Ohhhh, it’s a perfect day here in Jackson, but is it good?
Kennel Block Blues #1
Kennel Block Blues encompasses what is truly remarkable about the comic medium; it is fun, sharp, beautiful, unique, layered, and makes the most of what elements the medium has to offer.
Ferrier and Bayliss are able to create a world that cycles from depressing to joyous within each page. Kennel Block Blues #1 follows the story of Oliver on his first day in Jackson State Kennel. What a day it is.
Ferrier is able to juggle the harsh dialogue of Oliver’s cellmates and the light-hearted lyrics that stem from his own delusions. Ferrier establishes each voice of Jackson State Kennel in conjunction with Oliver’s ability to slip in and out of reality to create a very natural feeling read. This trait effectively showcases great characters but also provides much of the charm of the book. Ferrier can have Oliver regress at any moment which sets up site gags, progresses plot, and also adds life to each supporting character in the book.
Outside the obvious and wonderful hook of the book is a great prison story. Kennel Block Blues #1 establishes gangs, escape plots, rules and a looming threat all in this first issue. It all feels effortless as it’s intertwined in Oliver’s unique perspective. It’s easy to take the style and tone of the book as a light and humorous take on pet prison. However, deeper more troubling themes are there for those interested. Oliver’s delusions happen to cope with the situation he finds himself in. The issue also draws the comparison of a kennel to prison and the issues closing moments make that fact the more unsettling.
Bayliss and Metcalfe are able to match Ferrier’s masterful ability to switch tones in this issue. Moment to moment the art switches from the gloomy and realistic shade of prison life to the bright and exaggerated stylings of a Looney Tunes cartoon. Much like the dialogue this is able to provide many great moments of humor. Scenes of violence can quickly become that of one filled with psychedelic colors, candy and dancing. Within just one panel Bayliss in able to construct and deconstruct his style to create Oliver’s view of the world.
Is It Good?
Kennel Block Blues #1 is a story you won’t get anywhere else. For me it is the reason I read comics. Bayliss and Metcalfe can experiment with styles,colors and layouts while Ferrier can mix humor within a depressing prison landscape. Kennel Block Blues is something special. It is the bright and merry delusions of a creative team in an otherwise often flat and gloomy comic landscape.