Thursday, July 23, 2009

Review: Evil Inside/Amour # 3

Consider this another "retro review" for Bart Thompson at Approbation Comics. As a fan of this horror genre, I don't think I can do enough for the indy publisher, but I try to give as much deserved exposure as I can!

Anyway, this was the first of the horror/romance crossover issues that Approbation did, and in my opinion the better of the two. The first story is "Mirror/Mirror," written of course by Thompson and illustrated by Ezequiel Pineda. About a guy who sees the image of a girl in a mirror throughout his life, this is possibly the best story I have ever read from Bart. The college roomate/antagonist Eddie is something of an unbelievable character, simply a vehicle used to trigger (no pun intended) a plot device, but other than that this story really stirred some interesting emotion in me and I have reflected on it (again, no intended pun) several times since reading it initially. THAT is the mark of good storytelling.

The second tale is "Love Sprouts," about your average guy who falls for the pretty new neighbor across the hall. Art is by Ezequiel Pineda again (he does all the art this issue), who is one of the stronger artists Thompson has worked with, IMO. These characters are somewhat endearing in the short time you get to know them, and you find yourself pulling for their relationship to work. The only "downfall" of the story is the hazy ending, which Bart does an admirable job of trying to explain with several narrative boxes. Still, it is something of a headscratcher, but the story holds up regardless.

Last story is "Happy Family," and it was the least enjoyable of the three yarns. Hard to explain what this one is about as the plot is a tad convuluted, but essentially there is a couple in which the man is trying to attempt to cope with the death of his previous love. That said, what follows is a series of unrealistic events (yes, I understand we are dealing with a sometimes "supernatural" theme) that I suppose are set up for no other reason than to reveal the final panel. Something of a let down. Oh well, they can't all be classics.

Anyway, overall this is one of the best Evil Inside issues of the entire series, and I'd encourage you to seek them out!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Review: Leprechaun # 1

Bluewater has picked up the comic rights to this pint sized film "icon," one that honestly I'm not much of a fan of particularly. Not that I dislike Leprechaun, I've just never been interested enough to watch the movies. I'm a fan of what the Bluewater team has done with Warlock though, so I'm hoping for a similar experience.

I've got "Cover B", but I don't know who did it because "Cover B" is credited three different ways inside. Hello, editors!

Anyway, writing credits go to Zach Hunchar, and he does a decent job in laying out an interesting plot. Basically, the Leprechaun (a king of his people) has his gold stolen by his enemies the Clurichaun who in turn give them to a coin dealer. The dealer has sold the coins across the world, and now the Leprechaun must attempt to gather them back up at apparently any cost. He somehow lands in the middle of the life of one Ethan Thomas, which is sad since Ethan is a stereotypical geek with the most annoying of dialogue. By the end of the book still, even after witnessing the Leprechaun materialize in his apartment from nowhere etc, etc, Ethan continues spouting drivel like "Seriously, who are you?" and "This makes less since than blah blah blah." He's an unbelievable cookie cutter "nerd," so it's a shame because the rest of the story flows very well.

On the art side we have Kris Carter on pencils, Thomas Torre on colors. Carter does an apt job, but I really enjoyed his "flashback" panels to the war between the Clurichaun and Leprechaun peoples. Carter makes an exceptional fantasy artist. Torre goes above and beyond with the colors, using his palate to full effect to set mood.

At the end of the day this isn't a title I'd be chomping at the bit for just yet when held up to other current "horror" offerings, but with a little dialogue tuning I think it would be a contender.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Review: Tomb of Bloke

From Virus Comix comes Tomb of Bloke, which originally appeared as an online comic on Myspace. The print version has been reworked and expanded for your reading pleasure.

This book is an indy labor of love by artist Ju Gomez and writer Jason "Bloke" Crawley. ToB features a color cover and B&W interior, and the book is priced affordably at a measly $2.99 a shot. How can you pass that up?!

As for content, ToB is your basic "zombies take over the world" concept. The twist presented to us in this book, is that we see much of the action from the perspective of "Bloke," a recently reanimated zombie who retains some human thought process and emotions. I found the idea to be refreshing. As for nuts and bolts writing, Crawley does a good job at keeping the flow of the story going, and I for one GREATLY appreciate his use of narrative text panels to help tell the story. I think with further practice and polish, he has potential to be a very good horror comic author.

Concerning the art, Ju Gomez is quite good. His work is much better than many, many indy illustrators out there. I don't think you can find any faults with his approach. Really, the only downside on the visuals was that Ju uses lots of heavy darkness in his linework (not a problem - I like "heavy/dark") and somewhere along the production line it tended to translate poorly in a couple panels, blurring detail or making it hard to follow certain actions. Looks more like a process problem, and overall does not take much away from this book.

I say, if you want to support good, horror-loving indy creators like these guys, then you had better not let this one slip passed...