A bit about the creator:
Terrance Zdunich is one of the masterminds behind the highly successful rock opera, “REPO! The Genetic Opera. REPO! popularity has spawned several road tours, shadow casts and a following that is being compared to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Terrance has also journeyed in to the world of comic book creation. His 12 issue comic, “The Molting” is set to release a new chapter every six weeks. Previously I reviewed issue 1, “Guilty Susie”, here I review issue two: “The Happiest Place on Earth”.
Living in the home of Disneyland, Anaheim CA, does not always guarantee smiles. Susie, now grown up, has settled down with her aging hippy husband. Her two teenage sons, Joseph and Trevor, are not exactly the poster children of a happy American family. Enter in Angel-Baby Sandra and once again Terrance has his readers thinking, “I want more”. Issue two, like issue one, is a set up and introduction. However as we are being introduced to new characters and a new setting we know something Susie’s husband and kids are not aware of; her sanity changing past. Susie’s family being in the dark to her past gives a whole new perspective on the story and begs the question; What if they did know?
Once again Terrance does an excellent job of giving us just enough to understand what’s going on. I particularly was a fan of the “argument dialogue”. We quickly find out that Abe and Susie do not have the happiest of marriages. As the boys come home from a late night/ early morning excursion, they walk in to hear their parents once again fighting. Terrance’s approach to the dialogue in this particular scene was to use speech bubbles with nothing more than “@*%$!” and the like. I think it works well because it does not bog the reader down with tons of dialogue. We know they are fighting, but are not distracted by what about. This next thought is one of my own and may not be what Terrance was going for. In issue one, when Susie is a little girl, her speech bubbles are pink. Perhaps this is reflective of her girlish innocence. When the events in issue one takes a turn for the worse, Susie’s speech bubbles become gray with pink lettering. To me this shows how Susie’s psychosis has snapped and she is clearly holding on to that last bit of innocence and sanity. Again, that is my view of things and may not be what Terrance was going for at all. Finally, Terrance has a pretty neat nod to Walt in some of the lettering.
If a picture is worth 1000 words, Terrance’s art is worth 10,000. As I mentioned before, Terrance’s art is drawn in such a way that dialogue is not needed to understand what’s going on. I want to talk particularly about the image of Susie on one of the last pages. She sits on her bed with a coffee cup staring blankly and only saying one thing, “Tony”. Those who did not read issue 1 will be able to tell just by the way Terrance draws her that something is wrong, she has a past, it’s dark and she is not the sanest woman in the world. Those who did read issue 1 know about her past and will almost wonder what is running through her head. The art in issue two is 99% brushwork, giving lines a nice smooth, thick look. The art is reminiscent of Jeff Lemire (The Nobody, Essex County Trilogy) and has the same refreshing organic look.
Terrance, is no doubt, a very talented man. He proves his worth in the world of comics and graphic novels by giving us a story that sucks the reader in from the first page. Many actors have had their name put on graphic novels, but have very little to do with creating it. Terrance writes and draws every page and panel himself. Not only that, he also funds the whole thing out of his pocket, including paying a colorist and letterer. Currently issues are only available for a limited time (2500 printed of each issue) through Terrance’s blog (www.terrancezdunich.com).
Personally I look forward to future chapters. If issue one and two are any indication, Terrance has a penchant for ending his chapters with cliffhangers that will keep us begging for more. That, fellow readers, is how to write a comic and please your audience.