Rating: 5/5 – An Emotional and Authentic Story of Comic Book Retailing.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
There’s a lot of heart to Number One as it tells the story of a comic shop owner that has a deep love for the industry and puts his all into maintaining and running the a comic book store. Written by Gary Scott Beatty and drawn by Aaron Warner, Number One is funny, touching and feels real. Although Beatty used real comic book store owners as inspiration, it isn’t a true story, although for most of the issue it more than feels that way. The story feels so authentic that right up until the end you’re expecting to see a “based on the true story of…” tagline. The highs and lows of being a comic store owner are all laid out in this thirty-two page one-shot that follows the main character, Steve.
We meet Steve at a young age and see just how his love for superheroes begins, we see him struggle during the 70s and DC’s “implosion”, the success that the Death of Superman brought not only to his store, but to owners across America, and the crushing blow to the industry when the speculator market crashed. Over thirty years of comic book retailing and the affects it had on Steve’s life are all laid out over the course of this issue, and you’ll be entertained every step of the way. Although the ending loses a bit of the believability that the majority of the issue did so exceptionally well, it’s an uplifting ending that leaves the reader feeling good.
The art by Aaron Warner is cartoony, and is perfect fit for the story. Warner’s style is stretched as Steve is drawn as a young boy to a middle aged man and lots of ages in between, but you never question who he is on page. Steve’s look stays consistent throughout, and Warner gives him a wide range of emotions that add to the reader’s empathy for not only Steve, but his wife as well. There’s some fantastic scenes between Steve and his wife that are both funny and heartbreaking, due in large part to Warner’s ability to show a wide range of emotions.
Number One does a great job of not only telling a compelling story of an individual’s life, but also provides a unique look at the history of comics and comic retailing over the past thirty-plus years. There’s so much to like within this single issue, and it really has a perfect synergy between story and art style. Beatty has told an emotional and personal story that will make you believe it’s true, while Warner’s art adds to that emotion, while also giving the reader that “comic book” feel. This is highly recommended and should not be missed.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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