Published on May 24th, 2016 | by Kevin Given
Review: Sakura and the Spider
I met Melissa Erwin at Pittsburgh Comicon where she was promoting her Graphic novel Sakura and the Spider. I was intrigued and brought the copy right away. I got her business card and shortly thereafter hired her to work on Files of Karl Vincent #2. I would like to review the story here.
Melissa has crafted an excellent tale which she refers to as The Sopranos V Yojimbo. She successfully takes us back to Feudal Japan and we’re introduced to the Amaya clan headed by matriarch Nozomi who keeps her family in line through her chief investigator. Their main rival is the Yokokowa clan. The story is quite graphic and not for the squeamish as both clans seek supremacy over the other.
Melissa not only wrote the story but she drew it as well. And here is where we find the true substance to this incredible graphic novel. There are no panels on her pages whatsoever. At first I thought that it would make the title difficult to read. But it had the opposite effect as her abstract style drew me into this universe and didn’t let me go as one beautifully rendered picture flowed seamlessly into the next. She is one of the most brilliant comic book creators I have ever seen. Her work rivals Frank Miller and Alan Moore in its excellence.
Since she’s doing a Japanese title her work reminds you of anime but is clearly not imitative of any particular artist in the genre. It is Melissa’s own.
The clans reach a bloody apex with this title. What will the decisions that both sides made lead to? Will there ever be peace between the clans? Have both sides gone too far and can they humble themselves to find a truce?
There is a second graphic novel and I can’t wait to pick it up and review that as well.