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Clockwork Girl #0
Writers: Sean O'Reilly
and Kevin Hanna
Artist: Grant Bond

Unless you fed the meter just prior to the local constabulary noticing it had expired, this is the best quarter you'll spend this month. This special issue 0 comes packed with fifteen pages of story, a two page minicomic and eleven pages of bonus art and background material.

The bulk of the book does a good job of setting up the story to follow, a Disneyesque fable of rival scientists and their offspring. The story begins in classic fairy tale style, drawing a conflict between the biologist Dendrus the Grafter and the mechanist The Tinkerer. The Clockwirk Girl, built by The Tinkerer, and Huxley, a sort of Frankenstein monster by way of Huck Finn, created by Dendrus the Grafter, are the main characters arouund which the action will revolve. The story is just enough of a prologue to whet the appetite for what will happen next.

The art is a treat. My only real criticism of it is that it reads a little too much like a story board, making it look like an idea born for animation that is resorting to the comic book format. It's reminiscent of the late lamented Captain Jack in that way.

Is there any possibility that issue 0 can be animated and posted to YouTube? It would make one heck of a promotional gimmick.

I hope Grant Bond can continue on the book after one of the major animation houses snatch him up, which they're sure to do if they see his work. I'm lookin forward to seeing him grow into the wider comics idiom in future issues. I'd love to be able to look five years into the future to see his work after he has fifty or more issues under his belt. I think we can expect great things from him, which would make this a real collectors item. No pressure, Grant.

The bonus material will be appreciated by anyone interested in how a comic is shaped from earliest concept. There are prior versions of The Tinkerer, including the first sketch made over a decade ago through a 3D render that shows the potential for animation of the story. And there's concept art by those who almost became the artist for the book but didn't for various reasons that are explained, which makes a short but interesting history of how one book found its creative team.

Most winning for me was the inclusion of fan art by budding pencilers, which never fails to charm. That may be the best part of the Johnny DC books for me, and i'm glad to see Arcana Comics is keeping that tradition alive. So forget the meter maid and spend a coin on Clockwork Girl.

David Akhond

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