Snapshot issue 1

British pair Andy Diggle and Jock are veterans of both the UK and US comic scenes, with credits on some of the biggest ‘Big Two’ titles around, such as Daredevil, Action Comics (Diggle), Batman and New Avengers (Jock). Having first joined forces on The Losers for Vertigo, they also produced Green Arrow: Year One for DC Comics, the plot of which is currently the basis of the highly successful Warner Brothers show Arrow. Snapshot represents their first creator-owned book, though it a departure from their previous superhero/team-focused collaborations.

Rendered in stark black and white and with a plot revolving around mysterious murders and even more mysterious hit-men, it would be too easy to label this as a noir piece, but that would do a disservice to the pace and energy found here which elevates it above so many of the frequently clichéd and predictable modern crime tales around.

This first issue follows young comic book store worker Jake and the events that throw his relaxed existence into chaos after his discovery of a discarded smart phone. From this opening Diggle and Jock construct a lean narrative that delivers more across its opening instalment than many crime/mystery comics manage in a complete series.

One creative choice from Diggle that greatly aids this focus is absence of captions articulating the characters internal thoughts. This allows the dynamism of Jock’s art to communicate much of the expression and tension, avoiding the over-emphasis of emotional beats via the sort of verbal/visual ‘double-tap’ where, for example a character might look scared whilst a caption states “I’m scared” or similar. This trick, seen too frequently in many comics, perhaps demonstrating insecurity or a lack of trust by writers in their artists, is totally absent here, and that deserves to be singled out and praised.

This also assists in maintaining a spontaneity and sense of urgency to the story, but it would not have worked but for the stunning art. Jock’s pencils and inks play a major role in maintaining and building momentum of Snapshot, moving as it does between detailed vistas of the San Francisco setting and sparser but just as striking scenes that focus on the characters and their reactions to events.

There is an almost effortless interplay between Jock’s never less than excellent art and Diggle’s sharp and carefully crafted dialogue and plotting, and in this book both creators are at the top of their game. Although it is not surprising that a comic from such established professionals is of such high quality, what is unexpected is that it contains the sort of restless energy usually seen from daring newcomers to the field.

Once again established writers and artists are seen choosing to go down the creator-owned route and as a result are producing some of their best work, and Image Comics have what deserves to be a hit on their hands. It was said that 2012 was their year, but if the publisher’s output continues to be as brilliant as this it may be that 2012 was just a signpost to a changing of the comic industry landscape.

Snapshot is released 6th February by Image Comics

Special offer! To celebrate the release, OK Comics in Leeds have teamed up with Andy and Jock to provide an exclusive print signed by both creators with each copy of issue 1 sold instore or online while stocks last, so if you’re interested in one of these unique items head along or click on the link and pick one up!




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