Title: Croquis Pop Vol 1
Story: KwangHyun Seo
Art: JinHo Ko
Publisher: Yen Press
May Contain Spoilers
Da-Il is the new assistant to a famous comic creator, but he’s in a little over his head. He doesn’t know the first thing about creating comics, and he doesn’t seem to have any artistic abilities at all. When his awkward scribbles come to life one day, things get kind of scary. They attack him, and Mu-Huk, a ghost, saves him from being pulverized. Da-Il learns that he is a “Croquer” and that he has the power to draw emotions, which then take shape and come to life. Good thing he has Mu-Huk to save him from his own creations!
This is a weird action adventure tale. When Da-Il was a small boy, his greatest happiness in life was drawing his mother’s wishes for her. When she died, he lost whatever talent he had. Now that he’s a senior in high school, he’s taken a job with Ho Go, a popular artist who is finally riding on a wave of success. Ho Go’s head assistant isn’t very happy to be shackled with a total newbie like Da-Il, but he doesn’t have any other choice but to start training his new co-worker, all while trying to keep him away from pretty Hang-Chu, the other art assistant.
Events during the real world sequences are rather bland comedic episodes where Ho-Suk Yang, the lead assistant, suffers from feelings of inferiority due to the arrival of Da-Il. Ho-Suk is pompous and petty, and I’m so glad that he’s not the main character, because when I started reading the book, I thought he was. Then the clueless, likeable Da-Il wandered back into the chapter and I actually wanted to learn a little bit more about him.
This introductory volume explains about the Croquers and their control over emotions. When they draw intense feelings, those feelings can turn into grudges, opening a dead zone where Da-Il and Mu-Huk have to battle with Da-Il’s creations. Because of the strength of the feelings, they are leaking into the real world and providing inspiration for Ho Go’s new comicbook. It’s kind of cool that Da-Il is influencing his employer’s imagination and is now the star of his new series. Some of the other elements of the story aren’t quite as interesting. The whole setup for the Croquers was really awkward, and instead of the letting the story flow around the details, the explanations drove the story. This bogged down the action, leading to some dull fight scenes. Hopefully, future volumes will be more interesting now that the foundation for the series has been presented.
The art didn’t blow me away, but it is easy to follow the activity taking place. The character designs are a little on the cartoony side, and are rather generic. Perspectives can be odd, giving some the characters weird, oversized heads. Mu-Huk also resembles the Statue of Liberty a little too closely, and all of those spikes of hair haloing his head are distracting, and not in a good way. The splash of color pages that are included in the middle of the book were a treat, and are always appreciated when publishers include little extra touches like that.
Croquis Pop didn’t leave a deep impression on me, but it piqued my interest enough to follow Da-Il for a few more trips to the dead zone. The mix of art and magic is intriguing, and I wonder where these abilities will take the young hero.