Written by Cheryl Cottrell-Smith
Title: The Saga of the Jack of Spades, No. 1
Publisher: Nothing Works Entertainment Inc.
Publication Date: September 14, 2016
Written by Chase Kantor
Pencil and inks by Daniel Schneider
Colours by Sabrina O’Donnell
Letters by Sylvia Moon
Produced by Jared Kantor
Nothing Works Entertainment Inc. is back with the second issue of their debut comic, The Saga of the Jack of Spades. Last time, we were introduced to Prince Jack of Spade Kingdom, who is forced to go on the run after a threat is made upon his life. The second issue of the comic follows Jack as he steals into Tilt Forest in Euchre territory, where his uncle is currently performing raids.
Without giving too much of the story away, this issue further builds on the complexities of trust and relationships amongst members of Jack’s kingdom and the people in his life. Both Jack and the reader are unsure who can be trusted and mysteries are introduced that will unfold in later issues.
The good: In terms of world-building, Chase Kantor and his team known how to keep a good thing going. Even after just the first issue, returning to Jack’s world was easy—familiar. Jack is such a recognizable character (this might date me a little, but for me he’s reminiscent of Monkey Island’s Guybrush Threepwood) and his cheeky dialogue continues to be a highlight for the series.
I love the artwork. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The team might take their time in between publications, but that’s clearly because of the obvious desire to produce a top quality product, which they have done yet again. The colours, the lines, the attention to detail—all are beautifully represented in this issue. There’s also a solid amount of dialogue throughout the comic, like the first one, giving readers plenty to mull over aside from the stunning visuals.
The playing card fantasy theme of the series continues in this issue, although Kantor and co. are skilled at keeping it subtle. There’s nothing worse than a comic or novel constantly throwing its core themes in your face and, while Jack of Spades makes a lot of references to playing card lore, the comic focuses much more on the story at hand and its narrative developments. It’s a well-developed fantasy world with mystery, intrigue, and betrayal—all tied together with an overarching theme based on the different suits in a deck of cards.
The bad: The only negative for me is the publication time in between issues (10 months between issues one and two). And THAT, my friends, is only because I’m dying to find out what happens next. Knowing how much effort each member of Kantor’s team puts into these comics, though, I am content to wait for as long as needed before they put out what I’m sure will be an excellent third issue. Thanks to Game of Thrones, I’ve had plenty of experiencing with waiting for things I enjoy.
Overall thoughts: I’ve read so many beginner issues of independent comics and there are a good chunk that either have great artwork or a compelling story, but rarely both. As a fan of fantasy and fables, Jack of Spades appeals to my fandoms and I think the comic brings together narrative and visuals brilliantly. Support your local independent comic book creators and give Jack of Spades a read!
Pick up digital or print copies of issues one and two of The Saga of the Jack of Spades on the comic’s website. Custom playing card decks from the series are also available for purchase.
And, if you’re going to the Edmonton Expo this weekend, stop by their booth and say hi!
Visit the Jack of Spades website.
Follow Jack of Spades on Twitter.
Like the Jack of Spades page on Facebook.
All images courtesy of Chase Kantor and Nothing Works Entertainment Inc.