Time & Vine #1
Writer/Artist: Thom Zahler
Colorist: Luigi Anderson
Publisher: IDW Publishing
A review by Greg Brothers
When people think of comics chances are they think of superheroes, big explosions, and some sort of major conflict. The truth is there are many comics out there that don’t fall into that category and instead just tell good character driven stories.
In Time & Vine #1 we are first introduced to Megan, a high school history teacher, who is out with some co-workers for the night to blow off some steam and forget their woes. While the co-workers are there for the “party-flavored Gatorade”, Megan is there to enjoy the finer points of enjoying a nice glass of wine. It is while enjoying the notes and nuisances of the wine that Megan meets the winery owner Jack. After discovering what it is that ails Megan, Jack offers to take her on a tour of the winery’s cellar where he reveals that the cellar holds a very intriguing secret.
It’s refreshing to read a comic that’s not based on super-powered conflict and billionaire moguls. Time & Vine #1 works because it is well written and illustrated beautifully. Immediately Megan is presented as a likable and relatable characters whom you can make a connection with. More than likely we have all been in her shoes where we go out to forget our worries only to find them enhanced in the social setting rather than tapped down. Zahler writes the relationship between Megan and Jack without flaw from their first interactions. It would have been easy to make a misstep or two where we would have found ourselves right in the middle of some sort of creepy panels. Instead the concern that Jack shows for Megan makes the interactions come off as genuine concern and caring, rather than predatory.
Beyond the family-type story, Time & Vine #1 also takes the concept of time travel and adds a unique take on how it happens and what the rules are behind it. Instead of focusing on all the terrible things that can happen from people travelling through time, Zahler uses it to build relationships and connections between those that otherwise are feeling a disconnect. It is a unique take that is certainly a breath of fresh air.
When one person takes both the role of writer and artist, one of the two is usually neglected in the end. Throughout Time & Vine #1 it never felt like that was the case. The art is bright and clean. The expressions and character designs enhance the dialogue and the feelings presented within the panels. The art is realistic with a cartoonish lean to them. With fantastical parts of the story the cartoonish feels fit within the story, while the realism helps to ground the story while making it relatable.
Buy! Time & Vine #1 is a great character driven book with a great hook. After reading the book I legit wanted to find this winery and take advantage of their special cellar. With Megan and Jack, Zahler lays the foundation for a great family adventure. The mentor/mentee roles that are put into place allow the reader to explore the characters without the worry of romance ruining the relationship. Grab the first part of this series and enjoy the adventure.