Sunday, August 5, 2012

Simon Sues: Occult Lawyer for Hire

The paranormal tour continues with Simon Sues, a webcomic by Myung Hee Kim, who works as an animator in the game industry. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this manga. So often a comic has a cool premise but something about the delivery feels just... off to me. But here, finally, is a comic with a cool premise and it's actually enjoyable to read! Not that I would ever recommend comics that aren't good reads.

The story centers on Simon, a brilliant former law student at Haversford (University? College? Either the manga isn't clear on that point or I missed something) who has become an occult lawyer for hire. He spends his days with his “friend”/sidekick/demon?-ish guy named Isaac, and together they protect Haversford students from Fiends, demon-like creatures with an affinity for precise contracts and evil.

As if that wasn't enough fun, mysteries abound! For one thing, why would a good student with a bright future like Simon simply drop out of a prestigious university? How did he get into his current paranormal-centered career? And what's this sinister tie to Isaac that keeps being hinted at? Who is Isaac, really?
Isaac makes his first appearance.

These are all good questions that are sure to be answered in the story. Now, I've got some other questions as well, and I'm not sure whether these will be addressed. For one thing (and this is probably more of a silly question), but how does a law school dropout become a lawyer. Granted, Simon is an “occult lawyer” and there probably isn't a bar association to enforce standards, but still. 

Simon, all brooding and pensive-like.

And this antique shop Simon is running, would that qualify as his “real world” job? I mean so far, it doesn't seem like his student clients are paying him anything. I understand that in many comics this issue of money and livelihood isn't all that important, but with this story, the plot centers around the man's career, so job related issues are kind of important.

Simon enters his shop in a dramatic fashion.

I haven't read through enough of the story yet (the archive is extensive, which is nice but makes for slow progress), but I'm also wondering whether the story is episodic, or if there is an overarching plot. There are of course, hints to the latter, but so far the structure of the story has very much been a case by case basis.
As far as the art is concerned, the black, white, and gray manga style really suits the story and its supernatural elements. I think the gray is really important here, as it creates a moodier and softer atmosphere. So many comics and mangas apply a black and white only style which, if not done well or not properly applied to the situation, can be unpleasantly jarring. It is clear from the illustrations that the artist has considerable skill, which always makes the webcomic that much more enjoyable to read.

Simon Sues is not only a cleverly titled webcomic, but also has numerous other merits, such as a creative premise, an interesting, mostly well-told story, and an appealing art style. The comic updates on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays on its site, as well as at MangaMagazine.

The artist also applies a warning: The main comic contains horror and some graphic violence while the side bonus comics (which are interspersed between chapters) contain some sexual content and yaoi (male homosexual relations). So far none of the bonus content that I have encountered has been too explicit, but if such things make you uncomfortable, the archival system allows for easy navigation to the main comic.

All images copyright of Myung Hee Kim.

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