Staff: Tim & Alorian Haire
Hate to say it but buy this comic for the artistic direction and ignore the rest.
So today I am looking at an indie comic called “The Fog Walkers”. This is one of the more painful reviews I have had to do. It is a downright dream in terms of art but everything else falls so flat. In short, I REALLY want to love this comic but I just can’t. That being said, I lets jump into the good stuff first.
Fog Walkers takes a different spin on art. They are using photos rather than illustrations and it WORKS so well. The tone and style is something this comic has down pat. They have a heavy filter over their black and white pictures which blends the line between illustration and photograph. It is gritty and dark and lonely and it perfectly matches the aesthetic they were going for. It’s a risky gamble that pays off. I’ve seen other comics that have tried to do something this but it ended up looking like terrible clip art (generally traced with Illustrator). Add to that the fantastic and creative page layout, where they extend characters beyond the panel edge to look at images in other panels, and this is one of my favorite comics visually thus far for 2014.
One thing that bugs me about this comic is the lettering. Hands down the worst I’ve ever seen. It might be a technical glitch but the lettering has odd spaces and occasionally will separate a letter or two out from the rest. I don’t think it was done for tone or style, and if it was- it fails to convey anything other than “this comic is hard to read”. They use a spidery thin font and made me strain my eyes to read it on occasion and the jumbled mess that was their spacing just compounded the problem.
The plot, unlike the fantastic artwork, is lacking as well. We hop on the exposition express in the first two pages. The dialogue is stale and doesn’t sound human and not much progresses in the first comic. We have a guy who is fighting aliens who have conquered the planet. A fog they need to survive has mutated some humans and they fight back against the aliens. Our protagonist is a “fog walker”. It’s a really interesting premise that doesn’t really go anywhere in issue #1. That is not to say that a first issue has to go somewhere and I was actually pretty interested in the setting. However, I didn’t care all that much about the character or his situation.
It seems like there were more interesting stories that could be told in this world unless I am missing something. Where is the twist? Where is the passion? Where is the intrigue? The first issue comes a guy putting on some cloths and leaving his shelter for a city where he kills something. It feels like it fell flat and honestly that is a shame considering the kind of love that went into the premise and downright gorgeous artwork.
UPDATE: Having received an updated version from the publisher the quality of the lettering has improved significantly. It was a technical error on their behalf and they have amended it. The new lettering is still not superb. I would still suggest they do another revision on the kind of font they are using. The inconsistent character stroke and embellishment may play to the tone of the comic but it is a bit difficult to read (particularly with a black and white comic). I can admire the intent but the finished product is still a bit difficult to read.