Released this month is the book version of one of my favorite e-comics, Copper. Written by Kazu Kibuishi, Copper is the story of Copper and his faithful dog Fred. I first stumbled upon Copper in the anthology Flight, a book that features several artists writing and drawing comics around the concept of “flight.” There are now six volumes available in the Flight series and Kibuishi is not only a featured artist but the editor of the series as well.
I think of Copper as the 21st century Calvin and Hobbs, Wallace and Gromit, or Peanuts and if you like any of the aforementioned comics you will love Copper. The adventurous Copper and his worry wort sidekick, Fred, enjoy activities that range from dancing with robots, mountain climbing, surfing and, of course, flying. One of my favorite pages is a hike in which both quietly comment about the beauty of a bug and a waterfall. Another is the story of their preparations for their “Maiden Flight,” a fantastical flying adventure that needs a quick stop at “Plane Mart” for parts and a set of parachutes.
Although Copper is the title character, Fred, like all canine sidekicks, is the heart of the story. Basically Fred is drawn as two balls, one for the head, another for the body all atop of four cylinders for legs. It is Fred’s big sleepy eyes and giant uni-eyebrow that Kibuishi uses as a tool to bring humor, sarcasm, friendship, drama, pathos and love to these stories. You can also find Copper and information on Kibuishi’s other books (Amulet 1, 2 and 3, Flight volumes 1 – 6 and Daisy Kutter) on Kibuishi’s website, Bolt City. But I advise that you buy the book. Each story is not only beautifully rendered, but the lovely colors are a feast for the eyes. Plus in the back of the book Kibuishi explains in details how he draws his comics, scans them into Photoshop, and prepares the pages for download onto the internet. I always appreciate when an artist shares his/her techniques and insights to the creative process.