My local shop had a couple back issues laying about and this caught my eye. I’ve heard it’s a neat series, and being told that it was full of stand-alone issues I was definitely curious. So I grabbed it. It’s hard to pin this one into a genre, but it sure has some creepy undertones. Anyway, here’s my take.
Hopscotch Melange Part 1: A Western Story
The cover features a skull, with a cowboy of sorts hanging from the eye-socket. Our titular character is sitting in the jaw, having moved a tooth out-of-the-way and is pointing and laughing at the cowboy. It’s eye-catching and unsettling. Sort of a perfect fit for the book itself.
Drawn by Martin Morazzo and coloured by Chris O’Halloran. The book is really well drawn, with the landscapes being detailed and breathtaking. Much of it takes place in a desert/badlands type area, and the baked ground looks really good. The hard-baked red ground truly adds to the setting – it takes place in a hard world. The characters are also well detailed, and Caleb, Rick, and the Old man all have a distinctive feel. The Old man feels warm and caring, Caleb stern and hardened, and Rick feels dangerous and evil. All of these characters seem to wear these traits on their faces and in their body language. The colouring of them just adds to the art and brings it all together.
Ice Cream Man is written by W Maxwell Prince. It is a very unique book, as each issue is unconnected in narrative from the others, only connected through the presence of the Ice Cream Man himself. I like this, as it makes it very accessible for new readers, allowing you to just dive in and not have to know what had happened previously.
This issue begins with Caleb and his dog travelling through a canyon, when they encounter a spider creature of some sort. The two of them kill it, and Caleb remarks that it’s the biggest they’ve seen yet.
Next they visit the Old Man, and are soon joined by Rick – The Ice Cream Man. The Old Man advises them that the world they are in is nearing its’ end, and that he was giving them the rules for the next one. It’s clear that they all care for each other in some way, and also clear that Rick is not a force for good.
This was a really fun read, and I enjoyed being able to dive in with no previous background with the series. If you’re looking for a new book that’s outside your normal, this is a great place to go. I would even recommend just picking up one issue, this is a series where you will not regret it!