Created by Paul Gori and Kevin Cuffe, Oathbound takes place primarily in the year 1888. However, it is not the world we know. From the first panel of the first page, this world sets itself apart from “reality,” with a beautiful shot of a jackalope, better known as a rabbit with antlers. It’s a gorgeous little panel and a perfect introduction to the world. Desert and cacti against a warm sunset make the book feel extremely Western, but the jackalope serves as a prime example of what this book is aiming for.
Writer Kevin Cuffe and Co-writer/artist Paul Gori are clearly having a lot of fun here with this first issue. Diving not only headfirst into this weird world, but also their characters, makes this book feel, unlike most books. There is obviously a lot of mythology and lore to the different races of creatures, but that’s not what the story is about. Despite its comedic tone and more animated look, Oathbound has a lot of heart, boiling down into a story about a young woman and her father, his struggle to protect her, and her desire to explore her heritage. Somehow a love letter to both Dungeons and Dragons and spaghetti westerns, Cuffe and Gori have crafted a unique world and characters to fill it in.
Gori’s art is reason in and of itself to pick up this first issue. Fun, simple, and filled to the brim with a loving attention to settings and details, Gori makes this book look unlike anything else currently on the shelf. It reminds me somewhat of Tess Fowler, from Rat Queens, but with more energy and an even better eye for perspective.
Colorist Hedwin Zaldivar, along with color flatter Paula Goulart, bring a lot to the book, in that their colors make every page pop. Occasionally, there seems to be too much going on with the lighting, being somewhat distracting, but the contrast of western warms and colder colors lend themselves well to the tone. Being so bright accentuates just how much fun this first issue is. The warmer colors feel right at home in this Old West setting, but their clashing with the occasional cold blue somehow makes the genre mash-up work even better.
Oathbound #1, is as ridiculous as it is fun, and is published by Loophole Comics. The first issue is now available now on their website https://www.oathboundcomic.com/ .