Comic Book Review: Here Comes Calico by Sigma Comics

Jan 12, 2021 at 05:30 am by -gToon

"Sigma Comics was created to give a stronger voice to a group that cohabitates this planet with us, yet are routinely encroached upon, threatened, abused and killed". 
On the first page of Issue #1 of Here Comes Calico, 6 illustrated panels depict the beating death of a street dog in an abandoned home by persons unknown. Just opposite the page is a full page ad for American Humane, a hundred-year-old organization that is “committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals”. Such is the irony of this brutal, but artful comic.

Here Comes Calico addresses the problem of depicting the very thing it is criticizing (cruelty to animals) by addressing the subject head on. Calico, the eponymous vigilante, is watching a canine snuff video on his computer. He says simply “This man ends”. And so begins a brutal and sad story of dark justice and remembrance.

There are two parallel stories in Here Comes Calico #1: one is the seeking out and punishment of the man (and woman, surprisingly) who are responsible for the obscene murder depicted on the first page, and the other is flashback to when our Calico was a small boy and was bullied by a larger, rich boy. The first story is difficult to watch as it contains torture and death, but the second story is a moving tribute to a boy who overcomes his own fear and stops a bully by fighting back. It’s this second story that makes the first one easier to accept. Still, be warned, there are scenes of brutality in Calico that will make you flinch. Does it need to be so violent? It’s a judgement call that only the reader can make.

However, there’s no question that the art, lettering and coloring are outstanding in this comic. Javier Orabich (the artist/letterer) does a superb job of depicting both external and internal action. The framing of scenes is extremely well done allowing the viewer to empathize with characters in ways that you only find in the best of comics. Colorist, Daniel Grimaldi, also manages to imbue each scene with just the right mood. I was particularly taken by the colors he used in the lighting of each cell.

The vigilante is an outlier character type that goes all the way back to Robin Hood in the 15th century. The stories of these characters have sometimes been moving (Batman) or repugnant (Dirty Harry). There has never been a warrior for animals, however. Publisher and writer (H.H. German) of Here Comes Calico is a strong advocate for treating animals morally and with respect. A welcome addition to the vigilante saga despite the extreme violence.

I am looking forward to the next seven issues of Here Comes Calico (it’s an 8-part series). Sigma Comics is to be commended for taking on such a difficult character with such artistry and boldness.

I recommend Here Comes Calico #1 for anyone who loves unique comics that have great art and pulls no punches in its story. You can order the comic at the link below.
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