By Mike Richardson, Gabriel Guzman and Java Tartaglia
“The past is present…”
Echoes is the new original graphic novel written by Dark Horse’s own Mike Richardson. This book has a really cool concept, and it’s a quality read with both professional writing and artwork. Echoes is the story of a reckless man, a pilot, afflicted by the tragic events of his childhood. One dark and stormy night, while flying into a particularly “bizarre” storm, the pilot, Fred Martin, comes face to face with his past and the opportunity to do something about it. Told as a single issue in just under 100 pages, Echoes is a dramatic story with a supernatural twist, built on a foundation of critical moral questions. Reminiscent of a classic story out of Creepy or Eerie, but fully realized with in-depth character development and a solid storyline from start to finish.
Richardson reunites with 2015’s Father’s Day collaborator, artist Gabriel Guzman, who has done some exceptional work at Dark Horse already with titles such as Star Wars, Kull and Predator to name a few. With Echoes it’s a treat to watch Guzman handle less fantastic settings and a lot less action while retaining his stylistic charm. Not a single panel is wasted, not a detail out of place. Guzman nails it from cover to cover showing a genuine consideration for each panel, each angle and every pose. His small town America is executed as masterfully as any Hyperborean landscape, or sci-fi spacecraft he’s done. His regular, everyday people sitting around a diner are as enjoyable as his renditions of Darth Vader surrounded by storm troopers, perhaps more so. Guzman is the type of comic book artist you can appreciate equally for his talent and skill. His expertise, and his ability to make the mundane interesting, is actually what makes Guzman such a good choice for more spectacular content. But in this case, Echoes is as spectacular as it needs to be, which is a service to the story Richardson has concocted.
Java Tartaglia (Doctor Strange) renders the line art beautifully with palettes that heighten the sense of realism which in turn contribute to the story’s sense of impending doom. It would be unfair to refer to Tartaglia’s work as straightforward here because the believability factor in his approach creates a sense of uneasy familiarity in the reader. The colors, in harmony with Guzman’s style, are a perfect match and part of what makes Echoes such a strong book.
There’s something nice about a self-contained story that doesn’t leave you hanging, but still manages to surprise us, and even leaves us scratching our head. It’s that element of the plot that makes Echoes feel so original and so thoroughly well-rounded. Mike Richardson, arguably, is the Stan Lee of independent comics. Dark Horse is his company and he’s ultimately responsible for publishing decades of award-winning comics. Mr. Richardson is also credited with the creation of dozens of characters and has been writing comics himself since the 1980s. Once again, with Echoes, Richardson teams up with incredible talent in order to bring another original worthwhile comic book to reality. Look for it this November!
ECHOES will be released November 23rd from Dark Horse