It's so cute!

Black Ball
Written and illustrated by Melissa Massey

Buy it HERE


I wasn't expecting its scale to be downsized somewhat, but here it is! It's unique for its size. Although small in scale there is a very generous page count of 60 pages to enjoy here.

Encased therein these 60 pages of story is the adventures of Emily Trent and her friend Chester as they uncover the mystery surrounding her sister's murder. The setting is during the prohibition era in America, and as an added twist there's casual mention of magic and magic spells that one can cast, that is, if one is someone you can call a 'Practy' -or, practitioner of magic.

On their own path.

Melissa is following what her characters dictate to her, no doubt, as I get that feeling reading her story. Emily, Chester, Sherry and Mikey all have distinctive personalities that ring true to her as if Melissa Massey's recording them in a diary.

Another aspect of Black Ball is its quiet shaping of its environment in a very precious, subtle gesture towards openness. A unique aspect that I really haven't come across in a while. There's an airiness and freedom, some of it borne from Melissa's skilled line work that brings out little emotional inflections and responses. Emily's face shows a lot more than she's simply saying, and it would get drowned out in a more bombastic 'comic book super hero' style (of which I'm guilty). Because Emily can frown or show caution -and it matters- Black Ball has an elegant look, somewhat personal and diary-like.

Solid color choices.

The colors also resonate to my eyes in a catchy kind of aesthetic. Melissa shows care in the overall color palette of various sequences: some pages with lots of yellows and browns, others with green. Somehow she manages to make the whole comic coherent and readable.


As for the story itself however, I found the main narrative a bit hard to pick up. Not so hard to get was the details of their reactions to each other and back and forth conversations. Chester was a surprise for Emily and her participation in a spell-casting fight in a caged room had some significance to the story as a whole but it wasn't clear to me given the information I had to go from in the comic.

Did a bit of story confusion matter?

Not really. This comic is so relaxed. Melissa Massey's having fun. There's a sure-handed structure to the line work and coloring to her comic that shows me things will work themselves out in the end. We get to share in her fun too.

Next Tuesday:

Frank Martin again! Last review was of his eerie Macabre Motel. This time, we plunge into the icy waters surrounding the last unexplored continent on earth: The Polar Paradox!

Read Mayfield Eight Part 1: Into the Rat Hole!

Calvin Ryder, a young fry cook agrees to go on a motorcycle road trip to celebrate his birthday. He runs into a Biker Gang: The Banshees!

Read Part One

Read Mayfield Eight Part 2: White Meat!

Trouble ensues for Calvin as his friend conducts a back- room drug deal. He didn't count on it taking place at The Banshee's headquarters!

Read Part Two

Read Mayfield Eight Part 3: Faster, Faster!

The Banshees are onto Calvin and out for revenge. He gets the help of a lone confederate: A woman named Angelina.

Read Part Three
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Buy Mayfield Eight Here:

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