Changers Book 1

By Ezra Claytan Daniels
96 pages, black and white
Published by Dream Chocolate

One of the things I love the most about comic book publishing is the wild diversity. I’m not talking just about content, but presentation. Once you get away from most of the books published by the “big” publishers, you end up with a wide array of shapes, sizes, and even paper stock. Take, for instance, The Changers. Printed in digest format using green ink and looking like a training manual, its look alone will stay with you.

Geaza and Bisso have traveled backwards in time from the very far future to try and jump start mankind’s evolution. All they have to do is exist in our near future and a chemical coming off of their bodies will eventually do the deed for them. Their mission seems to be going well with blending into society, but all of that is about to change when someone else from the future arrives… and Geaza and Bisso have to rethink their mission.

Ezra Claytan Daniels’s story in The Changers is a classic science-fiction theme, but one that does a great job of mixing in the every day themes of fitting in with the people around you. Ironically, it’s the latter that I enjoyed a lot more; watching Geaza and Bisso try and fit in and do things with their neighbors was what held my attention the most. On a clinical level, the arrival of the person from the future should have sucked me in the most, because in describing the book to others it’s what sounds the most interesting to me. I think the problem is that once The Changers focuses on that part of the book, it loses a lot of the nice character touches that made the book so interesting. Daniels did such a good job with moving these characters through our world that pushing that part into the back burner does The Changers a disservice.

Printed in green ink on gray paper, The Changers is certainly a visually distinctive book. At times, though, it almost seemed to work against it. Looking just at Daniels’s lines of his drawings is a really attractive end result; he does a great job of drawing people and their surroundings, in a controlled sort of squiggly way. The problem is when we get too much green on the page, it all starts blending together. It also didn’t help that Daniels has given Geaza and Bisso an almost photo-negative appearance; it wasn’t until almost halfway through the book that I realized that they were actually supposed to be dark-skinned and it wasn’t just a visual trick to point out to the reader that the two were “different”. (Especially since in one of the historical interludes, other people with black skin are depicted as much lighter than Geaza or Bisso.)

In the end, The Changers Book 1 is a memorable book, if not always for the reasons the creator intended. It’s got some rough spots to work out, but its presentation and concepts are almost good enough to help the reader overlook those entirely. I’m definitely curious to see how Daniels will conclude The Changers, and with any luck, we’ll end up with a slightly stronger finish. If you’re interested in The Changers, you can order a copy directly from Dream Chocolate.

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