The Night Owls
Written & Illustrated by Peter & Bobby Timony
Published by DC/Zuda
Zuda Comics, the web initiative from DC Comics, has published a number of different projects, almost none of which I’ve actually read. I will have to make a better effort, because if Zuda’s other webcomics are anywhere near the quality of The Night Owls, I’m seriously missing out.
The Night Owls, by twin brothers Peter and Bobby Timony, chronicles the adventures of the titular supernatural investigators: their leader, the brainy professor Ernest Baxter, the emancipated and tough-as-nails assistant Mindy Markus, and the perpetually hungry gargoyle Roscoe. A comic adventure, emphasizing the comedy aspect, the Night Owls protect 1920s New York City from foes like the face-stealing Mr. You and mystically empowered mobsters like Gaspipe Louie.
The Timonys move comfortably between single-strip jokes and longer storylines, but even the longest storyline is accented by daily gags. Younger readers will appreciate the gastric antics of Roscoe, and older readers will enjoy how the brothers unspool the romantic tension between Ernie and Mindy. In addition, the continuity of the strip builds clearly and easily, generating history and meaning without heavy-handed or forced relationships.
Open and clean, the artwork is handled by Bobby Timony. Timony works within the strip format very effectively, breaking each strip down into basic six or eight-panel grids, keeping the angles very still to keep the focus on the characters, and even moving confidently from greytoned artwork to full-color pages when the Night Owls travel to a fantasy dimension. Also, the strong character designs stick with the reader.
It’s genuinely funny, very well drawn, and chock full of endearing characters you can’t help but root for. I’ve been on a winning streak of all-ages adventurism lately, and The Night Owls fits in comfortably alongside winners such as City of Spies, Sfar & Trondheim’s Dungeon and John Stanley’s work. It’s a delightful, purely enjoyable romp.