Caught My Eye: GearHead

Guest Post

First of all, I’d like to apologize for my absence. Recently, I started a new job, moved across state, and have been living with my in-laws while waiting for my last house to sell. Needless to say, it’s been hectic these last couple of months. Now that I turned in my tardy slip, let’s get on to the comic review, shall we?

The comic that brought me screaming and kicking back to comic reviewing is called GearHead. Basically, the premise is that the world is drastically different from the one that we know and love in that the civilized society lives in the few large cities across the country, and in the outskirts reside the outlaws and undesirables. It kind of resembles a mixture of movies along the line of Mad Max.

The main character is the mechanic daughter of a vigilante named GearHead who gets a dose of reality when she’s thrust into dangers that far exceed that of a cracked block or blown head gasket. Due to extenuating circumstances, she takes up the mantle of her lost father and begins to peel back the mystery of how messed up her world really is.

GearHead is a pretty interesting miniseries. I picked it up and finished it in one sitting. Granted it’s only four issues, but it’s a rare occurrence that I will read something new like that without coming up for air. That doesn’t mean the comic is without faults, but it was entertaining enough to read straight through.

The story is pretty easy to follow for something that puts you right into the middle of a world with a huge back story. The reader follows Shelby Cooper, auto mechanic by day, soon-to-be-violent vigilante by night. Basically, it unfolds like most movies where the main character is violently exposed to this whole world that was previously unknown. Without giving too much away, Shelby’s dad was the violent vigilante known as Gearhead but, naturally, she had no prior knowledge of it. As soon as she learns her father’s past, the shit hits the fan.

One of the things I really liked about the series is the characters. This is a little different take on most superhero comics in that the heroes are not so lovable and the outlaws are the characters you root for. When you read it, you’ll understand more, but it was a cool element. Another thing I enjoyed was the dialog and characterization. Dennis Hopeless did a great job, and you really enjoy seeing these new characters and want to follow along with them more when all is said and done.

Okay, now for the art. The art is the main thing that got me interested in the book to begin with. A guy by the name of Kevin Mellon handled the art chores on GearHead. I sometimes talk to him on a message board and was surprised when I saw his sample pages. I didn’t even know he was an artist until he gave me a couple of preview pages a while ago. As soon as I saw them, I knew I had to buy this comic.

The art has a kind of gritty feel that goes along well with the apocalyptic theme. I’m not sure if this is Mellon’s first full-fledged comic, but if it is, it doesn’t show. There are hardly any layout problems where you have to struggle to figure out what’s going on. Actually, I don’t recall any. There are tons of bad-ass money shots, and I can tell Mellon grew up watching flicks like Die Hard. It has a very cinematic feel to it. That alone is what made me extremely interested in checking out this book. I saw a few pages and was blown away. As the series progresses, the art just gets better and better. If you like to see panels from various perspectives, then this is your book. Like I said, there are plenty of money shots.

I also need to give some props to the colorist, Alexey Strakhov. The colors are done in such a manner that when there are scenes that take place in the past, you can tell right away due to the colors. Also, the colors fit in well with the mood and setting of the book.

I did have one huge negative comment about the book, though. It ends in such a fashion that readers are left hanging, big time. When I got to the end, I had to contact Mellon to see what the deal was and when more issues will be coming. It ends where it feels like three fourths of the story is done, but the ending is still up in the air. That was a disappointment, but I was told they might do another issue or two to finish it off. Hopefully, if there is enough demand, we can get an annual or something.

Overall, I dug the series. That I read it in one sitting says a lot. GearHead feels a lot like one of those sleeper action movies that doesn’t get noticed at first, but everyone talks about it as the weeks go on. I would highly suggest checking it out, if for no other reason than to see the awesome artwork of an up-and-comer.

Give it a try, why don’t you? Tell them Clint sent you.

If interested in obtaining copies of GearHead, please ask your retailer to snag you some copies. The diamond order codes are: Issue #1 – NOV063289, Issue #2 – JAN073377, Issue #3 – MAR073145, Issue #4 – MAY073191. You may also contact Kevin Mellon directly at and possibly get some autographed copies. There may also be a trade paperback collecting the series in the future, so keep your eyes peeled.