In Dream Daddy #3, Mat wants to boost sales at the Coffee Spoon with an ad and Robert’s just the man who can shoot the commercial. The original writers of the Dream Daddy dating sim, Vernon Shaw and Leighton Gray, have returned to the world of Dream Daddy to write this new issue. Does the issue feel like a blend roasted to a hearty goodness?
Writers Vernon Shaw and Leighton Gray feel right at home scripting this issue. The dialogue and humor show no issues in translating their writing skills from video games to comics with each character sounding exactly the same as they do in the dating sim. There are lots of zany titles for fake reality shows and lengthy monologues from Robert about cinema. The plot and conflict are kept very light in favor of jokes and bits, making the issue a fun read from beginning to end. The short length of a comic issue forces Shaw and Gray to stick to convey characters’ personalities quickly, exaggerating traits like Mary irreverence or Mat’s sex appeal to help readers get the gist of who the characters in as few words as possible. This makes the issue all the funnier as characters sound like slightly hyperbolized versions of themselves while compressing the humor into energetic bursts for readers who may not have played the game.
Jarrett Williams handles the pencils and inks of the issue and delivers artwork as energetic and fun as the script. Williams’ style favors exaggerated expressions and body language to really sell a feeling or give a joke all the more punch. Characters are often inconsistently rendered with shifting bone structure or eye shapes and while that initially bugged me a little, I grew more accustomed to Williams’s method of conveying emotion and didn’t mind the inconsistencies as much because of how consistently the artwork kept me laughing. The real star of Williams’ artwork are the page layouts. From placing panels inside movie clapboards or eschewing panels altogether as film strips flow around the page to separate the characters, the layouts in this issue crank the energy level of the comic up to a hundred.
In coloring the issue, Jeremy Lawson’s palette is highly varied, but something feels missing from the overall feeling conveyed by the colors. Though there are a variety of hues present on every page, the colors feel a bit muted save for an occasional bright spot of pink or well executed background gradient. Though the shading on characters’ faces suggest a consistent light source in each panel, the overall muted feeling in the colors make it seem like the lighting isn’t coming from anywhere in particular or feels arbitrary. The best colored page of the book is one which takes place outdoors, so perhaps it was a choice to lower the value levels of the indoor scenes, but it held the panels back from feeling as warm as the script or line art. However, I do appreciate the carefully placed shadows on characters’ faces and bodies where Lawson adjusts the shading to account for hairlines or facial structure.
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou continues to letter the series, delivering more excellent work in both word balloon placement and font choice. I love that when lettering Robert’s narration boxes, he kept the red outlines seen in the previous issue which adds a layer of consistency to the series even when each issue is a standalone experience.
Overall, Dream Daddy #3 adds another really fun issue to a thus far excellent series of love letters to the game and is worth picking up whether you’ve played the dating sim or have been loving the series so far.