“Metalshark Bro”: Keeping Shark Week Alive
Metalshark Bro Vol. 1
Writers: Bob Frantz & Kevin Cuffe
Artist: Walter Ostlie
Letterer: Chas Pangburn
Publisher: Scout Comics
With shark week over, I find the timing more than suiting to talk about what has become one of my favorite reads of 2019, “Metalshark Bro.” The first of Scout’s “Binge” line set a high standard for all other creators wanting to join this format. The idea behind the “Binge” line is releasing an initial issue one to spark interest, then releasing the rest of the story in a TPB form, thus giving the reader the ability to binge read the entire arc/story.
With a title like “Metalshark Bro,” one would probably expect a ridiculous, laugh-filled, brutal adventure type of story. That is exactly what this team delivered. When a band sells their souls to Satan to be a kick-ass metal band but lose a band member overboard the party yacht celebration just to get eaten by a shark before their first gig, a debt is still owed. That debt just so happens to fall on the very ordinary shark that prevented the deal from going through. The one to collect on such a debt happens to be the nephew of Satan, Beezelbra. Beezlebra curses the shark to become Metalshark Bro, the half-bro, half-shark, to serve him by checking off ‘Bra’s list of souls to collect. Throughout his journey to relieve himself of this curse so that he can just be a regular shark again, Metalshark Bro faces all types of obstacles, including, but not limited to satanic goat wizards, inter-dimensional ghost dragons, ninja nuns of the church, and so much more. He even makes a pretty awesome friend named Ira, a floating eyeball with tentacles that does an amazing job of setting up the constant humor that’s saturated within these pages. Normally I would have no problem dropping spoilers, but I truly believe this is a story everyone should experience for themselves.
It’s obvious that Frantz and Cuffe are two guys that can draw the attention of a room and then create a line for the bathroom with their humor based the constant delivery of hilarious one liners within this title. Their humor is by no means limited to scripting comics. I can say that from experience after getting the opportunity to have a chat with them after reading “Metalshark Bro” for the third time. The abundance of jokes and easter eggs scoured throughout this story give this book absolute re-readability. After multiple reads, I still find new things to laugh at. Beyond just bringing on the funny, this book also has its buddy-cop type of friendship development along the way. I cannot wait to see what else comes from the crazy and brilliant minds of these rookie creators.
With a title like “Metalshark Bro,” the fist questions I needed to have answered were about the art. I could not be more pleased with what Ostlie came up with. His style is perfect for this type of story, and that being fun and somehow lightheartedly dark. The endless possibilities for character designs for Metalshark Bro could have led to a disaster that could have ruined this story by being overly cheesy or serious. Walter concocted the perfect formula for a character containing “metal”, “shark”, and “bro.” With the help of Walter Ostlie’s unique art style, this title should rock comic book shelves as this story progresses.
Bob, Kevin and Walter have all come together to deliver a concept I feel was contrived solely for me. This is the perfect story for a metal loving comedy junkie like myself, but by no means am I the only audience that would enjoy such a story, despite what my ego wants me to believe. This is the perfect example of why independent comics are under appreciated and undervalued to the mainstream audience of readers. Although this book went as quickly as it came, there are still hopes for a volume two (“Island of Mistfit Bros”) in the near future, which is actually being campaigned on Kickstarter at this very moment. If you’re looking for something fresh and unique that also has the ability to make you want to pick it up more than just once, “Metalshark Bro” is that story.