Robot 6

Why you should be reading ‘Lookouts’

lookout-cvr

Penny Arcade creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik had a great idea when they came up with Lookouts. If youth scouting existed in fantasy worlds, earning badges would be a lot more dangerous than just making fires and spotting raccoon tracks. It’s a clever concept that includes an ensemble cast of diverse characters and an endless supply of situations in which our heroes can find themselves. Getting Ben McCool to join the writing team is also a good thing. But the reason I most look forward to a new issue of Lookouts is the art by Robb Mommaerts and colorist Rainer Petter.

Mommaerts does several things exceedingly well, and he (and Lookouts as a whole) deserve to be talked about more than they are. First are the creature designs. Lookouts puts more thought into creatures than just sticking in a dragon or unicorn every once in a while, and even when the monsters are familiar, their looks are new and refreshing. Take, for instance, the sphinx that serves as the antagonist for most of the first story.

lookout-sphinx

Even a mundane snake becomes wonderful in Mommaerts’ hands.

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 Not that the creators limit themselves to existing mythology. They don’t mind making up some stuff too, like this Devil Ape.

lookout-ape

Most of the creatures appear in the story, but Lookouts also treats its readers to pages from the Lookouts Handbook, offering a deeper look at the world and more designs by Mommaerts. He even colors these himself. Check out his vampires.

lookout-vamps

Another great thing about Mommaerts’ work is the way he draws the human characters. I love a clean line that can communicate a lot of emotion in a really simple way. There are about eight lines in this kid’s face, but that’s all I need to know that he’s terrified.

lookout-fear

And this panel breaks my heart with how pained the character is. It would’ve been easy just to make him look pissed, but Mommaerts gives him shock and disbelief to go with his anger.

lookout-heartbreak

And then there’s the world-building. Whether the story is set in the dark woods or a village, Mommaerts brings the place to life with tons of detail. Take this full-page establishing shot:

lookout-village

In one of our What Are You Reading columns a couple of months ago, MTV Splash Page editor Josh Wigler described Lookouts as the first comic since Bone that he could recommend to pretty much anyone. That’s a great, appropriate comparison. Lookouts deserves to be mentioned in the same conversations as Bone and Mouse Guard and Mommaerts is a huge part of why that is.

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Comments

3 Comments

I love this series. It’s been described as “The Goonies meet the Hobbit,” and it has that all ages appeal that I can read to my 6 year old daughter in-between issues of “My Little Pony” and “Adventures of Superhero Girl.” The world building excerpts about how to earn badges makes me want to dust off that old D&D game. Most importantly, it’s entertaining, has enjoyable characters, and I can’t wait for the next issue.

Zidders Roofurry

March 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I gotta admit that while I’m not always a fan of Mike & Jerry, they’re decent enough guys and they create some of the most AMAZING stuff. It’s like they take everything that pisses them off and excites them and channel it into stuff like Lookouts and Childsplay. I really wish I could afford to pick up this series.

Agreed that this appeals to a younger audience. I’m loving this book and am anxiously awaiting the print copy of issue six. Believe that the digital format is available on Comixology. Tempted to purchase. Anyway…you can read my totally unprofessional review of issue one here > http://geeksushi.com/?p=353

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