Dept.H is a new series by husband and wife team Matt and Sharelene Kindt. Matt writes the story and draws the art, then Sharlene brings the panels to life with her amazing watercolor impressions of the scene.
The visuals are reminiscent of Jeff Lemire of Sweet Tooth’s sketches, yet the colors are tinged with the taste of oxidized iron, a discarded wheel hub left to dissolve into rust on the sea floor.
The first comic introduces us to Mia, the daughter of Blake, the smartest man on Earth, who constructed a miles-long lab spanning across the surface of the ocean. Outfitted with super-armor oxygen suits with quick-release fins, an airstream propulsion pack, and safety deployment system, one could explore the darkest depths of the ocean safely for up to an hour, presumably. They also have hi-tech submarines which match in scope the most expensive spaceships you can imagine.
Her father left his entire enterprise to the whims of eight crew members, one being her current lover, when her father was murdered.
She is deathly afraid of the water, she could go up into space at any time, no sweat, but there was something terrifying about feeling the weight of the world pressing in on you when you’re 10,000 leagues under the sea. Despite her fears, she needs to lend an outsider’s look on the situation at hand, solve the mystery, and discover what happened to her father.
Reading Dept.H is a new experience, for those familiar with your run-of-the-mill comic book. The texture of the pages is unlike most comics, where the pages are glossy and relatively thin, but Kindt’s work is straight matte, as if the book were printed on watercolor painting paper.
The story is also quite intriguing. Who is the culprit? Will it be her lifelong best friend, or her brother, perhaps? Every member of the crew is involved in the closest aspects of either her of her father’s life, so it seems impossible that any one of them could bring harm to her father, but therein lies the cliffhanger.
Overall, aesthetically, kinesthetically, all the tically’s. Dept.H gets my vote. And I’ll likely continue subscribing to the comic for the next few years, or however long Matt and Sharlene decide to stick it out.