Don’t be fooled by the fact that the hero of The Sorrowful Putto of Prague is a cherubic angel, he’s anything but a cuddly representation of all things good. Instead, our hero Xavier, attempts to look after the mythical creatures of Prague which gets him into all sort of scrapes and gets himself out in some far from angelic ways! James Stafford’s webcomic mixes fantastical characters with a violent and a dark sense of humour to create a a legendary mix of stories.
Publisher: James Stafford
Writer: James Stafford
Artist: AJ Bernardo, Raluca Moldovan, Lenka Simeckova, Josel Nicolas
Price: Free at www.theputto.com/comic/
This title follows Xavier, the titular Sorrowful Putto of Prague, as he embarks on a series of daily adventures in his life as a mythical resident of Prague. From escorting a Water Sprite to the Opera, facing off the Military might of the Church or even just attempting to escape the clutches of his home city’s drainage system, life is anything but ordinary for a being most people are not aware exists.
The Sorrowful Putto of Prague is a deeply enjoyable and enthralling title, despite it’s title not quite giving readers that opinion. This book is more of an anthology with six different stories connected only by it’s lead character, Xavier. However, James Stafford pens each one, allowing for the tone of the stories to remain feeling very similar even in the face of having almost differing genres, such as the all out action against the church, the comedy of being stuck in a drain or even the introspective nature of the Many Eyes of Mother Prague. The depiction of Xavier himself is something which helps keep the narrative from differing throughout. A cross between Ted and John Constantine, the main bulk of the dark humour really comes from the character well and helps keep the book from feeling boring. There is even a moment in the final story which really feels out of place compared to the rest of the title, but with so much groundwork put in prior to that, this gag still feels realistic for the character. The rest of the world too makes for an enjoyable story, with seemingly in depth research of Prague and detailed thought surrounding its players within helping to world build and give SPoP quite a Fables meets BPRD feel.
As for the art, while the various stories have some very different styles, each works well with their respective tale to evoke the necessary emotions. Lenka Simeckova’s style (stories 1 and 2) works well with the pastelly colour scheme to present a world more suited to Rasulka, the Water Sprite, while her work in black and White really sells Xavier’s Melancholy in the follow up as well as looks terrific depicting the many eyes following him. Raluca’s style (3), while seemingly being the weakest of the book, still uses great shadowing, giving the whole story a real darkness and terror while making the Vatican forces truly terrifying at times. Bernardo’s work (4,5) provides a very rough style which is quintessentially gothic and is most likely the best suited to the world being depicted. Finally, Nicolas’ work (6), while also feeling gothic and having aspects of the other three styles, also looks lighter, helping make the final story much more light hearted.
With this comic, while the title itself may imply a story of a dark and depressing nature, The Sorrowful Putto of Prague is anything but as the dark humoured writing combined with the terrific gothic monochrome art really helps you delve in and find the enjoyment of the title. Xavier may be sorrowful, but if you read this title you most definitely won’t be.