Louis Santiago and Gentleman Monster on the First Two Issues of ‘Mud Man’
Louis Santiago (LS): Really? I was right about to ask if your Jack Staff experience gave you any insight on Mud Man because I was going in completely blind.
GM: I’ve read a Captain America short with art by Paul Grist, and I heard his stuff was great. Those are the two reasons I picked up Mud Man, which I liked so much that I picked up the first volume of Jack Staff.
I also picked up Mud Man because it was a new character which meant I didn’t have to worry about back story.
LS: Yeah, I too wanted to check out Jack Staff immediately after reading Mud Man. But I think you hit on one of the two great aspects of Mud Man: he’s amazingly new and really fun. This is a comic that doesn’t ask you to come with any prior knowledge besides that mud exists. And also, superheroes. Really, the title says all you need to know about how fun the book is, which combines with the laid backed…ness of it to make a really enjoyable read.
GM: It is pretty laid back.
LS: It’s not slap stick or anything and I can already see traces of things getting more serious, but it easily achieves the same fun factor as Invincible when I first read that.
GM: I also really like the mystery of the old house, the suit, and exactly how Mud Man got his powers.
LS: And mystery girl?
GM: There are a bunch of great details like mystery girl. I also love the bickering crooks. Each issue has a great balance between having it’s own story but also adding enough for a long term plot. The story actually works better spread out over multiple issues because Grist has done such a great job with the pacing. A lesser creator would have easily had too little plot in these first two issues, but Grist really manages to use his pages to fill out the characters and setting without it turning into a lot of pointless talking or heavy-handed exposition.
LS: I was actually on the fence until I read the second issue, which was about 90% from the perspective of the goons from the first issue. That alone was a clear indicator of the good times that were possible with this comic and Grist’s ability to supply me with those good times, no matter where they come from. It was a bold move and it super worked.
GM: He’s also a fantastic artist. Delightful layouts.
LS: Yeah, he pulls double duty on this comic and it doesn’t negatively impact the writing or the art. Which blows my mind.
GM: If the writing wasn’t very good, I could still read this comic just to look at the art. However, Grist also writes well. Lucky for him that he gets to hog all the talent. Well, not all of the talent; Bill Crabtree did a great job with the colours.
LS: True. Although I would still check it out just to see Mud Man’s powers, which actually… work. I honestly have to keep reading just to see if they can keep working. Because you’d think “Mud powers? How’s that going to help?” But it does. It totally does.
GM: He can’t get shot which is one high point for mud powers.
LS: And he can actually throw mud in people’s eyes, which is probably a lot worse than it sounds.
GM: That would be awful. I wear sunglasses all the time to prevent problems with my seas side robberies.
LS: Ha!… We’re not making a strong case on these powers at all, but really, that’s the whole magic of them right there.
GM: I also like how Owen is still pretty clueless about his powers two issues in. I like how that allows the reader to figure out Owen’s powers along with him.
LS: It’s part of the whole young teen superhero experience that this book provides. And as I haven’t been invested in a new teen superhero in a while, it’s nice to see one I can get behind. Particularly a British one, which adds a bit more interest for me; I like reading the accents aloud… Because I’m a man of simple pleasures.
GM: “OI Don’t you sling mud at me you dirty bloke!” I apologize to Paul Grist and all the UK for that.
LS: I may have just giggled like an idiot over here. Tell no one. So, a good summary of this comic–
GM: At least to issue 2.
LS: Right. It combines a lot of simple pleasures with high quality and promises of future complexity.
GM: It’s also fantastic to see a new superhero done in such a different style. Grist is definitely not your run of the mill superhero artist. He’s got his own very distinct style, and I love seeing that style applied to the classic teen superhero archetype. The design of the room that held the Mudman costume was enough reason to check out issue one. It looked like Owen walked into a Dance Club designed by the creators of the Prisoner.
LS: Stop breaking my mind. When’s the next issue coming out?
GM: Mud Man #3 will be in stores on Wednesday, April 4th. I highly recommend it.
LS: Awesome. Did you have anything else you wanted to say about Mud Man?
GM: I think the cover to #4 says it all.