Staff: Harry French, Amaru Ortiz Martinez, Lesley Atlansky, Colin Bell, Coll Hamilton
Strap in, it’s time for an overdose of counter-culture references (in the best possible way).
Alright so I am jumping in to review Master Tape (side one) today. I got some hot beats playing in the background here so hopefully we’ll have a hot comic to match 😉
Anyway, this comics has a very bizarrely wonderful artstyle. God, I love this stuff. They use a lot of skewed perspectives and an array of color palettes to great effect. Unfortunately sometimes it slips a bit and we have a few sloppy panels (see bottom of page 12, middle of 22, etc) but 75% of the time they are spot on. When it’s bad, it’s bad. When it’s good it’s good.
The lettering is clear and legible but some of the onomatopoeia are not really in tone with the rest of the comic and could have been used to greater effect. Something to note is that the text has a very different compression on it than the image (almost seems like a matter of raster vs vector) but it doesn’t make any real difference.
The dialogue is plays right along with the art style, creative a very cohesive vibe for the whole thing. They curse, they use slang, and they almost insult the reader sometimes (and it’s wonderful!). Something this comic managed to pull off that I have not seen in other comics is the use of explanatory panels as de facto dialogue. For example we have a conversation where one character asks another what is chasing them. We then get a panel of what is chasing them and we flip back to the next part of the conversation as if they had told the enquiring character. Very effective.
The content is probably 18+ or at least something you want to read your kids as a bedtime story (unless them talking about “en-mass fuck-choirs” is pg-13 in your book). There is a lot of creativity in this comic. It envisions a truly bizarre futuristic world where music has been replaced by more colorful methods of entertainment. The kind of wild ride this takes us on is truly unexpected, involving drugs, post-apocalyptic death metal bands storming corporate offices, and internet piracy contract murders. Come on, how can you not love this kind of stuff? And it is all done with the most exquisite brand of personal style and some almost overwhelming passion for its source material.
The characters are all very identifiable with a few trope braking roles. Like the protagonist who, in another comic, might have been a sleazy record producer or a playboy is instead cast as a sarcasting shell of his former glory (a parallel to the music industry). Their dialogue is a lot of fun to read due to some good banter and the engaging story.
Overall, that was a bit of an eye-opener. I was expecting counterculture but what I got was an almost overdose. It felt like Tank Girl with a bit of Heavy Metal and a touch of Eureka Seven but with a more coherent plot and more modern aesthetic. Definitely one to check out.