**** BUZZ! by Ananth Panagariya, Tess Stone

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Webster is a bundle of nerves headed into his first day of high school, but whatever academic and social horrors he feared are nothing compared to what’s in store for him as he stumbles into an unsanctioned, street-level spelling bee! And this ain’t no staged production, either – letters fly like jump kicks and the losers leave bruised and beaten more often than not! Soon he’s propelled into the fast-paced world of competitive spelling by the mysterious Outlaw King and his cohort the Black Queen. Does Webster have what it takes to get the spelling world buzzing? Find out in this word-based battle royale from web-sensations Ananth Panagariya (Johnny Wander) and Tessa Stone (Hanna is Not a Boy’s Name)!

I understand that this is a strange thing to say unless you are very much into comic books or a comic book artist yourself, but if I had to rank every comic artist that I know and the criterial for the ranking was the integration of onomatopeas in their art, Tess Stone would be at the top. (Don’t worry, I totally told him that once at a comic festival and he did not look at me like I was crazy.) Also his panel layout work is top-notch.

Buzz is a comic book that could not exist unless the artist was that good at the integration of typography into their panels. Why? Because Buzz is about Spelling Bees fights in which the words and letters take on physical shape and smash into your opponent. Wild, right? It’s a fantastic concept that could only work in a comic book, or a good anime. (And I’ve seen it done in the manga Tsubasa, and let me tell you it rendered a lot better in the manga than in the anime, but maybe that was because the anime itself wasn’t very good.)

Buzz is also a duotone comic, which is to say a comic that uses only two colors: Black and Yellow. As some readers of this blog might know, my own webcomic is done in duotone, and it’s hard to do well! I’d say it’s probably much harder than slapping a full palette of colours on there, because you have to really think about each time you use your secondary colour, why you’re using it, and the stylistic effect you want to achieve.

The comic is written by Ananth Panagariya, another great of the indie comic industry. You can absolutely recognize his humour and heart in this strange fun narrative. Buzz is a fantastic little comic, with a great concept, a good fun story, endearing characters, and like previously mentionned, incredibly dynamic art. You won’t regret picking it up.

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