Thessaly: Witch for Hire 2 (May 2004)

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Willingham and McManus do a lovely talking heads issue. It’s not entirely talking heads—McManus has a very complex two page spread, something he excels at—but it’s mostly a talking heads issue.

What’s so strange about the issue is how little Willingham cares about presenting a big narrative, or even the impression of one. A lot of it is Thessaly and Fetch (her would be paramour) in a house; she’s pulling skeletons from him and questioning him. It’s all beautiful because of the McManus art, but it’s also very difficult to discuss….

Nothing really happens. There’s a conversation setting up the next issue—maybe Willingham agreed to four issues but only had enough story for three and knew the readers wouldn’t complain so long as it looked fantastic.

There are three scenes in the entire issue. Willingham writes them well, but it’s still only three.

But the issue works.

CREDITS

Ghostraker, or The Importance of Well-Hidden Jars; writer, Bill Willingham; artist, Shawn McManus; colorist, Pamela Rambo; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Mariah Huehner and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

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Thessaly: Witch For Hire 1 (April 2004)

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Willingham is in very comfortable territory with this issue. It sort of resembles the first series, but with the charm factor increased. It doesn’t hurt the issue is set in Italy and McManus is fabulous at drawing scenery so the whole issue is lovely.

And Willingham does come up with a good story for the issue, though it doesn’t really explain what the next three issues will be about. It’s a somewhat direct sequel, with Thessaly’s admirer returning to her life. Willingham takes it further than just keeping the same cast as the first series, he also treats this issue as a direct continuation of small events mentioned. It’s great for the familiar reader and probably slightly confusing for anyone just picking up this issue.

There are some great lines—a lot of it is talking heads—and the tone’s welcoming.

It’s a fun first issue, but not earth-shattering.

CREDITS

My Girl, or Far Too Much About Snakes; writer, Bill Willingham; artist, Shawn McManus; colorist, Pamela Rambo; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano; editors, Mariah Huehner and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

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