Exquisite line work, humor makes local comic book ‘Harem Scarem!’ stand out

When the Angel of Death taps you to do his bidding, one doesn’t really have a say in it.

by Clint Durrett
August 30, 2018

When the Angel of Death taps you to do his bidding, one doesn’t really have a say in it. The feeling of fear, we assume, would be overwhelming. However, the main character of “Harem Scarem!” is more afraid of Death not using lube. And with that, it’s this week’s local comic pick.

What Caught Our Eye: Harem Scarem! By Jason & Terry Melancon, Published by Anything Goes Comics.

What made “Harem Scarem!” catch our eye was incredibly detailed and beautiful line work. According to AGC’s website, Terry’s influences are Art Adams, Mike Zeck and Michael Golden. But there’s definitely some Frank Cho-ish type of feeling from the ink.

https://www.facebook.com/anythinggoescomic/posts/1845409145781318?__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARDCj8fWnPDSytEWPppsON14Fgeb-_jc6zfwxT88lPvTB4OsC_8pTFoDUprDyQ_JhGxGjl2xOW1JhxZERqz0cJlyOc5evB6G-hDIYotNEwceKZhtkIw2C8cG-vKXc6dqx1R45kM&__tn__=H-R

The story has a similar ring to it – Death taps a person who is dying to do its bidding and life will be restored. While these arcs play out in “Spawn” with a more macabre and hopeless tone, Melancon uses some easy jokes to create a more Guardians of the Galaxy vibe. The pacing makes the comedic beats work, but the jokes themselves didn’t feel like they hit the funny bone.

The book opens with a dream Ren is living out and lays out how he came to be approached by Death, and ultimately his nonchalant attitude of doing Death’s bidding. By the end of the first issue, there is still a question of what exactly Ren will be doing for Death’s delight. And that feels like a miss for an introductory book. Fortunately, consecutive issues are on the stands that may fill in the gaps.

The local scene of New Orleans isn’t in your face with balconies, galleries and streetcars. But they are there. Ren lives in the “Magnolia House” and an RTA bus is seen in a panel as well. Ren also wears a badge on his shirt, which would indicate that this all happens in New Orleans, where the creators of the comic live in the real world. The local nods are a nice touch without being overdone.

https://www.facebook.com/anythinggoescomic/posts/1687708704884697?__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARAWLxPwoA-yKeU-dzQJxIhkCLS-ZNOQo8b0yicWGZea5Yu1IkHH69AyDiNW5pq-S_V25Y9ZXc4DnzX_5KowtkI8ssk-YMq04AJ3uD3rR9gZKLNDgBPLu4s2CHROMRyI_XmbP14&__tn__=-R

Just like the art of the book, the layout and panel use is smart, easy to follow and adds to the detail. It’s easy to gush a little about how solid this book looks.

The nuts and bolts: “Harem Scarem!” is a gorgeous book to look at and is an easy read. The story isn’t complicated and the jokes don’t always feel fresh, but the pace makes it up.

Price: At $4, “Harem Scarem!” is comparable to major titles on the shelves.

We found “Harem Scarem!” on the stands of Crescent City Comics on Calhoun Street.

Let us know about the local reads you find by tagging Very Local New Orleans on Instagram and Twitter, or hit us up on Facebook.

Hi. I’m Clint. I’m the Local Market Manager for Very Local New Orleans. I’ve lived in New Orleans since 2001 and been living my best life in this rad place since that year. I have 10 years of broadcast journalism and digital media experience. Before Very Local New Orleans, I worked for WDSU-TV – producing, product developing, digital media managing– I’ve done it all. I’ve seen first-hand the trials we’ve suffered in this city and the celebrations we’ve enjoyed. I love New Orleans. It’s home. I’m going to work my hardest to bring you the content and experiences you care...

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