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The Writer #1
Dark Horse Comics

Comic Books

‘The Writer’ #1 takes a deep dive into myth, identity, and the double-edged sword of creation

Weird in all the best ways.

The Writer #1 will probably draw readers’ eyeballs due to the talent attached; Josh Gad (of Frozen and Wolf Like Me fame) was co-writing the script alongside the Berkowitz Brothers (Max and Ben, respectively), with Ariel Olivetti providing art. But the biggest draw for me was the story the creative team cooked up, especially with how it ties into comic book history. That story concerns teacher/aspiring writer Stan Siegel, who grew up listening to tales of Jewish myth from his father. But when actual demons come after him and his family Stan learns that those stories have a foothold in reality, and his skills as a writer might be his greatest weapon.

Jewish mythology has been intertwined with comics since the beginning of the genre. Comic book creators including Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were born of Jewish heritage. Superman being rocketed to Earth is a parallel for the story of Moses, while Ben Grimm is a modern day golem – hewn from rock to defend the helpless. Gad and the Berkowitz Bros lean fully into this connection, touching upon everything from the exploits of King Solomon to the origin of demons. But they don’t skimp out on how Stan’s heritage is a part of his life: his daughter is teased for being Black and Jewish, while he rightfully explodes at an anti-Semitic organization being allowed to speak at the college he teaches at.

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Olivetti is given a rich canvas to draw visual inspiration from, and he doesn’t just rise to the challenge, he masters it. Stan learns that he has the ability to gain different powers by utilizing the magic within a ring his father passed to him, as well as writing in his trusty notebook; the effects differ, and so does Olivetti’s artwork. When Stan becomes a golem, his body starts bulking out while transforming into a rocky mass – effectively, a mountain with fists. When he gains ghostly powers, his body transforms into wisps of bluish-gray smoke that feel out of phase with the rest of the world.

Finally, the lettering from Frank Cvetkovic plays into the mystical elements. Stan’s transformations alter his voice; if he turns into a golem or another creature, his speech bubbles grow more rugged. Demons have jagged speech bubbles – every word feels like it ends on the point of a blade. Captions are even designed to look like scraps of parchment, further blurring the line between what Stan believes to be fantasy and reality.

The Writer #1 is weird in all the best ways; its story is an homage to the roots of comic book storytelling and Jewish mythology, and more proof that a comic written or co-written by an actor can actually be worth reading. It’s, for lack of a better term, magical.

The Writer #1
‘The Writer’ #1 takes a deep dive into myth, identity, and the double-edged sword of creation
The Writer #1
The Writer #1 is weird in all the best ways; its story is an homage to the roots of comic book storytelling and Jewish mythology, and more proof that a comic written or co-written by an actor can actually be worth reading. It's, for lack of a better term, magical.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.2
A story that hearkens back to the roots of comic book storytelling and acknowledges their Jewish roots.
Ariel Olivetti's artwork blurs the line between myth and reality.
Lettering that shifts shape, based on the human or creature speaking.
Gad and the Berkowitz Bros. have something magical here.
8.5
Great
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