There’s an absolutely great review of this comic by John Parker in here: link. So if you’re looking for some background information on the Prophet v.1, go there. It’s very thorough, and I’m in complete agreement with every single word posted unto that page. But I loved the book, too, and wanted to write something nice about it. So, I did. Just a bit differently:
This comic is about eating. Yes, that is the activity which takes most of John Prophet’s time. I know, I double-checked and made complex mathematical equations to make sure. He is chewing in every other panel! And American comics’ heroes don’t eat that much – Spider-man gets some pancakes, Batgirl likes waffles and Bullock loves donuts. Maybe you can also add everyone who occasionally visits restaurants to feed us with plot exposition. Eating, I guess, can be boring or treated as such, though I strangely associate it only positively. Heroes in manga usually eat quite a bit, European Obelix devours tones of food. It’s fun, and characters can munch and nom-nom in slow moments of cool down between action.
I dived blind into this comic, knowing Brandon Graham from wacky King City, and seeing all the beautiful previews, I knew this is my type of a book. It’s science-fiction like only comics can provide, full of strange creatures, cool concepts and with a briskly-paced epic plot. It doesn’t mind violence too, but treats it much like food – just something that happens by the way, in the process of living. Some six-legged, four-lipped, tail-sporting monster might want to make a dinner out of you. So, it’s only reasonable to do a reverse and consume the creature in response.
I believe Prophet is raw. There’s no corporate editor over Graham’s head to tell him to stop writing these panels filled with items and their descriptions. He loved doing it in King City, he does it here again. It’s fun, it adds to the mythos of the world. Japanese artists do this often, modern American artists tend to avoid it. And these items aren’t all used in the stories. Some are there just, because they make sense to have, and Graham clearly takes great pleasure in naming them. Maybe they’ll be of use in the future? Nobody knows, because this is one of those unrestricted-creativity deals, made on the fly. After all, we’re traveling into the unknown.
Prophet is also delicious, because reading it is such an enjoyable experience. It was drawn and conceived by many artists, yet everyone in the team is extremely capable and gave us a very refined product. Each story has a certain personality. They are like dishes in a good restaurant, all tasty and prepared with care. They are different, yet the high quality connects them all together. The dressing is so incredibly nice that it makes your brain sing in excitement. Simon Roy’s pencils represent American indies, Farel Darymple’s style evokes American classics of the 70s, Graham’s drawings remind of late Moebius, and Giannis Milonogiannis seems to be inspired by Katsuhiro Otomo. It’s an explosive all-star combination. And let’s not forget about the coloring! It’s different in every story, but oh, so evocative, even when it drowns in browns, or reds and blues.
The ideas in Prophet are also treated like food. You shouldn’t be wasting them and leaving them to rot, you must actively consume them, and then get more! This comic would die without its wealth of ideas, and its creators’ vast imaginations. It thrives under the surprisingly well-thought-out plot. There’s something new around every corner, but, at the same time, it all clearly builds toward a grander overarching narrative. There’s no ideas’ chaos like in King City. Or rather, the chaos is carefully controlled, here. In result, Prophet is strangely orderly for a multi-planet epic space opera heading for a galactic war.
I wrote in the beginning that reviewers rarely discuss the food aspect of Prophet enough, but I was surprised how Emma Rios got it from the go. She wrote and drawn a little back story at the end of this volume – it presents a violent fight with a giant spider-like monster. It’s visually spectacular and intense, and ends on John being awarded with a big pile of eggs, which he then proceeds to consume. This is a perfect note on which to end the volume.
All in all, even if you don’t like eating, you should buy this book. Prophet is an ideal illustration for explaining why people still read comics. It is fun, quirky, imaginative, beautiful, quick, surprising and astonishing. It isn’t intellectually stimulating – not because of the themes, it discusses, but because it is a visual feast of strangeness. I hope Prophet will be able to continue until the authors feel they created a complete experience. Don’t get canceled, or abandoned! In the words of immortal Maurice Sendak, “Oh, please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!”