Independently Well Done highlights completed and/or noteworthy story-arcs published by indie and small press creators.
Written By: Stephen Franck
Art By: Stephen Franck
I’m a chump for a lot of things. I don’t even mind thinking, or knowing, that I’m a chump when it comes to the things that I love. One such form of entertainment that gets me every single time are heist-esque movies or stories. If you have a story that’s fundamentally about solving a problem in order to acquire a valuable item, I will make it rain money to consume whatever it is you’re creating. As I said, I’m a chump when it comes to those types of stories. Now, you can only imagine, with my love for all-things-heist, when a great story revolving around some form of pilfering arrives before my eyes, not only do I immediately get sucked in, but I will sing its praises from the rooftops. Well, grab me a ladder and point me to the nearest roof because today’s comic, Silver, by Stephen Franck is something everyone should be reading. It. Is. So. Good.
I stumbled across this comic roughly two or three years ago at Wondercon, I believe. I was just browsing the isles, as I do, when one of the booth workers at a table asked me if I liked adventure comics. I paused for a moment, gave it a quick thought, and replied, “Yeah, I love adventure comics.” Without missing a beat they reached out and handed me an issue of Silver, followed up with something about Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but at that point I wasn’t listening because two other things were distracting me simultaneously.
The first thing that distracted me from the sales pitch was the thing happening directly to my eyeballs. The easiest way to describe it would be: pure delight. Silver isn’t a full color book, which can be a turnoff because color often adds a great deal of detail and mood setting. However, as I perused the pages of Silver I couldn’t help but marvel at the phenomenal art happening on every page. This book is beautiful, and the choice of black & white absolutely contributes to the storytelling. Now, in that brief moment of time my eyes being dazzled and the next thing to snatch my attention, I managed to catch the shortest of phrases from the wonderful young lady telling me about the book. What she said, I have no clue, because at that very moment, my wallet magically jumped out of my pocket and slapped me across the face for not instantly doing whatever needed to be done in order to own this book, which was distraction number two. I believe that if I had not purchased this comic my wallet would’ve spit on me and driven itself home.
Silver, for me, is one of those convention gems that I happened stumble into. It is the very essence, the fuel, that propels my spending at the next convention. I thrive on finding work that I’ve never heard of before at conventions. Books like Silver are the very reason why I spend my first half of a day, at any comic convention, browsing artist alley. I want to talk with people to find out about their work, how long have they been at it, and where the idea came from. So, to my delight, there, behind the young saleswoman, who made her easiest sale of the convention, was Stephen Franck sketching away on the inside cover of a book for a couple who had just purchased Silver for themselves.
After talking with Franck for roughly 10min I discovered that not only is he a highly talented artist and storyteller, but he’s an extremely nice guy. There’s nothing more endearing to me, as a reader, than when I come across a creator who genuinely appreciates their readers. Not only did my desire to throw dollars at this book grow immensely, Stephen’s friendliness kick-started my fandom into warp drive.
Now, you may be wondering, at what point in this post is this guy going to actually tell us about Silver? Well, I’m choosing to withhold quite a bit of “selling” because I don’t want to spoil one ounce of this story for anyone. I want everyone to read this book; it’s remained in my top ten books for the last couple years and has done so because of its greatness. However, for those who need a little more than, “This book is amazing, go buy it,” allow me to describe it this way: imagine if Indiana Jones, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, National Treasure, Blade, and Italian Job all got together and gave birth to a beautifully drawn black and white comic book…you’d have Silver. The craziest part, even though I’m using some highly popular movies (or not so popular depending on how you feel about those movies) to describe this book, it never feels unoriginal. Stephen Franck has taken the best aspects of those stories and woven them together to create something all his own, and this writer is super thankful he did because Silver just delights me.
We have our expert thief and his crew. Then we have our vampire hunter who’s not putting up with anyone’s garbage. What about a kid who can see into the future but can’t see into his own thus leaving him alienated from everyone he meets, yup, we have that kid. How about some crazy Dracula lore, and vampire nations gathering together in one freaky night of ballroom dancing…yup. Oh, and all of this is set in the 1930’s so there’s our “noir,” or “pulp” feel and tone. Now wrap all of that around the heist-of-all-heists and what you have is one of the best indie comics I’ve put my hands on in years. If you like vampires, in any way whatsoever, and/or you like pulp style adventure stories, I can’t imagine a world where you wouldn’t enjoy this book. If you don’t really care about any of those things, this comic still manages to hold it’s own because there’s just a solid story and beautiful artwork at its core. If at this point none of this sounds interesting to you, well, sorry-not-sorry, because I can’t recommend this book enough. If it does sound like something you’d be into, you can check it out HERE, HERE, and/or HERE.