A few weeks ago, we were scrolling through Twitter, nonchalantly. Along the way, we found a publishing company by the name of TKO. We followed them on Twitter and thus began a beautiful relationship. However, the company TKO Studios is looking to revitalize the comic book medium. They aim to do that by publishing quality books and expanding the comic book audience using modern methods of marketing, engagement, and distribution. How they do this is by publishing trade paperbacks at one time with all of the issues inside it.
They no longer want to publish issues weekly, monthly, or bi-weekly, no, they are looking to publish the entire set and have the reader read at their own leisure. With this, they come in a wonderfully decorated box for the series. This may lead to the comic taking longer to create, but it is all worth it in the long run. That is because we get comics such as Sara by (writer) Garth Ennis, (artist) Steve Epting, (color artist) Elizabeth Breitweiser, and (letterer) Rob Steen.
The Daily Fandom was fortunate enough to get a look at their published comics, so this is the first of many forthcoming in a series supporting TKO. You can also check out their website and get every first issue of any released comic for free. Yeah, at no price, you get it for free. You can check it out and see if you like it. Sara will be attached at the end of this review. Nonetheless, let’s talk about Sara, a comic about a team of Russian female snipers in 1942 who are attempting to beat back the Nazi invaders on the WW2 Eastern Front. Their motto?
Fight Hard. Shoot Straight. Don’t let them take you alive.
Sara‘s Story, Writing, & Characters
At the start of Sara, you are engulfed in her story, (the main character’s name is Sara). As someone who hasn’t read a ton of historical fiction or comic books, for that matter, this was the first of few for me. That meant two things: 1) I didn’t have anything to compare it to and 2) This comic was fresh and informal – as a reader – for me. Based on that token, this was one of the most refreshing comics I have read to date. The narrative is beautiful, to be able to read all six issues in one sitting is what made this comic a gem to read.
I was able to become engulfed in the character of Sara and her female crew. I was further able to truly understand the motives and the character development of Sara. That is something that I don’t think you would get in a monthly release series or even a weekly series. Ennis does an incredible job with the narrative and writing of Sara. Since TKO is releasing all issues at one time, it is similar to a mini-novel. When it is being read, it is usually back-to-back in one sitting (for the average reader), you have to be able to instill character development throughout the first two issues (just about).
All Hail Ennis’ Writing & Narrative On Sara
Ennis does an incredible job doing it, by the second issue, (and with the sprinkles of past and present), I was able to understand Sara’s motives and why she was doing what she was doing. If I forgot a moment, I could just go back to it and readjust myself with what was said. That is what I enjoyed as well about the concept of releasing a series all at once. By the end of the series, (which I won’t spoil), you have become attached to this character so when an event happens such as this last one, you clench your chest a bit. Only powerful writing can do that, powerful writing can make you clench your chest, and Ennis did it.
Art, Coloring, & Lettering On Sara
The team behind the art, coloring, and lettering we see are as follows: Steve Epting, Elizabeth Breitweiser, and Rob Steen. I’ve talked up the writing and narrative of Sara, but the art is on an entirely different level of greatness. It isn’t what we read or what is told to us, it is what we see. In a historically narrative comic like Sara, that means it relies heavily on art, coloring, and lettering. In order to show us what is being told, it has to convey that 1942 setting.
Goodness, gracious, this team is outstanding. Let’s start with the art by Epting. In general, the art is truly what captivated us before we even read a page. Each character, each setting, each moment is perfectly drawn with intricacy. I was blown away. Connect that art with coloring by Breitweiser and we almost have what makes it perfect. Breitweiser completely blows away the coloring, again, the setting is such an important aspect – the coloring as to follow the art.
The coloring truly brings out the art. There are moments when Sara is shooting at the opposing team (without being offensive to anyone I will call them the opposing team), and the coloring showcases every small detail in the scene that we need. Such a talent to be able to do that. Which leads up to the final important aspect: the lettering. I loved the change in the head narrative (Sara talking to herself inside of her head) versus conversation lettering. Often it can be hard to decipher between different narratives. Either that or the characters blend together and aren’t that memorable, that doesn’t happen here. Everything fits together nicely and neatly as if this team were meant to be and work together.
The Overall Concept Of TKO & Sara
The concept of TKO seems promising, the idea of buying all six issues (or however many in other series) at one time is something I have wanted to see done for a while. I like to binge watch and read everything, especially because it’s hard to keep up with singular issues if you work, go to school, or have a life. I have a hard time keeping up with issues from my all-time favorite series and even then – more often than not – I can’t read them the Wednesday they release because of time. Nonetheless, the concept of TKO intrigued me the most, the idea that we can get our comics all at one time. If they are comics like Sara, this will truly change the way we see the comic book publishing company.
As this will be a series, look forward to a few reviews we have forthcoming:
Sara by Garth Ennis, Steve Epting, Elizabeth Breitweiser, and Rob Steen
Sara is a breathtaking comic published under TKO Publishing, a new publishing company looking to change the way we read comics. If you like historical plots with some great female action, then check out Sara. The writing, the art, the coloring, the lettering; it is all outstanding to see and read in Sara.