The Few and Cursed Vol 1: a kickstarted American Western postapocalyptic masterpiece

Written by: Felipe Cagno, Illustrations by: Fabiano Neves, Colours by: Dinei Ribeiro and Ivan Nunes, Letters by: Deyvison Manes.

The Few and Cursed is set during a dystopian post-apocalyptic America, where the seas have dried up and water has become a limited resource. Supernatural events are now seen as the norm: big snakes, magical beings, and curses. Towns and cities never left the “Old West” look. Saloons are filled with whiskey drinkers and prostitutes, and fights are always a coin's throw away. Out searching the country, a redheaded lady walks into a bar looking for work; she is a gunslinger and a curse chaser. She hears rumours of large, man-like crows that are snatching children...this sounds like her kind of work.

As anyone who follows my reviews will know, I’ve only just started to get into the crowdfunded comics. This series wasn’t my first pledge, and I can guarantee after reading it, it won’t be my last (more on that later though). As I've said before though, I do want to stress that as I did pledge towards this comic, I may have a bias, but I will always try to be as neutral as possible when reviewing.

Before I get into it, there is a humbling intro in this book, describing the list of failures that happened while trying to get this book to print. The team went to multiple publishers and eventually tried their luck on a crowdfunding platform in Brazil (where Filipe Cagno is from). They had some success there and so dipped their toe into Kickstarter, where they managed 100 backers and over 60% of their goal in the first day. This then led to the book that I’m currently waiting to be delivered.

I have to say that when it comes to Kickstarter, I may have had some prejudice about crowdfunded books and their quality. This has been completely dispelled by The Few and Cursed. The page above is the very first page of the book. It represents something that I saw throughout the book, which is that the art is truly exceptional. I’ve seen art that’s not as good as this in some of the Big Two books. This showed me how wrong I was, that there’s clearly a wealth of quality on these crowdfunded sites.

As I’ve stated in previous reviews, I am a big fan of more “polished” looking artwork. One of my favourite artists would be John Cassaday and the way he draws people is exquisite. I see a lot of resemblance in the artwork here. Fabiano Neves’ illustrations are so clean and well rounded that they really ground the book in reality, despite it being a dystopian society where the supernatural is standard. Add to that the beautiful colours by Dinei Ribeiro and Ivan Nunes, which are just colourful enough to keep the book bright, but yet also are muted to show the book is based on the western genre.

When it comes to the writing, mostly it’s very good. After doing some research, I know that the protagonist made her first appearance in 321: Fast Comics Vol 1. So as I haven’t read her first appearance or the collection of short stories from the universe, this could be a reason for my issues with the writing. This is Vol 1 of The Few and Cursed collection, so considering that, I do feel that I would have benefitted from knowing more about this world, and what happened before. In this respect, the plot just progresses very quickly, this is very strange as a normal trade would have 5 issues, yet this is made up of 6. With that said, Felipe Cagno does a fantastic job of introducing the characters; he mixes issues with present and past, meaning we get great character development from their past while we also further the main story in the present. Some other creators do this and I find myself wanting more from one than the other, but Felipe manages to keep both timelines creative and interesting, so we never want to jump back to the other timeline.

Something else that’s done remarkably well is the mysticism of the main character. Known only as "Red," her powers and history are mostly unknown. What we get is progression through the story to find out the kind of person she is, and the morals that she holds dear. We know that she’s mostly a good person (I say mostly as she doesn’t want to be called a hero). This just shows that she is, as she’s not doing good deeds for recognition, and those of us who know our weaknesses are the strongest for that. She carries around this cryptic nature throughout the book which reminds me a lot of director Sergio Leone's famous “Man With No Name” character, played by Clint Eastwood. This is just another reason why I loved the series, with references to classic Leone "Spaghetti Western" films such as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, where I could see the character of Red fitting in very nicely, in the harsh terrain of the wilderness.

Overall I loved this book. As I said earlier that this wouldn’t be my last pledge, and just recently I pledged towards another book in The Few and The Cursed series, called Heart Shaped Ambition. I loved the idea and the book so much that I will follow along with this series as it continues to grow.

The Few and The Cursed Volume 1 – Crows of Mana’Olana is published by Timberwolf Entertainment. You can pick up a copy here or if you like the idea, join the latest Kickstarter for Heart Shaped Ambition

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