"Urban Legends #1 & #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
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Illustrated by Miriam Medina
There are some stories that are retold over and over again, passed down from generation to generation over camp fires and other places that young people hang out. There is still a sense of wonder that comes from hearing these possibly true tales, even though we could easily look up the facts on our smart phones. Indie comic Urban Legends plays with that idea, pulling from these modern day myths of psychos with hooks and killers in back seats in its first two issues.
Using these tried-and-true stories as the basis of the comic is a great idea, but unfortunately there's not much past the source material. It would be one thing if the creative team expanded on these myths, creating a backstory for the killers or fleshing out the details. Instead, it's basically a comic book retelling of tales we've heard countless times before. The books don't pack the same type of punch if you know exactly where the plot is going.
With little to no information on the killers, it doesn't help matters that the other characters are rather one-dimensional. They're cardboard cutouts of your stereotypical horror movie victims. Granted, there's only so much character development you can cram into a single-issue comic, but there's no connection to them. I didn't care if they lived or died by the end of the book.
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You can see a marked improvement in Miriam Medina's artwork between the two issues of Urban Legends. The backgrounds in the first issue are very basic. We're talking simple shapes with no real depth that give you a rough idea of what they're supposed to be (e.g. a counter or a car). These are often presented in strange angles that just don't line up right with the other items on the page. There are so many more details in the second issue that help flesh out the overall world.
Medina's character work is what really stands out, especially in the second issue. The main character in the first chapter is a tatted-up chick who works at a comic book store and takes no shit from anyone. Her design is unique and interesting. The characters in the next issue have a Disney-esque quality, especially in their facial features. They're more expressive and easier to relate to. This is reminiscent of Stejpan Sejic's recent work on Sunstone and Rat Queens.
Urban Legends begins with a great idea but doesn't get much farther than that. If you've heard the old stories of a killer hiding in the back seat of a car or a weirdo murdering young lovers with a hook for a hand, you have an idea of what to expect. The hook story in the second issue has a bit more information as to the origin of the killer, but still leaves something to be desired. I'd love to see what the creative team could do with some more room for the story to grow.