Comic books from Kickstarter tend to not be great. I could try to be nicer, but that is fundamentally the barrier to reading those comics, even setting aside how difficult it often is to get ahold of them. But the simple fact of the matter is that editors, and the editing process, exists for a reason. People need to have their writing put in front of other people before it gets published, and comics writing that is produced on Kickstarter rarely has that happen.
So, the thing that attracted me to Kickstarter success Damsel From D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S. was the noticeable fact that it was lettered and edited by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, the Eisner Award winning editor of PanelXPanel, a monthly digital comics publication that is maybe just the best piece of comics analysis out there. Otsmane-Elhaou also works on Strip Panel Naked, another fantastic piece of comics criticism and analysis.
So, no disrespect to writer Andrew Clemson or artist Mauricio Mora, but it was the addition of Otsmane-Elhaou that made me commit to reading Damsel from D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S. in the first place – and, full disclosure, dropping five dollars on Kickstarter to back the creation of the comic. There is a value to having a solid team on your book beyond just a writer and artist.
But Damsel from D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S. is honestly just fun. It’s something like James Bond meets The Princess Bride meets Lord of the Rings. Our heroine, the titular damsel, is a super-spy for D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S., an organization so secretive that we are not even cleared to know what D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S. actually stands for. Our heroine, Bec, travels throughout a generic fantasy world – with elves and dwarves and wizards and the like – foiling plots and generally maintaining order. She has a ditzy but well-meaning knight in training named Dave — simply “Dave”, no surname or epithet – following along with her, and even an animal sidekick.
But this is a spy book, not a fantasy book. Dave is her Moneypenny, and her animal sidekicks – a frog and a small songbird named Crusher – are her M and her Q, respectively. The comic is delightful, with an action-comedy vibe that is genuinely laugh out loud funny.
But beyond that, there’s a real emotional core in the book as well. Bec is, along with doing the whole saving-the-kingdom thing, looking for her father, and it’s genuinely sympathy-inducing when the big reveal with her father shows up.
I don’t know when the second issue of Damsel from D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S. is going to come out, which is another problem with the Kickstarter publishing method. But I would strongly recommend for you to back it when it does.
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