Kody Chamberlain is a comics creator that I’ve been following and respected at least since since I encountered his project Punks, which he co-created with Joshua Hale Fialkov. His work on Marvel’s Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu One-Shot last year really caught my eye, though, and had me interested in his new Image-published crime comic Sweets from the time I first saw him tweet about it. As the writer and artist on Sweets #1, Chamberlain invested a great deal of time, thought, and inspiration into this book, and you don’t have to read his letter in the back to realize that. It’s a comic from a mind with an affection and detail-literate eye for New Orleans, and as an opening to a five-issue mini-series, issue #1 measured out its ingredients well and poured them into an ornate composition.
There are so many Bill Sienkiewicz and Ben Templesmith knockoff artists floating around in comics that when you see an artist with his own style who knows how to create real mass and meaningful shapes while still evoking mood and movement in some of the same ways that they do, it’s really something to be celebrated. Chamberlain’s visual style in Sweets leverages color, texture and character postures to breath life into his story about a priest’s murder and the world and events surrounding it. His attention to page-by-page pacing and architectural detail, meanwhile, keeps it all at a good rhythm with an undercurrent of flavorful setting.
Economy is definitely one of his biggest strengths, both with his scripting and ability to understate violence without letting the comic fall into lucid passivity. In fact, the modulations in tone just have me more keen on seeing what other tricks and strategies he has left to show off in issue #2 and onward. I’m on board for the first few issues at least right now, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Sweets goes.
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