But I’m sure as heck glad it has it:
James Stokoe is a creator I’ve known I vibe with but have not paid nearly enough attention to. This despite the fact that Stokoe’s artwork is so detailed, colorful, and animated that it could carry a 32-page story with no words if asked to. While dilly-dallying on finalizing this review, I frequently sat with Sobek and a) marveled at the level of detail packed into each page and then b) complained to myself about how it’s so unfair that Stokoe’s art can be both this detailed and this energetic. Each page of Sobek is both immersive and propulsive, a feat that (I imagine) is incredibly difficult to pull off.
If you like kaiju movies or comics, you will love Sobek. It is a kaiju movie set in ancient Egypt, starring the titular Sobek and his adversary, Set. Or rather, starring kaijuified, manga-esque versions of those gods. Imagine if the older Godzilla movies were set in ancient Egypt and actually had a budget and actually had good actors and actually had fantastic visual effects. That’s Sobek. It is just as wacky and nonsensical and silly as those movies, while also making perfect sense and being rad.
Above, I told you Sobek doesn’t need dialogue. And that’s entirely true. If Sobek was an artbook, I would a) still be happy to have paid £14 for it (I don’t even know what that works out to in American money; my accountants tell me it’s fine) and b) still entirely understand the story Sobek is telling. Part of that is because Sobek‘s story is simple (villagers petition a god, the god fights for them, the battle is cataclysmic yet awesome). But another part of it is that Sobek‘s storytelling is so vivid and clear. Someone who doesn’t know how to read could page through Sobek and get a complete, satisfying experience out of it. That is a feat that is worth praising and calling attention to.
However, I also told you above that I’m very glad Sobek does have dialogue. Mostly, I’m glad for that because Stokoe’s lettering rules. Comic book lettering is often an underappreciated art form, but not on this blog, and not when a book’s lettering does as much work as Sobek‘s does. Stokoe’s lettering makes intense scenes ten times more intense. It makes funny scenes five times more funny. And it lends Sobek, as a whole, a personality that sets it apart from stories with more staid lettering.
All of which is to say: read Sobek. At the time of this writing, it is in stock at ShortBox, but it seems to sell out every so often. I missed out on Sobek once, and I’m so glad I bought it when given a second chance.