"Polybius Dreams #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Hypnotic Dog Comics
Written by Ben Grisanti
Illustrated by Keith Grachow
Colored by Ester Salguero
2017, 40 Pages
Kids today don’t know the joys of walking into an arcade with a pocket full of quarters. I already see how this review is going to make me sound so old. Polybius Dreams, set in a sleepy New York town in 1986, captures that feeling of nostalgia and innocence before plunging it into terror. Kids flock to the new game in the arcade only to leave far more angry and violent then when they arrived. People are going missing and one suicide has already been reported.
Much of this first issue is spent introducing the main characters. Patrick, Michael, and Paul are three dorks used to getting bullied at school. The arcade is like their sanctuary, a safe space where they can be themselves. The owners know them by name and give them special treatment. This is every ‘80s kid’s dream.
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The nostalgia factor in Polybius Dreams is high. Keith Grachow’s artwork is a perfect match for the time period. He captures the look and feel of the ‘80s in every single image. The clothing, hair styles, furniture, and signage are taken right from that decade.
Much of the personalities of the main characters come through in Grachow’s designs. Paul is awkward and smart. Michael is tough. Patrick is small and quiet. You immediately understand the wide-eyed imagination that comes from seeing the world through a child’s eyes.
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My only issue with the artwork is with Michael. He’s supposed to be a kid, but he looks more like a thirty year old. His hair is slicked back, presumably to cover a bald spot. He’s pudgy, but not in the way a fat kid would be. Instead, it’s more like a “dad bod.” Patrick and Paul are spot on, but Michael is just way older in appearance.
Polybius Dreams kicks off with a great premise, although it takes some time to get going. The bulk of this oversized issue is spent introducing the characters. It ends right when things really get going. You get the basic idea from the description on the back of the comic, while the interiors don’t expand much on that at this time. This is just the first chapter of a larger story, so there’s more to come.