First Impressions is a column where we review comic books that meet two criteria: they must be Comixology Submit titles (self-published digital books) and they must be a first issue. The comic book genre is a treasure trove of creativity even outside established publishers–you owe it to yourself to check out some of these gems. Next up, we review Fashion Forward.
Fashion Forward presents an intriguing high level concept of a down-on-her-luck worker in the fashion industry who obtains a pair of time travelling high heel boots that allows her to travel into the future and see tomorrow’s designs today. The story is brought to life by writers Shawnee Gibbs and Shawnelle Gibbs (I’ll go out on a limb and guess they are related) with art by Linda Chung. The art is a simple black and white, thick line, web comic approach which gives the comic a light feeling that helps move through the pages.
While the premise is interesting, the first issue struggles under its own weight. Let’s be clear–I love time travel and I’m intrigued by the idea. But when you tell me there’s going to be time travelling haute couture then you have to show it to me in the first issue. Instead we have nearly 30 pages of set-up that is fairly standard. Our hero works in the fashion industry, is talented without being recognized, has great coworkers, has a crappy boss, and gets her ideas stolen by an evil manager. This isn’t so unique that we need so many pages to lay it out for us–these things could be a few panels here and there rather than pages and pages of set up. The slice-of-life writing style also lends itself to some awkward exchanges:
This first issue feels a little dialogue heavy and could have been paced better, but there’s a single panel that gives me hope for future issues.
This is exactly how slice-of-life comics can work so successfully, and it’s the first time in the issue where things are shown to us in a visual way rather than having a coworker or family member fill the panel with dialogue to tell us something instead. The feeling of becoming smaller and smaller as you face a difficult manager or situation is universally understood and depicting it in a comic form like this is fantastic. This one panel gives me hope for future issues. That plus time travel. Because time travel.
Score: 7 out of 10 time boots