APAMA: The Undiscovered Animal
by Ted Sikora and Milo Miller
Hero Tomorrow Comics
There’s an ocean of modern day graphic novels out there and assuming you can actually find a bookstore, there are plenty of options. APAMA is one of the higher waves in this ocean of quirky storytelling. Featuring sharp illustrations, tight pacing, a glint of sex and a hero wrought with inner dissention it builds from issue to issue with an increasingly interwoven story line.
Our hero Ilyia Zjarsky keeps a pet rat and drives a crappy ice cream truck through bad neighborhoods of Cleveland, Ohio. His truck collects more rotten eggs than sales, and he’s barely getting by. One night he discovers a cave with an ancient costume, and rather than alert an archaeologist he puts it on and discovers his inner animal. At first this is a problem, but his confidence grows and soon it attracts Vica, the waitress down stairs. Cleveland is fraught with supernatural monsters, never mind the human ones, and the local cops aren’t all that sympathetic at Apama’s help, even when he saves a city most people regard as unsalvageable.
There’s a clubby feel to this series, letters to the editor are answered with enthusiasm and insight and there’s even a Kickstarter campaign to turn this wild ride of a graphic novel into a movie. I can’t say if it will happen, after all you need about 40,000 cells to make a full length, but along the way this story has heart, soul, action and the sorts of hunky guys and curvy women that graphic novelists love. Hunt this one down before the Million Year Hunger attacks you or a town you love.