Critters, Spider-Critters And Corporate Critters

Critter #1 from Big Dog Ink

And I don’t mean the movie franchise of questionable quality that crossbred Gremlins with Tribbles to bring yet another dimension to pest control.

I don’t tend to enthuse about the titles from Big Dog Ink. Despite some very good covers which raise my expectations, tingling my ‘new universe sense’, I have always found the contents disappointing. Not always even the stories, there was some good, if fairly standard, ideas, but the scripting has always let them down, making the characters appear incredibly two-dimensional.

Finally, the company has bucked the trend with Critters #1, which recently came into my possession. There’s no deep dark origin story, heck, there’s no origin story at all. Just a young girl with super-powers and a tad of a family rift leaving home to go to the big city as a student and junior super-hero.

Written and created by Tom Hutchinson, Cassia Crawford is immediately likable, surrounded by dialogue that goes from the emotional poignant to easily flowing and natural banter. The issue covers a series of small events, from leaving home, to the first battle where she gets injured, to her recuperation; interspersed by meeting the inhabitants of her dorm. There’s no cliffhanger, no artificial enticement to come back to the next issue. It simply stands on its own merit.

I cannot recommend it enough, and I am really pleased to be able to do so for Big Dog Ink. I love it when the smaller companies come out with a winner. Critter Cassia Crawford is very nearly as cool as Squirrel Girl. (And if you’ve read this week’s issue of New Avengers or remember her time with the Great Lakes Avengers, then you know what I mean.)

In the meantime, Spider-Island kicks off for good this week, with Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Island: Cloak And Dagger. Although not a regular Spider-Man reader, I have always been impressed with the quality of the title when drawn by whatever mega-crossover led me there. Some of the supporting cast is new to me, but this seems like a great jumping on point. So far, it reminds me of Maximum Carnage, only done a lot better. Then again, Spidey is a lot more connected nowadays than back then, so the team-ups are less forced.

Finally, Newsarama announced on Wednesday that Disney has put an end to the Italian company Panini created original content for the British market using British creators. It must all now be generated in the U.S.

Hmmph. Parochial much? Although Marvel UK created quite a few misses, it had numerous hits such as the Zoids, Zenith or some of the Transformers material; which brought some of the biggest names in comics to the forefront. Alan Moore, Alan Davis, Grant Morrison (commence angelic music soundtrack). If it wasn’t for Britain, there would be no Psylocke in the X-Men. No Flex Mentallo.

How dare they? Instead, there are more freelance creators on the dole queue. What, we British are not allowed to make Disney money in our own country? Where the hell is the logic in that? While I’m hardly going to quit buying Marvel over this, I think this is an atrocious move, and I can only hope that Boom, IDW or Zenescope jump into the vacuum that has been created. No one can miss the contribution the U.K. has made to the global comics market, and if Disney wants to miss out on whatever is generated here next, then that is their prerogative. And their loss.

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Darren Burr

A devoted follower of the comics industry and their characters since a child, Darren now plays in many media but always returns to characters in skin-tight costumes beating each other up on the page. Radio host, blogger, fanfic author and producer of You Tube content, Darren idles away his days until his digital conquest of the world is complete.

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