Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Blue Hand Mojo

Story and Art by John L. Jennings
Rosarium Publishing

This is a great time to be a comic book fan. With the internet and cheaper and more efficient ways to publish, many talented writers and artists who were seemingly locked out of the comic book industry, have several ways to meet their audience. There are so many great comic books out there now put out by independent artists that it's difficult to keep up. Quite a few deserve Eisner awards on so many levels.

If you don't know who John L. Jennings is, you should do a google search. Jennings is an extremely talented artist and scholar who has put in the work around the country. So when I heard he was doing a comic book where he wrote, drew, and colored, it was something I had to cop. This is no easy task. Oftentimes, a creator is good on one side of comic book story telling but bad in another. Jennings ventures away from just the bubbles, he narrates the story and places the text on the right hand side of the page. This really makes the quality of the story better and adds a more artful approach to it.

It all works. Jennings' lettering is perfect. He mixes history and fiction well when focusing on the the area of Chicago called Bronzeville during the post WWII period. His artwork is superb. Jennings introduces the reader to Frank “Half Dead” Johnson, a well known practioner of magic who does most of his work in the criminal underground of Chicago during the time of Al Capone.

The reader will immediately love the character of Half Dead Johnson. He is fearless and has no problems navigating Bronzeville and the outside white world. An old buddy who works for Capone, Mac the Shark, comes to request aid from Johnson. Just that dialogue between the both of them demonstrates how Johnson pretty much strong armed his way into his position. He speaks to Mac the Shark with an indifference that tells the reader that Johnson is not to be messed with. While Jennings gives little hints as to Mac the Shark and Johnson's history, but it's enough to know that no one messes with Johnson.

The best part is when Johnson goes to help Mac the Shark, he learns that he is already over his head. The contrast between his invulnerability to his fear is very interesting and what makes readers read a particular comic book. Jennings does a wonderful job building that up. Jennings knocks it out the park as both writer and artist.

Rosarium Publishing continues to put out quality work and Blue Hand Mojo is a prime example of this. I can't wait to cop the second issue of this work by John L. Jennings. As usual, Jennings continues to impress and put out dope work.

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