Writer: John Allison
Artist: Christine Larsen
Colorist: Sarah Stern
Lettering: Jim Campbell
Cover: Christine Larsen
Publisher: BOOM! Studios/BOOM! Box
This book is a rare, riveting find! Two quirky college grads stumble upon a portal to another world in an abandoned building full of mysteries. How curious! Cue your inner Alice/Dorothy and jump into By Night, a lively, enjoyable comic with a spunky attitude.
The main characters are funny, fleshed out, and friends I’d totally hang out with if they existed outside of the panels. I enjoyed Jane and Heather’s interactions and the hints that both of them have a lot more going on than this first issue reveals. The chattiness and puns certainly felt right for a pair that hadn’t hung out in a few years, but instantly fell into their old roles once together again. Barney is also an amusing side character, as is Heather’s father. I’m enchanted with the story as well, which has a simple premise, but promises to be much more than your average ‘humans go to another world’ trope. Although the start was a little bit slow, I really didn’t mind because I was having a blast getting to know these characters and I think that getting comfy with them will definitely pay off later. I just have to say props to John Allison for inventing such an engaging tale already around a classic plot idea.
The dialogue is punchy and fast-paced, although many of the references are so relevant to today, that I fear this comic will be dated quite quickly. That is a difficult line to walk when writing anything, and I found many of the quips hilarious, but I do see how that could be a downfall for readers of the future. In this way, it actually reads very like a contemporary cartoon.
Christine Larsen’s art is a delight and such a great fit. It quells my Steven Universe nostalgia, but is definitely distinct in its creative layouts, expressive faces, and humorous body language. The colors are bold and the letters are spot on. By Night glows in the midst of many of the other comics on the shelves. I am very much looking forward to the next issues.