JON SABLE, FREELANCE OMNIBUS VOL. 1 (IDW, 2010; Softcover)
Collects Jon Sable, Freelance #1-16 (cover dates June, 1983- September, 1984)
Writer and Artist: Mike Grell
I stumbled upon this book in a half off bin. I had never even heard of this title but love Mike Grell's work and scooped it up with nary a second thought. This may seem unremarkable to fans used to modern comic books, but when you read it in context of the era that it was originally published in you will see how far ahead of it's time it was. This was published by First Comics, so it was free of the constraints of the Comics Code Authority. An openly gay supporting cast member, over the top violence, sexual innuendo, and even some minor drug use are all on display. Comics supposedly “grew up” with Watchmen, but this predates that title.
Another interesting thing about this is how it is narrative free, something not common in mainstream American comics of the day but is now par for the course. Grell's fast paced action sequences are fantastic. These comics hold up really well three decades later, as these things are all common in today's mainstream comic books. I enjoyed the story where Sable rescues the secret formula for Coca-Cola. I have Volume 2 in queue and hope to read it someday.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.
The OCD zone- I enjoy the Omnibus format pioneered by Dark Horse. It is smaller than a standard trade paperback and easy to handle, yet it's not so small that it detracts from the enjoyment of the artwork or makes the words so small that you need a magnifying glass. The only complaint that I have about this book is that all 16 covers are shrunk down to fit on one page. That type of thing drives me batshit crazy. Your mileage may vary.
Linework and Color restoration: The linework is fine. While the color palette matches the original issues, the computer recoloring is a bit on the sloppy side, with airbrush gradient blends where there were none in the original comics. You have to look close to see them but the trained eye can spot them.
Paper stock: Thick glossy coated stock.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Decent thickness waxlike lamination.