Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Comics in Boise?

So here I am in Boise, driving down Fairview, which is a super busy main arterial into the downtown area. (So busy that I was only able to get on it to inspect the distresses between 6-7 AM. I'd have gotten on earlier if the sun was up) and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature LCS, (and used book store). I went in.

Interesting. Total Android's Dungeon. Dingy, dark, and EVERY comic book was pre-bagged. Shades of 1995! Overheard a comment between the clerk (owner) and a customer, "Do comics still sell?"

"They're 80% of our business."

This amused me because 80% of his floor space was given over to used paperbacks. Hmmm?

I bought four books. Two from IDW and two from Image. I had never heard of any of them before.

They ALL were perfect manifestations of why comics have trouble pulling the casual reader. Each was part of some longer story... each a part of a story without providing a beginning nor an ending.... just a bunch of act two. And all were obviously a part of some large, complex story that the respective writers had worked out in great and loving detail in their heads... and probably should have written as a novel, rather then a comic book. All had sharp graphics, professional and contemporary cover design. All had seen an enormous amount of love and attention to detail in their execution.

I'll start with IDW.

Locke&Key by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez and Jay Fotos. This was the 6th of 13 issues. The art was careful and well detailed, and if not quite the sort of high energy line work I prefer, I recognize it was very professional. Its about some kind of body jumping demon, and given that its the middle of a story, not too hard to pick up on. They do provide a handy-dandy precis/intro on the inside front cover... but still, its the middle of a long story, and if you're going to hook people at this point, you need a catch. The art was professional, but not seductive enough.The hook in the story was, I guess, the mutilations. So daring. But not for me. Not world I care to re-visit.

Infestation by Abnett and Lanning, with art by David Messina and various helpers. Issue 2. This had more of a big two kind of feel to the art with the colorist dominating the linework, as has so often become the case these days. More careful, if staid, artwork. And even more pseudo-mysticism here with some kind of vampire-zombie mash-up/ secret organization and a big red guy with horns who wasn't Hellboy and managed to be utterly bland visually and in his personality. They seem intent of stopping some sort of hot chick bent on destroying four universes by becoming the same sort of combo vampire/zombie that evidently she is. Yeahhhh... no.


These were better, but ultimately suffered from the same sorts of problems.

Blue Estate by Victor Kalvachev predominately, with a couple of other writers and artists lending a hand. There's a beautiful painted cover that doesn't look like the artwork inside, although its by the same artist. The interior has the kind of quirky energetic art I favor and features imaginative color that doesn't overwhelm, and some memorable characters, or at least character designs. No mystical shit from what I can see. It seems to be about crime and sex and an inheritance. I might read another issue if I happened to see it again... on the other hand, its still only a few scenes of a story for $3.99. See more at their website

CarbonGrey by a whole bunch of people and I can't tell who is the driver, but this one I liked the best, although again, and more story for your 4 bux, but still only an episode. The painted interior art matched the cover and both were truly lovely. The digital lettering looked totally out of place and rather then puuling you into the story, it is distancing, reminding you that the images are paintings. I use digital lettering and its a godsend for me but it does have limitations and they are fully on display here. I was engaged and intrigued, but more than any other, this should have been a fantasy novel or video game. oh yes, its an alternate reality history of WW I with a quartet of (magical?) sisters engaged to protect the Kaiser.

I'd read the novel.

So. What have you read lately?

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