Just read: ELMER
Gerry Alanguilan's ELMER is definitely a must-read for this year. Chronicling the stories of Jake Gallo, an intelligent and temper-volatile chicken, ELMER does not resort to cheap humor or badly written jokes to stay entertaining and touching at the same time. Resonating the impact Art Spiegelman's MAUS had by using animals as his main characters, Gerry's characters are full of life and personality and yet transcend the usual expectations and archetypes one normally finds in comic books. Whereas most books have the "macho and handsome" lead and the "overly dressed, handsome and mestizo rich guy" as typical characters, Gerry gives each chicken character enough detail to stand out and yet proper attention to detail to still see them as chickens and not bad caricatures of animals.
The dialogue is rich and in some parts, heart-stabbing. The expressions each character portrays to show emotion shows how far Gerry has developed his craft since his other opus, Wasted. The attention to shadows, detail and composition reminds one that ELMER is a work that was meticulously created and not some rushed hack-job (like most of my own work!). With careful consideration of how chickens were treated in the past, one can easily expect some characters (like Farmer Ben) to have secrets soon to be revealed which may change the way you see them.
Congratulations to Gerry for a wonderful read! And yes, I would love to be able to read the second to fourth issues to come.
ELMER is available in Comic Quest.