Monday, 31 August 2015

Indie Comic Spotlight: Our Friend Satan

When I first heard about Our Friend Satan I was a little sceptical. The upcoming graphic novel, which follows a downtrodden Satan as he attempts to turn his life around by suing the Pope for defamation, seemed like a hard sell at first. After all, many creators have tried to put a new spin on the Devil and many have fallen short; however, this project currently being put together by a group of comic creators led by Dominik L. Marzec looks like it may well end up succeeding where so many others have failed. While the subject matter is potentially inflammatory - exploring a world where the Pope is something of an evil mastermind who has been spreading negative propaganda about Satan for many years - a quick glance at the seventeen page preview currently available on the book's website makes it abundantly clear that this story is being told in a wholly tongue-in-cheek manner. Indeed, Our Friend Satan looks like it could be a lot of fun, successfully adopting the same comedic techniques as recent mainstream comics such as Superior Foes of Spider-Man and Howard the Duck to great effect.

Additionally, judging from the aforementioned preview Marzec and co. could well succeed in making Satan - dare I say it - likeable?!  Reading the first few pages of this graphic novel left me fondly recalling a TV show I used to watch made by the CW, titled Reaper. For those unaware, the show followed the adventures of young slacker Sam Oliver who finds out on his 21st birthday that his parents sold his soul to the devil. Sam then is forced to become a reaper, tracking down escaped souls and taking them back to hell. What does all this have to do with Our Friend Satan? Well, in Reaper the Devil is played by Twin Peaks star Ray Wise in what is quite possibly the best performance of his career. As wrong as it seems to say this, Wise really does bring a certain charisma and humour to Satan which does make him strangely likeable. Reaper was sadly cancelled quite prematurely after just two short seasons, but I see remnants of that fantastic show in projects such as this one which makes me optimistic that this book could well end up being a gem.

It's clear that a great amount of effort and passion has been channelled into the creation of this graphic novel, which is evident in the fascinatingly distorted world that has been created wherein a sinister pope lives on a Vatican-themed space station, and the Anti-Christ simply wants to eat spaghetti and watch the Germany game in his slippers. The artwork is also very impressive; the detailed pages put together by Marzec and artists Lukas Lalko and Michael Murawski are a treat to look at, effectively creating comedic scenes whilst also being able to take a more sinister direction when the narrative requires it.

Our Friend Satan is at the time of writing reaching the end of it's Kickstarter campaign, and has fortunately reached its goal. However, with four days left to contribute you may still want to show your support for this project if it sounds like something you'd be interested in. The folks behind this book have a number of stretch goals that I'm sure they'd love to reach, including producing a hardcover edition and even starting work on a second and third instalment in Satan's story. There are also a number of awesome rewards for contributors such as T-Shirts, some (hilarious) posters, and even the chance to be drawn into the comic! The indie comics scene continues to grow from strength to strength, and it's thanks to original ideas such as Our Friend Satan that more and more people are choosing to take a chance on smaller books. We'll be watching this title very closely in the coming months, and if you like fun (if slightly insane) comics, then you should do too!
My favourite poster by the folks at Our Friend Satan


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