Below Sycamore #1 Comic Review

In 2019, writers D.A. Medina and 3858 teamed up to create a play about demonic figures walking the earth and the cyclical nature of addiction. After the success of their their theatrical debut, Medina and 3858 recruited artist Fernando Kern and designer Zueoner to help them develop the play into a comic series. Soon, Below Sycamore attracted the attention of actor Danny Trejo and rapper Mr. Criminal, whose likenesses are featured prominently throughout the series. Below Sycamore #1 is an intriguing first issue that sets the stage for an exciting, poingant series.

Bellow Sycamore #1 follows two young men, Chucho and JD as they struggle to find their way in the world. The two friends are altar boys at their local church, but JD also works for a fearsome drug dealer, known as Grumpy. He does his best to find a balance between these two elements of his life, but as his situation becomes increasingly dangerous, it looks like he will have to make a difficult decision. As JD tries to navigate his perilous path, the two young men are followed by supernatural creatures who are hellbent on protecting them.

creatures watch chucho

Medina and 3858 introduce a wide variety of characters in this first issue. While Chucho and JD steal the show, the writers introduce the audience to priests, gangsters, addicts in recovery and corrupt police. This inclusive and expansive view of the neighborhood helps make Chucho's world feel lived in while laying the foundation for an intricate plot. The otherworldly elements of Below Sycamore #1 add a sense of mystery to the proceedings and contrast with the numerous Christian themes and images to build tension. Medina and 3858 include various opposing forces -- all revolving around drugs and addiction to present an empathetic and exciting exploration of the topic.

Kern's artwork helps Medina establish a fast pace bouncing between various characters without leaving the reader behind. His character designs are naturalistic but cartoony enough to be distinctive. His subtle, almost mundane costume designs make the supernatural characters stand out and appear particularly out of place against the otherwise normal background. Kern uses this sort of contrast masterfully throughout Below Sycamore #1. JD's body language changes drastically from when he is at church to when he is on the street. Similarly, scenes of violence are fast brutal interruptions of the otherwise calm, steady pace of the story.

danny trejo and a minotaur in below sycamore

There's nothing particularly subtle about Below Sycamore #1. The comic definitely wears its heart on its sleeve, but Medina, 3858 and Kern work together to create a really compelling first issue. Their characters feel like normal, everyday people which makes the frightening situations they find themselves in all the more emotionally intense. Readers looking for solid crime fiction with a paranormal twist or a thoughtful exploration of addiction's impact on communities will be delighted by the first issue of Below Sycamore.

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