- The Denim Devil #1
- November Street Press
- Written by Zach Carter & Jared Yanez
- Illustrated by Jared Yanez
- Coloring Assistance by Gillian Yanez
- Lettering fonts by Blambot & Apostrophic Labs
A boy grows up to be the sole heir to the Vangler denim empire.
A serial killer prowls the streets of Vanglerton, California, a shadow among shadows.
A private investigator struggles to find connections between the killings and the local legend known as the Denim Devil.
The Denim Devil seeks out his next victim… then trips and falls down the stairs. Stupid stairs.
I hope I’m not ruining anything for you, but if you’re looking for a serious crime comic, this might not be the one for you. Myers or Voorhees, this Devil ain’t. However, if you’re in the market for a tongue in cheek story with dialogue liberally coated in wry humor, and maybe even a bit of a murder mystery for kicks, please read on.
The Denim Devil follows the misadventures of a hapless wannabe serial killer whose heart is in the right place (?) but he can’t seem to get it done. There’s also a private detective, down on his luck but with a heart of gold like all fictional PI’s, trying to find the connection between our titular stooge and a real killer on the loose. It’s all wrapped up in the bow of the family secret zealously guarded by the Vangler denim dynasty. Sound interesting? Y’know what, I thought so too!
As previously stated, the story being co-written by Zach Carter and Jared Yanez is full of dry and left-of-center humor. Nothing gut-busting, but subtle and honestly more skillful than an attempted lol-fest. If it had gone for more overt laughs, I think it might’ve killed some of what worked best for me. The dialogue doesn’t come across as if the writers were trying hard to go for any specific effect, which is great and ends with it all sounding much more natural. People don’t tend to talk in dramatic flourishes or punchlines, and neither do the characters in The Denim Devil. With the story itself, Carter and Yanez seem to have put some thought into it, showing more interest in crafting a solid and layered piece of work instead of just churning out something shocking or over-the-top. While I’ve hyped up the comedic angle of the comic, I’ve got to point out that there’s a multi-layered onion here that needs peeling.
As the artist working the pages, Jared Yanez keeps it together. There are sight gags that pop up throughout, and he holds to the more subtle approach that started with the writing. Where the artwork could have gone right off the rails and turned into a splattered mess, Yanez saves the more shocking moments for when they count, and then delivers. Also working within the tone of the story, I have to give the nod to Gillian Yanez for her work on colors. I’m not sure where the duties of a “coloring assistant” might start or end, but I’ve already thrown kudos to Jared so now it’s Gillian’s turn. Colors only work when they match the tone of the comic, enhancing both illustrations and storytelling. When all these pieces come together in the creation of a comic, the whole really does turn out to be greater than the sum of its parts.
Now I’m guessing that, by crediting Blambot & Apostrophic Labs with lettering fonts but not the lettering itself, Carter and Yanez handled the rest themselves. That’s a risky prospect because a bad job of lettering can ruin a perfectly fine comic. Thankfully everything worked out here, and it’s another checked box that has me to thinking that there was a lot of homework and planning done before anyone started putting work down on the page.
With humor that might not seem to fit the subject matter, The Denim Devil manages to walk a tightrope. The beauty of the story is that the humor surrounding the title character, as well as the character himself, is acting as a great diversion from the underlying threat of a real killer on the prowl. As a bonus, it looks like there might be some character development happening in there when no one’s looking. Disclaimer: there are moments of graphic gore and some hilarious sexual content, so this is an adult audiences only book (says so right there on the cover).
Final Score: 10/13