“Here Comes Calico” is an 8-issue series of comics published by Sigma Comics and created/written by H.H. German. We reviewed issues #1 and #2 a few months ago with enthusiasm. Issue #3 (titled “Doggy Style”) does not disappoint. Artist Javier Orabich and colorist Daniel Grimaldi continue to create graphic depictions of Brooklyn, Red Hook, and Queens that are evocative and full of detail. I’ve always felt that the landscape of a comic book story works in much the same way that the soundtrack in a movie does: it evokes the mood and feeling of the various scenes in the comic.
Javier and Daniel do an outstanding job of capturing various scenes such as a hard-core boxing gym, a sun-lit crime boss's bedroom, an office overlooking the street in the Bronx, and a sleazy warehouse where brutal dogfighting takes place. The details are well-rendered as is the excellent color for each scene. Capturing motion in a series of still images is not an easy thing to do, but the Calico team makes it seem easy.
There are multiple storylines in Here Comes Calico #3 including the continuing search for a monster human being who posts videos of brutal treatment of dogs and Hector’s (Calico’s real-life identity) breaking in a new, young boxer at the gym. But the primary story is driven by Calico’s vengeance on a creepy dog fight organizer and trainer who, in a satisfying bit of irony, gets attacked by the very dogs he’s been brutalizing. The killing is explicit and direct like the rest of the violence in the comic. As I mentioned in previous reviews, the vigilante justice in Here Comes Calico is morally debatable, but it is portrayed consistently and honestly in the world of Here Comes Calico. It's important to note that in order to effectively portray evil you must depict the evil in action. The trap is making the evil acts too appealing and stylish. Writer H.H. German avoids this trap which is one reason this comic book series is so compelling.
Gong, Kingman and Hector
I was particularly taken with two new characters introduced as part of Calico’s dark past; Kingman, a Downs-syndrome kingpin who “only hires people with his condition”, and Gong, a huge, hulking thug with a strange bearded mask who roughs up Hector when he goes to collect a few for some work he did for Kingman in the past. These two characters are chilling and suggest real trouble for Hector/Calico in the future. The visual depiction of Kingman and Frankenstein (and the dog fight organizer with his thousand-dollar designer shades) are wonderful. Very much in the tradition of Steve Ditko and John Buscema.
I highly recommend the Here Comes Calico series for its art style and no-holds-barred storyline, but it's the characters that really matter and their visual depiction and action on the page are very well drawn and colored. They stay in your mind well after you've finished reading. “Doggy Style” is an excellent addition to the series and I am eagerly looking forward to the next issue.
You can subscribe (or donate) to Here Comes Calico at sigmacomics.com. Note that the series is rated M for explicit content. Sigma comics support the Animal Welfare Institute who has been dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by humans since 1951 (awionline.org).
My thanks to Sigma Comics for providing a review copy of Here Comes Calico 3.