Blade for Barter
(Seven Seas, 2005)
™ and © 2005 Seven Seas Entertainment and Jason DeAngelis
In the city–state of New Edo (looking like a cross between New York City and ancient Japan), Samurai for Hire Rsuke Washington plies his trade. With his faithful pooch, Hachiko, he has light–hearted adventures, frequently and literally crossing swords with his friendly female rival, Mac. This original manga–style American comic book is the initial offering from a new publisher who seems intent on publishing more of the same. I won’t tar Blade for Barter with the epithet “mock manga,” because Jason DeAngelis and artist Hai! haven’t just diligently aped the actual article—they’ve tried to create a genuine fusion of Eastern and Western influences. Unfortunately, the results are, sadly, more “eh” than anything else. The stories are bland and predictable, and the characters are mostly a bunch of wafer–thin waifs who are whole lot less interesting than the world they inhabit. But the art, which looks like a combination of Astro Boy creator Osamu Tezukas’ early work and a variant of Charles Schulz’ bigfoot style, is definitely lively and appealing.
— S.A. Bennett
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|Read right to left; Graphic novel; B&W||Jason DeAngelis||Honoel A. Ibardolaza