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Comic by Shai LaBeouf

Reviewed by Chris Auman

Cyclical  Shia LaBeouf

On January 30 of 2012, I received an e-mail from someone claiming to be Shia Labeouf. This Shia Labeouf claimed to be thee Shia Labeouf. At the time, I wasn’t even sure how Shia Labeouf was spelled (it's spelled Shia Labeouf). Anyway, this Shia Labeouf professed to be a fan of Reglar Wiglar comics reviews (believable enough I suppose) and that he himself was a “WANNABE CARTOONIST", as he typed it in all caps—yes, Shia is an all-caps-typer. Anyway, I wasn’t convinced that I wasn't being punked by S.B. Sweaty or Ashton Kutcher pretending to be Shia Labeouf. I consulted with a few trusted colleagues to see if the story sounded plausible. I was met with a round of skepticism. I Googled “Shia Labeouf comics artist” but came up with nothing. I decided it was for real anyway and responded, telling Mr. Labeouf that I would try to get a review up in the “not-too-disant future”.

I quickly got self-conscious. Would I treat Mr. Labeouf the same as any other aspiring comics artist wishing to share their work with a larger audience? Or would I suffer from some sort of Hollywood bias and not want to displease a megastar? Would I stroke his ego or would I make him an easy target for critical rage? I had fantasies of reaching out to Shia, giving him advice, nurturing his talent and eventually being flown all over the globe on whatever a press junket is, attending Hollywood premiers of major motion pictures with eye candy dangling from my arm. I punted the ball to S.B. Sweaty and forgot about it.

Well, suffice to say, S.B. has never met a deadline he liked, so consequently he's never met a deadline. LaBeouf's comic PDF languished on my hard drive for nine months. That is, until I came across a link to a Rolling Stone interview with none other than Shia Labeouf, WANNABE COMICS ARTIST. I had indeed fumbled the ball and missed the boat, to mix a metaphor. Apparently Shia has self-published physical copies of his work and is reportedly selling them for as much as $20 in some stores. That might be a crime, but that means this was certainly no prank and now I can confidently critique the work.

Cyclical  Shia LaBeouf panel

Or can I? The truth is, it's pretty rudimentary. It's not awful, but it looks like the work of someone just starting out in comics. But that's what it is. It's the first attempt at a comic by an admitted newbie to the medium. This isn't exactly like Jordan deciding to play baseball. I don't think Shia is going "all in" at the expense of his movie career. Someone who has the cash to get their books printed and into stores has an edge on most amateurs, of course, but that shouldn't be counted against him. I like the coloring which may be watercolor or colored marker. I can't tell.

There are some good visual panels. There are some minor spelling errors, sure, and the story is a little generic and a bit juvenile. It's the tale of a biker dude named Raven who attempts to jump his hog over a canyon. (Spoiler Alert: Poor bastard doesn't make it.) It's got a dream-like quality to it and it does have a sex scene, so there’s that. The lettering could be more legible. A small point I would make as well, is that a hat is not necessarily a sombrero even if the hat wearer happens to be Mexican, but you know, whatever. I'm interested to see what the future holds for Shia GONNA BE COMICS ARTIST LeBeouf and I'm sorry this "review" took over nine months. That's a long time even for me.

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