They are up to issue 3. Have you read it yet? What? You haven’t heard of it? Here, let me bring you up to speed.
Spring of 1940 Calais is the first city in France to fall to the Nazis. During the bombing of their orphanage a handful of boys meet an American boy named Peter.
“When my ears worked again I could hear war, it was everywhere… And then he appeared from nowhere. Like he had been there all along, just… My eyes just failed to see him.”
He’s brash, heroic, and more than a little dangerous looking. He promises a safe place to bunk down and something about him just sucks them in. But can it be that simple, an American boy running around the streets of occupied Calais alone? Peter is quick to explain that he is in Calais searching for a girl named “Belle”, a search he seemingly abandons quite easily to help these six orphans. So there it is, six orphan boys plus Peter loose in an occupied city in France. I could tell immediately that this was the beginning of a grand adventure!
This ongoing creator owned series from Image is an instant classic. Great writing, stellar art! It’s one of the best depictions of Peter Pan I’ve ever read. Which one of you comic book fanatics hasn’t wished you were Peter Pan? Or at the very least one of his Lost Boys? Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn these were my first heroes in fiction. My introduction into a world of adventure where kids (and adults) didn’t just do what they were told.
Kurtis Wiebe (Intrepids, Green Wake) gives us a great character in Peter. He’s charismatic, honorable, and more than a little crazy. The lost boys in this book don’t follow blindly, they bicker and question just like real boys do. While reading it I felt swept up in Peter’s energy just like the boys following him, only questioning the sanity of his actions after the fact.
Issue one ends with a great cliffhanger and really sets the tone for the next two issues. The second installment gives the boys their first real shot at getting out of Calais. All they have to do is rescue some British soldiers being held by the Germans. Six young boys are going to rescue British soldiers from the Nazis? C’est impossible! Needless to say Peter doesn’t bat an eye. Will the Brits be their ticket out? Peter and his Lost Boys are going to have a hell of a time finding out. This is their first head on confrontation with the Nazis and we get to see that Peter isn’t the only brash one in the group.
Among the great things about this series is that Kurtis Wiebe walks a very narrow path in handling the violence of war. People die. Peter, though he shows no remorse over shooting a Nazi sniper in the head, seems to prefer tying up and knocking out his enemy. It’s that mix of arrogance and innocence that gives this book it’s charm. These boys are fighting for their lives but they’re still just boys. And for all his bravado Peter is probably the most naively idealistic. His fair play and optimism are infectious.
Issue three and we’re still in Calais! The road out is long and dangerous and the trip would be easier with transportation. An attempt to liberate a vehicle from an occupied factory brings Peter face to face with Kapitan Haken an sword carrying SS officer. Is this Peter’s Captain Hook? Just like the last two issues the fight scenes are amazing and the story keeps me coming back for more!
One thing I have yet to mention is the art. Tyler Jenkins’ first came to my attention in the pages of another wonderful fairy-tail-ish book “Proof” in 2007. His art for the “Proof – Goatsucker” mini series was great. It’s what hooked me on that series, I’m still following it. He turns in the same level of work in Panzerfaust. His storytelling is fluid, his characters are easy to tell apart (except for the twins, for obvious reasons). I’m no historian but the depictions of war torn France and the military equipment and uniforms seem spot on.
I guess you’ve figured out by now that I’m really enjoying this book. I hope my article has piqued your interest. Call, email, or drop by your local comic shop ask for this book. Creator owned comics survive if we buy them.