By David Chelsea
Dark Horse Comics
Release date: April 3, 2013
Cover price: $3.50
Snow Angel started out a few years ago as David Chelsea‘s submission for 24-Hour Comics Day, an annual global challenge where comics writers and artists are tasked with creating a full 24-page comic in 24 consecutive hours. Chelsea, who reportedly holds the world record for the most 24-Comics created, then reworked the black and white story into a colorized version that was later serialized over three issues of Dark Horse Presents… in the Summer of 2011. Now, Chelsea’s quickly created comic book is finally getting the spotlight treatment at Dark Horse Comics with its very own 32-page full-color one-shot, simply titled Snow Angel.
Snow Angel introduces us to a little girl (whose name is never revealed), who can transform into a flying superheroine whenever she drops herself into the snow to form a snow angel. As the super Snow Angel, the little girl happily zips around saving the day, undertaking tasks both big (stopping thieves) and small (saving a cat stuck in a tree). Her mother, unfortunately, does not approve of her young daughter’s dangerous antics, but the little girl obviously loves her adventures. Now, something’s happened in the little girl’s life that could put an end to Snow Angel’s crime-stopping days.
Throughout the issue, there’s a lot of nods to pop culture and history, such as the part where a snowman has a conversation with a falcon, someone who looks suspiciously like Pee-Wee Herman gets his bicycle stolen, and a boy who looks a lot like he dipped into Charlie Brown’s wardrobe. There’s even a shout out to William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States – now how many superhero-esque comics can say they have that?
Along with the 24-page main story about Snow Angel comes an all-new 4-page original short called The Kids Movie that’s set in Washington, D.C. and pertains to the movie-going experience of some of the members of the Obama family (although, no names are given). Here is where, if you’re already familiar with the creator’s work, you get to see Chelsea’s true art talent, which what looks like watercolored renderings and fine pencil drawing. For The Kids Movie, the colors are well-blended and some panels look like they could be storybook pages.
When I first read this one-shot, I wasn’t aware of its origins, so while the tale itself about a little girl who’s able to transform into a real live snow angel with crime-fighting powers was enough to hook me in, I was a bit taken aback by the art, which is a bit on the crude side at times. Once you find out that this story was a 24-hour comic, the flaws on the art are forgivable and actually add to the charm of this tale. In some places, like the panels of nighttime snowfall (see preview page here below), the art is nicely done and beautifully, vibrantly colored – you can tell a lot of effort went into getting the colors to make the comic really pop, compensating for the areas where the line art was less than stellar. Again, knowing the contraints under which this comic was conceived and created is a big deal, because it didn’t go through the usual creative process, which typically takes weeks, months, and sometimes even years. So, although the art isn’t perfect in Snow Angel, the story itself is unique and playful, and the issue is a very easy, fun read that would be enjoyable to be adults and to children. If you have a young daughter, then definitely give Snow Angel to her to read (or read it along with her), as it’s sure to be inspiring, even if it does condone some defiance (which can be perceived as independence).
David Chelsea’s Snow Angel preview page.
In June, Dark Horse will release Everybody Gets it Wrong! and Other Stories: David Chelsea’s 24-Hour Comics Volume 1.