Oh my goodness Citizen Jack is one comic I’ve been looking forward to for awhile. Considering the so far loopy madness that this election cycle has brought us, Citizen Jack #1 is perfectly timed. Between Prez from DC Comics and this, politics in comics is definitely taking a small uptick lately. Seeing that initially all I knew about this was the title and the fact that Sam Humphries was writing it and Tommy Patterson is the artist, yeah I was pretty blind going into Citizen Jack. So what kind of crazy electoral madness am I in for? This time around your Presidential Candidate is a man named Jack Northworthy who’s working with a Demon named Marlinspike to make his way to the White House. When you realize Humphries is writing this comic and he made a comic like Our Love is Real work, you learn to trust that you’re in for a good time. Even more so that Tommy Patterson is a great artist most notably on his work with the Game of Thrones comic. Amazing artist, amazing writer, and a concept unlike anything else, time to venture through my Thought Process on Citizen Jack #1.
Here’s the craziest bit about Citizen Jack #1, this comic starts off like a twisted dark comedy. I almost wish Marlinspike the Demon wouldn’t have been setup till midway through the comic to see how much more broken Jack is. Yet it works as is since Jack Northworthy is an absolute mess. He just doesn’t know how much of a mess he is because he’s stuck in an alcoholic haze and is kind of a jerk, okay not kind of, he really is a jerk. Yet it’s fun to see how Humphries explores this strange individual and hovering in the background is a laughing demon known as Marlinspike. I almost like the demon more than Jack and that takes some talent. Even knowing Jack’s backstory in the comic, he is still so unlikable and yet compelling to see how his journey is going. There are hints that there is a decent person somewhere in that mildly terrible soul. Really if Humphries can figure out a way to get us to like him or dislike him even more, this could be something. As it is at this point, I really oddly enjoy the demon but find Jack absolutely fascinating at his horribleness.
Which in the story that Humphries is crafting here, Tommy Patterson helps bring this madness to life. Jack himself is pretty much designed as a mess spending most of his time in a pink bathrobe, with this sort of grinning to almost borderline nuts look on his face. Patterson has a way with these emotions in the story to bring to us the life of Citizen Jack. At all times Jack’s reactions are always exaggerated in one way or another fitting Humphries characterization of him. I think it also helps that there’s enough realism to his artwork to give it some kind of grounding force, even with a demon and a dolphin political commentator in the story. In the developing supporting cast outside of Marlinspike the way Patterson draws their reactions to Jack is priceless. The cast has these great looks on their faces from slight grins to absolute disgust and anger, it’s really cool to see as you note these touches in the artwork itself.
There’s also something to be had here in the coloring. Jon Alderink captures the snowy wonderland of Minnesota in a wonderful way. When there is the light amount of snow blowing in the wind on the opening page sets such a mood for the story ahead. It’s cold to look at and then you see a man in a bright pink bathrobe with a shotgun riding a snowblower. It’s all in the coloring of the darkness, the snow, and everything colliding to set that perfect mood of what you’re in for within the pages of Citizen Jack. Until you of course get to Marlinspike colored in shadows throughout the story and bringing to life the craziness that demon brings into Jack’s life. There’s one scene near the end where reality goes haywire and Patterson’s visuals are one thing bringing the writing to life but Alderink’s colors make the scene explode from the page. It’s pure manic energy from one exciting splash page and I love it.
One thing I’m starting to appreciate more is the art of a good letterer and Rachel Deering did a rocking job lettering this. I especially noticed the lettering on Marlinspike, that lettering gives as much personality to the demon as the actual writing and art does. I liked also how the lettering in the opening pages with the snow blower battle and one character had the letters trailing off, very cool effect. In lettering the comic you can see the simplest touches add that much to a story and what brings certain characters to life. This is my first time really paying attention to that and in a story like this that has so many different elements in play, it’s good to appreciate the lettering adding so much life to a story.
I’m enjoying my time in the world of Citizen Jack so far. It’s endlessly engaging and has a lot going on that has my attention already. I liked that you pretty much got a good base feel for Jack right off the bat and you at least have a basic understanding of him. Now the reader has an opportunity to really appreciate learning more about Jack in the issues to come as he starts his journey to the White House. Even getting a feel for his connection with Marlinspike, this is going to take many a twist and I’m happy to see it. You can see that there is going to be a darker element brewing here but it is going to be delicious to see how brutal this thing will end up being.
I’m hoping that a lot of people will give Citizen Jack a shot, it’s got an amazing team and so much going for it. Don’t miss out on this comic, I beg of you do not miss out on this comic. Citizen Jack has so much happening already and this is going the beginning. Even better that this is an ongoing series that I want to see go as far as it can possibly go, read this comic.