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Double Barrel #2
posted July 3, 2012
 

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Creators: Zander Cannon, Kevin Cannon
Publishing Information: Top Shelf, digital comic, 100 pages, July 2012, $1.99
Ordering Numbers: you could certainly find it starting here

imageOne of the flood of new formats hoping to unlock the secret to for-profit digital comics publishing, the Double Barrel project from not-brothers but fellow Grinnell alums Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon has a very comics-style solution for the matter at hand: throw content at it. In this case that means a comic much bigger than equivalent print offerings: the first issue was 122 pages; this one was 100 even; they promise over 50. This makes a tremendous amount of sense given the problem facing those that must balance their digital efforts against profitable print versions: the print versions aren't a good value generally, and certainly aren't a good value for on-line material. Given the ease of finding material for free, a certain amount of goodwill based on offering a strong package of work seems necessary for any audience at all, even above and beyond whether or not the material works on its intended audience in the way the authors might hope. Reading through the book may remind just how effectively one- or two-man anthology comics work as branding exercises (I know, I know, bear with me). Cannon and Cannon don't just give you work, they give you themselves presenting the work, and a bunch of extra material besides. It's easy to imagine people wanting to know the authors or at least not wishing to take what they're offering for free.

Both cartoonists have worked with the quick version of their own art style that characterizes each lead serial. Kevin Cannon's best-known work was done in that style, and Crater XV seems a direct, slightly sideways sequel to Far Arden. I don't think Zander has worked in this style for this many pages at a time, and that may be why his hellbound Heck seems slightly less developed than the seafaring story. There's a sense I also couldn't shake that I really enjoy Zander Cannon's more fully rendered material and thus this looser take on things made me feel I was missing out. Both serials are fun, though, at least so far. Kevin Cannon has that wonderful shtick with the literal sound effects and the deeply weird seafaring milieu that was so appealing in the earlier work. Zander Cannon has the broad canvas of a journey through in which to do just about anything he likes. Both stories bounce along with a lot of good-natured appeal. Keeping our interest may more difficult than usual with this kind casual cartooning. Everyone loves the guy who tells you a funny story, but only if that story stays on point. For now, though, I thought both were entertaining, at least worthy of devouring in this form. Given the excellent presentation, I'm going to stick around for a bit.

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