A few days ago I was able to take a look at the Free Comic Book Day special Dark Circle Comics will be releasing. The art on the cover drew my eye and though I wasn’t too familiar with their lineup, I decided to give it a read. In the following minutes, I would send an e-mail out to my editor and ask if we know the people at Dark Circle, and begin searching for any of their past issues that I may have missed. While I was two issues behind on “The Black Hood”, issue one of “The Fox” was just about to release. This past week I picked up the Chapter One variant by Chris Samnee, opting to read the print copy instead of the digital pdf and I now have a new comic book series and universe that I know I’ll be investing myself in. Dark Circle Comics’ chapter one of Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid’s “The Fox” is a thing of beauty, a comic to behold, and a fine example of true artistry.
Paul Patton Jr. is not a lawyer, he isn’t a billionaire, nor is he an alien. He’s an every-man with a wife and son, “a photojournalist who couldn’t seem to find the story”, and a penchant for getting himself into trouble. He’s a relatable hero who is decidedly un-super and that is exactly why I fell in love with him, with his world, with The Fox. I’m vaguely aware that this character has existed in his own mini-series before the Dark Circle Comics launch, but it’s Dark Circle Comics imprint, brand, style, and presentation that really drew me in. There’s an interesting dynamic that they have going on, especially with how these stories are aimed at a more mature audience than you’d expect from a publisher that produces Archie. And “Archie”? With his relaunch, that’s already a book that’s been on my radar since I first saw the preliminary art. Let’s not forget about “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.” Dark Circle Comics Chief Creative Officer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has easily managed to become one of the most adept and skilled writers of today. Sabrina is a dark and chilling reintroduction to a character most of my generation remembers from the Melissa Joan Hart tv show.
Our first chapter of “The Fox” introduces us to Paul Patton Jr., his son Shinji, his wife Mae, his hometown prepped for demolition, and a pure comic-book world of supernatural hijinks and colorful villainy. At times Haspiel and Waid’s story reads like Ben Edlund’s sharp, super-hero satire “The Tick” and there are other moments that are filled with the charm of Will Eisner’s “The Spirit.” The end result is a first chapter, a first issue that demands you to follow up with what happens next. But you don’t just walk away from “The Fox” and request his placement on your pull list at your local comic book shop! No, you start looking for every other story featuring “The Fox” and his connected world of heroes, villains, and witches.
Within the first issue, we learn that Patton Jr. is “a freak magnet.” He contends with Dream Demon, a villainess with ties to his past. While Haspiel and Waid keep us on our toes, we’re never really quite fearful for our hero. The violence and threat comes across like the impending nature of doom one faces in a cartoon. Maybe it’s because of the pleasantness of Haspiel’s art, bringing to mind Chris Samnee’s work. (Samnee is one of the featured variant artists) But no matter what the situation, every beat works in chapter one of “The Fox.” I’ve heard many readers voice complaints over the events unfolding in other comic books and Dark Circle is perfectly situated while certain publishers converge and have their secret wars. Here is an attractively charming title with plenty of heart. It also invitingly opens up a new world of comic books that you may have been following or possibly not have known about.
Dark Circle Comics have a truly special series on their hands and one that deserves every bit of attention it could get. How often does a comic reader in today’s day and age have the opportunity to be in on the ground floor for a new, universe building story? Of all new characters! And ones that are actually well-written and adoringly rendered!
“The Fox” Chapter One is out now. Issue One “The Situation” gets five out of five stars!
NEW ONGOING SERIES FROM DARK CIRCLE!
THE FOX is BACK!
Emmy Award winning writer/artist Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma, HBO’s Bored to Death) is once again united with Eisner award-winning writer Mark Waid (Daredevil, Thrillbent) for FOX HUNT: Part One “The Situation”: When a billionaire philanthropist prepares Paul Patton Jr’s home town for demolition, our hero is sent on assignment to photograph the event. But what strange force lurks in the shadows, and why will it take Paul’s alter-ego, THE FOX, to stop it? The answer is the beginning of a deadly FOX HUNT and you won’t believe what happens next!
Don’t miss the debut issue from the critically-acclaimed team that brought you THE FOX: FREAK MAGNET, featuring FOUR all-new variant covers! With art from Dean Haspiel, David Mack, Thomas Pitilli, Ulises Farinas and Chris Samnee!
Plot/Art: Dean Haspiel
Script: Mark Waid
Art: Dean Haspiel, Allen Passalaqua, and John Workman
Cover: Dean Haspiel
Variant Cover 1: Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson
Variant Cover 2: David Mack
Variant Cover 3: Ulises Farinas and Ryan Hill
Variant Cover 4: Thomas Pitilli
On Sale Date: 4/15
32-page, full color comic