I didn’t know much about the character of Forager before picking up Bug! The Adventures of Forager. I mean, I had a cursory, wiki-knowledge of him as a New God, but other than that I hadn’t a clue. Honestly, I wasn’t even going to pick this book up, but then I noticed that this was an almost entirely Allred-created book, and I couldn’t resist.
I’m glad I gave in because this book turned out to be way too fucking fun to be ignored.
First, the art is just gorgeous, as one expects from a Mike Allred/Laura Allred book. Mike’s vintage-flavored style is one of the best in the comics, giving each book he works on an automatic sense of joy and hope. This one mixes those tones with a trippy vibe that matches the story, and it’s just wonderful. Laura gives Mike’s heavy inks and iconic characters depth, makes the house he’s trapped in seem like a supernatural place, and injects this warm feeling of pop-art into every panel.
I’m in love with how beautiful Forager is rendered here, the reds and yellows and whites of his suit popping off the page. It’s even more fun once characters like the Sandman show up, contrasting the grave nature of the first page. There’s a real power in these images.
The story and dialogue are credited to Mike and Lee Allred, and again we see Mike’s Madman-esque skills of observing and commenting on perceived reality in the midst of bizarre actions. It’s a real treat having the focal point of this story be an unassuming protagonist like Bug, and by god is the dialogue in this book wonderful: it’s snappy and clever, and the wordplay is to die for.
And using a set of characters that reaches WAY back into the DC Vertigo toybox is a real treat: this Hector Hall version of Sandman, along with goons Brute and Glob, first appeared way back when in Neil Gaiman’s seminal Sandman run, and they’re brought back here with a purpose. I was thrilled to see them fleshed out here, and ever ready for some spoken-word fun.
This is a book for unabashed fun, a book for people who want a Jack Kirby story filtered through some Allred trippiness. It’s weird, matching the tone set in DC’s Young Animal imprint, but it reaches out to longtime readers with a warm nostalgic hug. It's thoughtful without being condescending. Also? Actions with accompanying words.