There’s a very special quality that makes Dark Circle Comics so much fun to pick up and read. Maybe it’s the paper on which it’s printed on (the covers have a card stock finish), maybe it’s the accessibility of the stories, but I believe it has more to do with the creators the Archie imprint attracts. This week’s Dark Circle Comics release is, none other than one of What’cha Reading’s favorites – The Fox. Written by Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid, with art by Haspiel; The Fox Chapter Three “The Devil You Know” remains at the forefront of enjoyable, pure, and worthwhile reads.
As a young reader who’s slightly older, a little more cynical, and more opinionated, Dark Circle Comics The Fox brings me back to a time where comic books were comic books. I’m referring to a moment where children and adults believed in heroes, the magic of story telling, and icons actually meant something. During this past weekend’s Special Edition NYC event, What’cha Reading had the opportunity to chat with Fox writer and artist Dean Haspiel.
“Aren’t comics allowed to be fun? Again, we have enough dark comics and bleak, sad comics that I’m just trying to write/draw the comics that I grew up reading. So there’s a little touch of silver age; it’s got the indie plant because I can’t help myself, and maybe there are shades of Billy Dogma, which is a character I created in the 90’s. And, you know, I want to draw a comic where you root for the hero and hopefully the villain is compelling without having to destroy planet Earth.” (Dean Haspiel Interview – Special Edition: NYC June 8th 2015)
Haspiel’s sentiments are fully conveyed in the third chapter of The Fox. If you pick up the Haspiel cover, complete with a Billy Dogma-ish Paul Patton Jr. covered in smooches from a bevy of women, we’re immediately transported to an Eisner-esque tale of super-heroics. Paul Patton Jr. a.k.a. The Fox, is strolling down the street with a coffee in one hand and his cell in the other. Do we question a grown man dressed in a Fox like outfit crossing the street? No! And why should we? If readers can accept worlds converging and secret wars filled with battles than why can’t we accept a world of heroes and villains and… Madam Satan?!?
The Fox Chapter Three contends more with Patton, his son Shinji, and his wife Mae, as he tries to convince his loved ones, along with himself, that the life of a costumed hero is not one to be emulated. His son, Shinji, has the hero bug in him, and wanting to be like his dad, has donned his own costume and is the Ghost Fox. Writers Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid add an extra layer of awareness of the bleak landscape of super hero dramas when Shinji says “Trying to be the hero Impact City needs or deserves, or however that saying goes.” While The Fox and Ghost Fox may bear a resemblance to that of The Caped Crusader and Marvel’s Black Panther, both men certainly are not those characters. Nor should they be. Patton Jr. and Shinji are fleshed out characters rife with all the qualities that make the classic golden, silver, and bronze age of books still so entertaining. When Shinji does battle with Pneumo – The Shockwave Assassin, we immediately feel like we’ve been transported back to the 60’s era of super heroes. It helps that Haspiel is so knowledgeable of the history of comics as he puts that to good use in creating an effectively engaging tale.
The majority of the third chapter in Dark Circle’s The Fox primarily revolves around father and son, separated by space, but bound by a connection only fathers and sons have. As both men engage their arch enemies in this issue, miles apart from one another, we get a wonderfully told story that presents us with an important theme – We are all in this fight together. Our parents may be older and our children may be younger, and until the train stops, we still have so much to learn.
I very much have been enjoying The Fox since I first read the Free Comic Book Day special this May. While many readers have been turned off by the big two publishers, I’ve seen many turn to other titles and publishers. I can’t stress enough of just how good Dark Circle Comics line of titles are. Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid’s The Fox is true art. Their dedication towards telling an important story, a fun story, is never muddled in an effort to be anything else. If you’re lost in wave after wave of comics while you peruse the shelf at your local comic shop, please take a look for The Fox. It’s the kind of book we need, but don’t deserve. And for that, I thank Dark Circle, Dean Haspiel, Mark Waid and Alex Segura once again.
The Fox Chapter Three “The Devil You Know” gets five stars.
The Fox #3
Writer: Waid, Mark
Artist: Haspiel, Dean
Colorist: Allen Passalaqua
Letterer: Rachel Deering
On Sale: June 10, 2015
Diamond Id: MAR150900