The Adventures of Byron is a new all-ages one-shot from Scout Comics, who has recently been rolling out interested and diverse content with their slate. Now, with this new concept from writer/artist Chris Hamer, co-writer Quenton Brodnak, and colorist Noel Saabye that evokes classic Nicktoons, can the company continue to deliver great comic after great comic?
The Adventures of Byron has the potential to be a funny comic that recreates the energetic and light-but-grimy feel of the Nicktoons that many of its readers may have grown up reading. The concept and the art evokes Rocko's Modern Life in significant ways, and with care and attention applied to this title, it already has everything it needs to be an inventive all-ages comic. Two significant things are holding it back, though, which are distracting from the start: the lettering and the lack of editing. Both of those problems, together, create an issue that is hard to ignore, as the lettering is rife with typos, substantial blank spaces left within the dialogue balloons, dialogue divided between two balloons mid-sentence at random, weird balloon shapes that strain to fit in long sentences, and even smaller text sizes and different fonts used to cram in text. Any one of these issues is something a professional letterer would have fixed, which is highlighted by the fact that there is no letterer listed in the credits. It completely distracts from the story, as it feels as if the reader is going through a rough pitch rather than the completed, edited comic.
The story itself is fine, as the trio of main characters spend the entire issue coming up with funny ideas for a comic to create. The concept didn't need the 30-pages it takes up and would have been funnier and punchier if a third was cut off, but the cutaway sequences to the comics the characters think up are fun and creative. A trim and punch up of the dialogue in editing could have made these scenes funnier, but all-in-all, it has the foundation of a good all-ages comic.
Chris Hamer's artwork and Noel Saabye's coloring completely save this comic. The two of them have created memorable characters and tell the story with a visual flair reminiscent of the edgier Nicktoons. As is, The Adventures of Byron has the potential to be a great read because of Hamer's artwork. With a professional letterer, a role that has gone under-appreciated much to the disservice of the indie comics such a person could save, and a stern editor, this could be an all-ages comic that parents would enjoy reading with their kids.