Self-Published Sunday: Hey Fellers

In the premier issue of Hey, Fellers! Biff Sacco is confronted by a wildeyed space explorer, Adam Smasher has his first run in with the Vile Villainess Pythona, The Weird Figure continues his war on the criminal underworld, and much MUCH MORE!!!

Hey, Fellers! is an homage to the golden age of superhero adventure comics featuring Biff Sacco All American, Adam Smasher Urban Adventurer, and the Mysterious Weird Figure, Caped Crimefighter.

My first thought when I saw the cover to Hey Fellers was, “Is Jake Cavalle taking this seriously, or is this a parody?” After reading through all 24 pages of the issue, I still can’t figure it out. It is too serious to be a parody, but not nearly serious enough to be a straight-up homage to the 1940′s (see The Rocketeer for how something like that is done right).

Writer/Artist Jake Cavalle does a solid job filling the pages of his book with the kind of odd assembly of characters which made up the comics of the 1940′s and 50′s. Back then there may be a crime story, a gag strip, a funny animal, and a war story all under a single cover with the words “All-Awesome” on the cover. You never knew what you were going to get! In Hey Fellers there is a crime fighter, a strong man, a freak of science, and a strip which could turn into a Buck Rogers-type serial. Any of these could have been interesting. Unfortunately, they were not.

It starts with Cavalle’s scripts. While he is trying, I believe, to go for a period feel with dialogue and vernacular, there is so much of it that the script reads like a parody. There are so many “Chums” “Gosh”es, and “heaters” that it is impossible to take the script seriously. Sure, all of those things are words which were used in the 40′s and 50′s, but a little goes a long way in a script. They do not have to be used in every thought balloon.

This might lead you to believe that Hey Fellers is intended to be a parody. But parody has to go above and beyond the original source material to create the caricature. None of the plots Cavalle creates do that. All of the stories in Hey fellers are pretty straight forward and could be found in any comic of the era. Nothing in the plots indicate that Cavalle is trying for parody.

The art is rough and does nothing to satisfy the question. As with the script, the art is cartoony enough enough that it is difficult to take seriously, but not stylized enough to make it appear deliberate. Unfortunately it comes off as clunky and amateur. Cavalle would have been better off either cleaning up the art to give it the straight and squared-off look which dominated the early heroes of the day, or really gone for broke and made the characters more cartoonish.

Hey Fellers is a book which suffers from either not being enough or being too much. It is a difficult place to be because, as a reader, you have no idea where to go. Hopefully Cavalle will look at this forst issue, make a decision about the direction he wants to go, and commit all the way.

Hey Fellers is available from Indy Planet.

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