By Joe Kubert (art, colors & story), Pete Carlsson (colors)
In many ways I can’t help but feel that Tor is an advertisement for Joe Kubert’s School of Art. I’m sure that’s clearly not the intent, but it’s hard for me to feel otherwise. Those ads that have graced comic book pages over the years prominently featured Tor, so I’m having a tough time separating the two. Seeing the beautiful interiors only reinforces that feeling. Because Kubert makes Tor feel like an exhibition of how storytelling should be done in the comics medium. It’s utterly amazing to see this guy still in top form after all these years. Yet I can’t shake the inner voice in my head that says, “Wanna draw like this? Go to my school!” I wish I could draw this good.
With Tor #1 Kubert goes for broke, flexing his artistic muscles and making so many modern artists look bad. Sure, he may not have the cleanest art style or the photo-inspired look that’s popular today – heck, even the coloring is bland, but man, can he draw. I read this book twice – once all the way through, reading all the narrative (there’s no word bubbles in this issue), and the second time, I looked through the book without reading a thing. Two different readings, same result: I completely understood what was going on. Utterly masterful work.
I wasn’t expecting much from in writing department but it actually wasn’t that bad. Tor has been exiled from his clan and from the opening pages it seems as if he’s been washed ashore on some foreign place. From there, he gathers his wits and travels the land until he runs into trouble. As I said, there’s no dialogue in this book whatsoever – it’s all narrative that adds to the story. You can go through the book without reading any of it, but if you did you’d miss out on some of the backstory and thoughts going through Tor’s mind.
I thought Joe Kubert had all but retired, so I really can’t convey how exciting it is to have a book like this in my hands. It’s not the prettiest book I’ve seen, nor is it the best story I’ve read, but it is a classic comic in every sense of the word. It’s a gift that we as a comic culture should be thankful for. Once these pioneers are gone, we’ll be wishing they did more in their twilight years. Thankfully, Kubert will not go quietly into that good night. Now, if we could just get John Romita to do a mini-series… (Grade: A-)
– J. Montes