Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Secret Life of Crows

Posted by Katrina Roets on 8:00 AM

I love a skillfully drawn, lovingly written comic book. That's the long and the short of it.  Oh, expand? Happy to!

What can be said about The Secret Life of Crows that hasn't already been said? Oh, that's right: everything, because this was an incredibly unique bit of fiction!  I haven't seen a book like this come into existence in a long time.  The fact is, this review is a bit behind because once I got it and read it, I needed to digest what I had read.  Then I left the book alone for a few weeks, although it was always in the recesses of my mind.  Once I felt I was ready, I tackled it again and it was like a second culinary delight for my eyes and mind.
The book was created, drawn, and colored by the amazingly talented Nei Ruffino. I've been a huge fan of Nei's since I "discovered" her artwork at Phoenix Comicon a few years ago, and I can say with certainty that every page of this book could be hang-able art. The ambiance and the style put into the settings and the animals: I'd often find myself getting lost in the curves and weight of the art and forgetting to continue to read the story.

Writing this gem is Raven Gregory, executive editor and writer at Zenescope Entertainment.  The writing flows and helps maintain the pacing of the book.  The prose is the glue that helps keep the book together.  It's deep, it's enthralling, and it's imagination-inducing. 

And I can't complete my description of the artistry in this book without mentioning veteran comic book letterer Jim Campbell. (Side note: I had a quick internet battle of which to link Jim's name to: his lettering blog or his deviantart page. Fortunately, this sentence gave me an opportunity to link *both*.) The letterer is often overlooked in a comic book.  We take for granted the words spoken by our beloved characters. I'm guilty of this myself.  However this time, the lettering stood out as an art form all its own. Anyone can just "transcribe words from a script". The letters intertwined with the prose to set the mood and to stir emotion.   

Now, I'm not going to go into heavy detail about the story of the book because it's a one-shot, it's a quick read, and my analyzing won't do it justice. I will tell you that the whole basis for the book is to give us a glimpse into aspects of our world that we might otherwise take for granted or just plain ignore. As if this soulful story weren't enough, the book (which only takes up about half the pages) is topped off the rest of the way with sketches and preliminaries from Nei while going through her process to complete the book. I love having this book in my collection, I'm glad I didn't let this one slip away and instead of storing it in a long box like I normally do, it'll probably sit on a bookshelf in my den because I'm sure I'll have the uncontrollable urge to return to its pages. 


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