Title: Ice Cream Man #6 | Publisher: Image | Script: W. Maxwell Prince
Pencils: Martin Morazzo | Colors: Chris O’Halloran | Letters: Good Old Neon
Publication Date: August 2018
Publisher’s Summary: “STRANGE NEAPOLITAN” Sometimes, without a word, your life splits into three.
It is tough to create a silent, free-of-dialogue, comic; sometimes they can come off as a bit bland, or they have moments in them that just scream for some type of verbalization by the characters. Others are just confusing to follow. In Ice Cream Man #6, Prince, Morazzo, and Co. develop a dialogue-free issue that works exquisitely on a number of levels. It is one of saddest, heartfelt, and bizarre of stories that I’ve read.
The title of this issue is “Strange Neapolitan”. For the non ice-cream connoisseurs out there, Neapolitan is an ice cream with the three distinct flavors of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. In this case, we do get three distinct flavors in the form of three branching stories each with a different emotional pull. Our strawberry story starts with the classic boy meets girl and boy and girl fall in love scenario. However, it is not quite a fairy tale ending and there is heartache as the story progresses. The vanilla story is one that left me with a smile and it shows how far one may go for a friend. The chocolate story is both the darkest and most twisted of them; the weirdness begins with worms wiggling out of the ice cream and continue to an odd bird creature hatching out of a carton of eggs. By the end, I was not sure exactly what I had just seen but I loved it and it made me rethink ever again consuming chocolate ice cream.
This comic was a true collaboration between artists and writer. I am not sure how an issue like this is put together from a creative standpoint, but this is a totally cohesive product.
With a solely visual form of storytelling, Ice Cream Man#6 could have easily been a disjointed mess but this was quite the opposite. It manages to tell three totally unique and compelling stories in the space of one issue. All are easy to follow and hold their own emotional arc. The unique layout of the pages definitely assisted here and really stood out. The first three pages are in full color representing the main timeline.
Once our main character purchases his Neapolitan, there is a split into the three diverging stories. On each page are three horizontal colored tints representing the three storylines. At the top of each page are the strawberry panels with a pinkish tint followed by the vanilla panels underneath which have a yellow tint and the chocolate at the bottom of the page which had a brownish overlay. I found this to be an ingenious way to show the reader each story on the same page and eliminate any confusion.
The Bottom Line:
Ice Cream Man #6 tells three distinctive and captivating stories that range from the tragic to the disturbing. Couple these stories with an issue devoid of dialogue that enhances the storytelling and you have a masterful creation that is a must read.