The second issue of Wishful Thinking is now live on Kickstarter, so we’re taking a look back at the start of the promising series with issue #1.
Writer Jackson Raines has been quick to compare the comic to Better Call Saul. Indeed, our comic hero Jim does not feel a world away from the disheveled but tenacious Saul Goodman. However, Jim is a genie – or rather, an ex-genie. Through the familiar procedures and staples of law practice, the story follows Jim’s work as a ‘wish consultant’ for unsuspecting victims of other magical fare.
Don’t let our summary of the premise fool you; Wishful Thinking is far from a grounded approach to the supernatural. It’s an exciting comic brimming with magic and a bit of indulgent gore, embracing its cartoony premise. Jim is evocative of the Disney-Genie from Aladdin; baby blue despite his tailored suit. However, the way that Wishful Thinking approaches genies and wishes is much more akin to standard Djinn lore. The concept of Jim’s practice itself suggests the gruesome and shocking consequences to ‘wishing’; it is such an inspired choice to frame Jim’s negotiations through this world as if it were a legal drama.
The supporting cast naturally emerge from this premise. In this first issue, we have Zarzor, the type of antagonist we can likely expect in Jim’s stories to come. Zarzor is the foil to Jim’s honest and street-smart approach. In a legal drama, Zarzor would be a wily and antagonising rival lawyer. Here, the character is co-opted into a demon vying for the soul of Jim’s client. Jim’s client herself is also indicative of the type of character who inhabits the comic, and those who in turn reveal Jim’s nobility. Mary is the prey of the demon Zarzor. Still, she is totally complicit in her wish and its consequences even with the biggest consequence being her eternal damnation.
I’d be hesitant to call Wishful Thinking a cynical comic though, despite such characters filling the book around Jim. Jim’s tenacity and the animation of the world is hopeful. The end of the comic sets up a premise for a whole series of adventures. There is even the a potential for Jim’s own wishes to come true. So far inspired, this first issue executes that premise with such confidence; you can see this series continuing for a while with the same characters and team on the book.
LetterSquid’s lettering is as animated as the plot, amplifying the threat of Zarzor or Jim’s exacerbation with a self-aware wit. Carlos Trigo’s expressive art with Ester Salguero’s colours toe the line between a magical world and realism; the familiar Disney-genies juxtapose with the tidy systems of suits and offices. Despite mostly taking place in Jim’s office or a bank, the art makes those settings feel as unusual and exciting as the comic’s magical characters.
Wishful Thinking #1 is delivered with such confidence that a second issue felt inevitable. There’s definitely plenty of stories to tell with Jim the genie.