In Sh*tshow #1, 1he world once had an Age of Heroes, where Legend, the Principled Protector of Peace, and his Legion defended the Earth from threats far and wide. Then, in the blink of an eye, unimaginably horrific forces catapulted the Age of Heroes into extinction! Now, as people wander aimlessly through a hero-less world, The Magnificent McCoys travel far and wide to showcase their powers for the almighty penny. Led by the drunkard Richard McCoy – the hero once known as Legend – the McCoys try to find normalcy in a world that is just slivers of what it once was. As the dust finally begins to settle, the dark force that looked to conquer the world returns to finish the job it started. Can Legend remain sober enough to put this mysterious force down once and for all?
Sometimes a comic comes along that makes you take notice for the strangest of reasons; the colour of the cover on the shelf, or the way the light catches the foil cover next to the issue you end up finding. Maybe you read a word in a blurb from one of the sites you follow, or maybe you misread the title and wonder what on earth a “shotshow” is.
Well, as you may have guessed, the comic isn’t titled Shotshow, but rather Sh*tshow with a large asterisk – I understood how I made the error, but still feel a touch embarrassed (so I’ll admit it publicly). Sh*tshow #1 is published by Scout Comics and writted by Adam Barnhardt, illustrated by Samir Simao, coloured by Wania K. Sahadewa and lettered by Lettersquids, and if you’re looking for a quick answer to whether the book is worth reading, well it is.
Why? Well allow me to tell you, dear reader.
The comic starts out with the heroes having lost. Maybe they won out in the end, but the victory came at such a cost that it may as well have been a defeat. It’s not a new concept to start the story after the heroes have lost/bad guy has won, but it’s an avenue that hasn’t been explored as much in comics – or other media – as you’d expect given the richness of ideas that we’ve seen in the stories that do start with characters moving on with their lives in the new status quo. Shitshow #1 shows us a little of how the world ended, though it’s as much to flesh out how the world crumbled as it is to show how far Richard McCoy has fallen over the decade since the heroes fell.
Bernhardt balances the before and after aspects of the comic admirably, using the brightness and the energetic hope of the Before to balance out the far more depressive After. Though there’s never any doubt what the outcome will be (because the comic opens with McCoy in a drunken stupor before eventually flashing back to the final battle) you can’t help but hope that the history is wrong as you root for the heroes to pull off the win – though the narration used is at odds with what you’re seeing leaving no doubt to the outcome.
So it is, then, that we witness Legend at his worst, as he hits the bottom of bottle after bottle, his superheroing days long behind him. Bernhardt’s ability to emphasize just how low the former hero has sunk is on full display in the dialogue between the other characters, but it’s Simao and Sahadewa’s art work that drives the final nail in the coffin. Between the moody, oppressive colours and the heavier lines and angles used the book has a real sense that things aren’t likely to get better.
Despite this, though there’s a glimmer of hope throughout Sh*tshow #1. It’s something that you can cling to, a light in the darkness that may be barely visible but is still unmistakably there holding the darkness at bay. For me, this is a comic about hope in the deepest pits of despair and depression, about a person’s fight to beat back their demons and get back to where they want to be. I don’t know where the journey will end, but I’m along for the ride.
I still don’t know what a Shotshow is.
Story: Adam Bernhardt Art: Samir Simao
Color: Wania K. Sahadewa Letterer: Lettersqiuds
Story: 8.6 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy
Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review