I love Copra, I found the first compendium while browsing in Toronto’s excellent shop The Beguiling years ago and you could tell pretty quickly this was special. So many things contribute to this, the art of course, the colours, the way Fiffe construct action sequences, how he explores his own interests as an artist, how he’s pushing his own artistic limits, how he’s building a longer narrative and expanding his storylines over time while looping elements upon itself, the letters from Fiffe in the back are also fun to unlock more out of each issues. Hell, even the heavier paper stock is an interesting choice. Michel Fiffe put up the first issue on his website for free and it is totally worth your time.
Take a look at how Fiffe constructs his action sequences. There’s a really clear sense of geography, of depth, of where all these people are in relationship to others. Take a look at page 8, 9 and 10 for example, A sword-clad woman is running towards the back of the van only to be ambushed by the martial artist Gracie disarming her and using the wall of the truck to propel herself and her enemy out of the van. A cyborg takes out his weapon and gets ready to shoot, but tall robot WIR jump at him. Meanwhile, green haired Guthie is at the back of the truck. She sees the robot-like WIR jump out and completely overwhelm a small foe and the martial artist Gracie fighting a lady with a sword. Meanwhile, at the front of van, we see that the commotion in the back is distracting flame-thrower man, which in turn allow the red masked pugilist to punch said flame-throwing man. Guthie gets out, analyse the situation and takes a quick steps towards the front of the vehicle, shooting two enemies, killing one, wounding the other and shooting his flame-thrower backpack. She knows these two are done for and pivots 90 degree towards the back of the van to engage the enemies her teammates were fighting. The red masked pugilist jumps out of the car and is immediately punched by someone coming from the front of the vehicle. This is a great action sequence, we know where people are, what their priorities are, the choices they’re making in terms of how to approach this situation and how to work as a team. There’s a ton of storytelling in just 3 short pages of an action sequence. I think that’s one of the great strength of Copra, it’s careful attention to details. I can’t remember the last time I read an action sequence so well-crafted in a mainstream cape comic.
It’s a good introduction to the world of Copra and provides a first look at this very interesting comic series. You can find the first issue for free HERE. If you like it, you can get the first four collections via Bergen Street Press or even at your own comic shop. There’s also back issues of Copra on Michel Fiffe’s store
Philippe Leblanc is a Canadian comics journalist. In his regular life, he improves Canadian medical education, and is the co-host of the Ottawa Comic Book Club. He reads alternative, indie and art comics at night and write about them for the Comics Beat.