white, a big, looming mystery, and secrecy abound. Here’s what we know so far (as they have just wrapped up the first chapter, and are working on the second): Gale Norman, the titular character, has recently lost his father. He’s died of a heart attack, so they say. But Gale isn’t buying it. Thus, he sets out to see what he can uncover, and if he can find the truth. So far, what we truly know, as any good noir shows us, is that we know nothing.
This story also features the female lead in Laurie. The one who got away, you might call her. One of my personal favorite parts about this book is when Laurie and Gale are together. Though they are drawn characters, they do have real chemistry. I truly felt sorry for them, being so close, yet unable to be with each other. It’s a tale as old as time, maybe, but I still felt it.
This image is unrelated to the text above it, just finding something without spoilers.
I also enjoy the building being done in this story. Like all good mysteries, we’re left with a lot of questions. We see bits and pieces as the story goes on that hint at something much, much bigger going on. And by the time chapter one is done, we’ve been given just enough to leave us needing more. It’s easy to write something, make it black and white, and call it a noir; but this story has a structure and a teased depth to back up the genre title. The story moves a long at a nice pace, all the while peeling back the curtain ever so slightly. Noirs are like puzzles, and we’re slowly putting this one together.
Also in terms of story, I found the character of Gale to be interesting. Usually in noirs you get that hard boiled detective. But Gale is a young attorney. He doesn’t look hardened by life, he looks like a normal guy. And, while this might just be a detail to some, to me it helps set the story apart from other black and white thrillers in the realm that is noir. And, this one doesn’t start with a dame, despite reports that “it always starts with a dame.” A little noir joke there, for you readers.
I think, though, my favorite thing about the story was that the very opening established the tone so that I could hear that low jazz music you hear in noir movies or, as I’ve done more recently, video games .
Now, to the art! I’ve long been a fan of Angela’s drawing. It really stands out in the landscape of indie artists that I’ve seen. And here it shines. The smoothness of the lines, the angles, the perspective and the ability to draw backgrounds with as much detail and love as possible. These are all things that make truly good comic book art (not that I’m speaking from personal experience, of course). In short, for the layperson, Angela’s art is beautiful. It really helps to lend the visual tone to the noir style. Things are sleek when they need to be, and creepy when it calls for it. There are also some very cool design aspects used in parts 7 and 8, when Gale is falling from a tree that both immersed me and just made me say, “cool!”
And, let me not spoil this with words, but that is one gorgeous panel.
There’s something about the depiction of rain in comics that really fascinates me.
The strongest thing about this comic, however, is how the words and story work together. Seth’s words and Angela’s art support each other to tell this story in a way that makes this comic really work. The attitudes of characters are depicted in words and drawings that don’t leave us questioning anything. And beyond that, you can almost see the script in its written format, establishing the tone of the story. The wordless panels give us all we need, even without words. These kinds of things only come from a strong team effort when working in comics. The success of this comics rests on creators, and their ability to work together to use two different forms of story telling to create a singular vision. To sum it up: they’re a good team.
The other really nice thing is that, since this is a web comic, it’s accessible to everyone. EVERYONE. Distribution through the Internet is a wonderful thing, don’tcha know? The first chapter is up and done, with a second one coming soon (early 2018, I think). But you can explore this title on your own here. So give it a read and, as the comic says, ask yourself, what will you believe?