Review: Night Owls Vol. 1

Night Owls

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At this point, you’ve undoubtedly read that Zuda has effectively shut down and is being folded into DC’s Digital Comics initiative. For whatever flaws it had in terms of the competition model and the interface, Zuda was a pretty cool thing and I liked that DC was open about what it meant if when you got a contract (you could read the contract online). I’m sad to see it go.

Night Owls Vol. 1 collects the Zuda comic by twins Peter and Bobby Timony. Set in the Roaring ’20s, it follows a supernatural detective agency consisting of Professor Ernest Baxter, flapper Mindy Markus and gargoyle Roscoe. They encounter (and often battle) vampires, rampaging monsters, mummies and their arch nemesis Mr. You. It’s both sweet and silly and told in the breathless tones of an old radio serial.

The Timony Twins have a kitchen-sink approach to this comic — there’s everything from romance to horror (Mr. You steals people’s faces — although Bobby Timony draws this in the least disgusting manner possible, overall) to high fantasy to science and slapstick humor as well as gangsters (it is set in the 1920s, after all). Part of what makes this comic so charming is how constantly surprising it is — there’s such a sense of playfulness and willingness to try anything.

Bobby Timony’s art has a classic comic feel — square-jawed men and beautiful women — while still feeling modern. The sepia tone colors also add to the retro feel.

Our core group of characters are fun to follow. Ernest is smart but slightly socially inept and while Mindy is capable and confident, she’s sometimes a little quick to throw a punch. Roscoe is mostly the wisecracking sidekick but provides perfectly placed humor. Peter Timony handles everything with a light touch, despite jealous lovers or mortal dangers that everyone tends to encounter on a regular basis.

(The Night Owls is still being moved over from Zuda so it’s not currently online. But I think it’s a good opportunity to buy it in book form. But then, I’m one of those people who prefers reading things in print, anyway.)

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