Written by Tom Pinchuk
Art by Kate Glasheen
Archaia Studios Press
Cover Price: $3.50; On sale: Dec. 12, 2007
There’s a story that gets told a lot where I live, it goes something around these lines: One Kid, his name doesn’t matter as far as storytelling is concerned, isn’t having his best day ever, in fact, he feels morose and he finds himself longing for something even if he doesn’t quite know what that something is, but that’s true for a lot of us. Now in the interest of full disclosure I have to say that this story is not intended to serve as a moral lesson in any shape or form, moving on…
The kid’s father, we’ll call him Dad, isn’t having his best day either, maybe it was a general state of mind around the time this story was taking place even if the time itself isn’t important either, maybe it was because Dad and Kid had a fight a few hours earlier, I don’t know and again, it doesn’t matter to the purpose of this story. If, however, you feel like you need a reason to explain the mindset of these two fascinating characters we can say that earlier that day they saw a cat kill a rat in the middle of the street, bite off its head and happily walk away, then a pigeon flew down from whatever porch it was standing on and ate a bit of the rat only to throw up a few seconds later. Finally, a drunk, not paying much attention to his surroundings, not that he was in any condition to, stepped on the collective goo that was the dead headless rat and the pigeon’s vomit and tripped like an unfunny banana peel sketch, landed on the driveway pavement only to be run over by a passing Toyota Hybrid.
Anyway, so Kid and Dad aren’t having their best day, however, they decide to go to the mall to try and forget about their problems. Passing through a Bike shop, Kid points to the window and says to Dad: Daddy give me a bike. Dad looks at Kid and responds: You already have an umbrella. From that day on Kid never again ate oranges.
Now you might be wondering what’s the point of this story. It’s a story. There’s no point involved. I grew up, not with this one thank god, but with countless different quirky and often down right crazy stories that told me tales about far away places in long lost times, stories about child curiosity, about crazy vikings and whatnot, all this before I got sucked into continuities and the too serious mindset in comics today. So it was definitely refreshing and nostalgic for me in particular to read Hybrid Bastards.
Hybrid Bastards is a completely new take on Greco-Roman mythology. I remember what my thoughts were when I first read the blurb for the comic over at the Archaia Studios Press website. One of the lines in particular reads: “One night Hera reaches her limit, and in a passive-aggressive act of revenge, she places a spell on Zeus, a spell that causes him to fall in lust with every inanimate object in sight.”
I think I know what you’re thinking so you understand why I was curious about the title.
From the get-go you get a sense of fun from the work which only propels you more into enjoyment. The whole concept is quirky enough to make you read issue one and order 2 and 3. Zeus was being a bad boy and Hera kinda flips one night and puts a spell on the Olympian God that makes him effectively horny for everything in sight and that’s how you get Hybrid Bastards: the products of a lust-filled night. A talking wall, an apple, a car… demanding approval from their father, Zeus.
So you have the fun and original concept which is only step one for the winning recipe. Adding to it you’re given a visual treat that is the art of Kate Glasheen. Now, if your tastes are too hyper realistic then I’m afraid Glasheen’s art isn’t for you though I’d still encourage you to try it even if only to broaden your horizons. Glasheen has a very specific style much like Dash Shaw. It works very well with the overall concept and it has one major thing going for it, it helps tell the story, it doesn’t distract you from it. This is key in any comic book and sadly that doesn’t always happen.
Tom Pinchuk does a good job with the story, at least so far. The dialogue is funny and from the get-go you hear the distinct voices of each character. The story feels like it’s rushing us to the finish line in that good way that’s hard to find, which makes the ending of the first issue enough to make you order the second just to see what happens. The only problem I have with Hybrid Bastards, the first issue, is the fact that I was expecting to get a little more of Zeus. Even Hera seemed to have a stronger voice, which is ultimately fine because I’m sure we’ll see much more of Zeus in the issues to come.
The Hybrid Bastards start putting their plans, even if they suck, in motion to try and get to Zeus, and I’m hoping they succeed. Now I could tell you more of the plot but why should I when you can read it yourselves?
All in all, Archaia hit another home run with this series, which I guess has been the fashion for Archaia ever since it got started, in truth, it’s the company with most of the books I actually “can’t wait to get” every time they’re released. A good book then, I recommend it wholeheartedly because I truly feel that even if it’s not really your thing, you’ll get a kick out of it and hopefully you’ll know someone that will treasure it like I do. Honestly, it’s wacky, funny, and good for the soul.