Bram the Yacoi

Bram the Yacoi

Staff: Jose Pallares and Muguel Caceres

 

Overview:

So today we have some straight up barbarian porn (like… schlocky barbarian stuff, not actual porn) from Jose Pallares and Muguel Caceres in the form of “Bram the Yacoi”. This part is subtitled “The Last Eden”. This is the first issue (as I only do first issues) and it kind of stood out from the cesspool of “gritty, dark, horror comics” I keep getting (hence why there hasn’t be a review in a bit) so I’m going to give it a shot. Let’s see how it pans out.
Note: This comic is not PG-13. Probably a decent R (lots of blood, little nudity, etc). Nothing you wouldn’t see on late night TV though.

Art:

The art is nothing shy of awesome. Miguel, the artist, uses a monochromatic (black, white, and a single color) color scheme to great effect. Even on the first page of the comic we have a fantastic display of his ability to convey motion and create dynamic poses as well as establish a good use of panel structure for artist purposes. And the detail this guy puts into stuff! Hot damn! There is also the matter of him giving very distinctive character designs. In the midst of a brawl, I can tell characters apart thanks to his very easily identifiable character designs. That is to say, no two characters look the same, even at a distance. And that’s a very hard thing to do with people who you want to visually share similar elements (like a culture, team, or other group). Still, he manages to pull it off.

 

Writing / Story:

Jose’s writing matches Miguel’s art in tone. The narration panels are very poetic, dramatic, and grandiose while the choice of dialogue is much more guttural and concise. It reads like a good Hyborian adventure comic (Conan the Barbarian and borrows more than a little from it. It borrows a lot from it, maybe more than it should. Bram might as well be Conan and is largely interchangeable with any number of generic barbarians. I didn’t get a lot of characterization from him other than “is really good at fighting” and “will take revenge”. He uses the plot to give us set pieces however and that’s not a terrible way to use it. That having been said… Jose does a fantastic job of capturing that tone/style of character and I really enjoyed it. He is one of the few writers who I’ve run across whose mastery of languages improves upon the narrative rather than hinders it. In fact, the plot is largely pretty generic and ignorable (guy betrays guy, guy gets revenge) but his dialogue is so good you kind of don’t notice.

 

Layout:

As I mentioned in the art section of this book, Miguel uses the panel layout to his advantage artistically. He lets things protrude from them, chances the shape of overlay panels to accentuate the action. That is the hallmark of real skill and a creative use of them that helps create a cohesive aesthetic. There are a few times where this works against it however (see page 5 of the PDF) when artistic liberties with the panel placement makes it a little difficult to tell what action is happening first (but it looks quite sexy…).

 

Overall:

So I’m a sucker for 80s pulpy stuff (as you guys know). This comic scratches that itch in a big way. It is pulpy, schlocky, barbarian-flavored wonderfulness. The dialogue is great but the protagonist’s characterization and overall plot leave something to be desired. That being said- it is backed up by one of the best indy artist’s I’ve reviewed- a guy who GETS what it means to establish and maintain a cohesive aesthetic. So my verdict? If conan style stuff is your bag- buy it even if it costs you the blood from your arm to do so. If not, it is still something you should pick up for the fun it brings and the art (seriously- I would love an artbook of Miguel’s work).

 

Metrics:

Art: 9/10 [Marvel, DC- eat your hearts out]

Lettering/Layout: 8/10 [Creative use of layout]

Plot: 8/10 [Set piece driven plot but outstanding use of language]

Novelty: 5/10 [It’s schlock Conan stuff. Does just enough new to avoid  being stale]

Overall: 7.5/10

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Little Black Girl (Mature)

12804830_1059802127414722_4453787998125208531_nLittle Black Girl

Staff: James McCulloch, Pedro Mendes

Overview:

So today I’m gonna look at Little Black Girl. Full disclosure- I’ve worked with the artist Pedro Mendes on one of my own comics (Good Samaritans Issue #2) and I heard about the comic through him. I have an advanced copy so the link at the bottom of this review will be to their Facebook page. My copy also has a missing cover, so I won’t be talking about that. The comic warns it is for mature readers so- yeah, keep that in mind. Anyway, let’s take a look at Little Black Girl by ComicHaus!

Art:

So, as I’ve mentioned before- I’m a little biased on the artwork. I hired Pedro so take what I say with a grain of salt. He has a very noir, crosshatch heavy style, with an emphasis on shadows. Sometimes his proportions slip a bit but he makes up for it with his use of angles. He always adds nice little elements to the background and does excellent work overall. Give him a few years more practice and he’ll be professional grade, particularly if he works on his perspective a bit more. His shadow-heavy style matches the comic’s tone excellently and he has a mastery of dynamic motion that I envy. While not Marvel or DC level- it is an asset to the comic rather than a detriment.

Layout:

I will only touch briefly on the lettering. It’s solid and that’s how it needs to be. Nothing stands out as amazingly unique but it’s legible and, for comics, that is high praise. Those people who try to reinvent the wheel with lettering fail 9/10 times. While comics are both a visual and literary medium, lettering needs to allow the words to be unobtrusive while still conveying the necessary message. This comic does just that. Kudos.

Writing / Story:

The story is a bit shocking. It is definitely for a mature audience. Without spoiling anything it’s about a businessman by day who comes home to a house full of slaves he abuses. He is, unapologetically, a monster. Unfortunately, you can see him as human but… damn. He is a piece of trash. There are a lot of subjects in here that the average reader will not be comfortable with (child abuse, implied rape, slavery, use of some very triggering words) and I’m not normally one to endorse the use of these themes… but in this case it is acceptable as it goes towards making the antagonist more monstrous. If any of the stuff I mentioned triggers you- don’t read this comic. Stay the heck away. However, it DOES set a rather profoundly disturbing psychological stage. I got the personalities of a lot of the characters (the slaves mostly) and, for a first issue, that’s really what I want. A good setup, good characterization, an establishment of motives, etc.

Overall:

In summary- this is DEFINITELY a mature comic. But, unlike some others I have reviewed, it uses the mature rating to DO something- to tell a very raw and gritty story in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed. The main antagonist is the lowest slime on the planet- a junk yard dog so deranged he NEEDS to be put down. I just wish I reviewed the entire series so I could see him get what he is owed. However, as mentioned before, this comic has LOTS of triggers. Rape, child abuse, slavery, racial slurs galore, torture, violence towards women, etc. If these things do bother you- avoid this comic. However, I am going to recommend it for the writing and art. It goes to a dark place but does so for a reason. Give it a read when it comes out in July!

Metrics:

Art: 6/10 [Better than average]

Lettering/Layout: 6/10 [Does it’s job well]

Plot: 5/10 [Antagonist is a monster- shown by use of ]

Novelty: 5/10 [Owns its mature rating in shocking ways]

Overall: 5.5/10

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Edison Thomas Saves the World

123477-thumb140Edison Thomas Saves the World

Staff: Kevin Hill

Overview:

A fun, if not flawed, pulpy super-genius comic.

Review:

Today I have “Edison Thomas Saves the World” from Hyperactive Comics. It’s presented as a one-shot comic about a 19 year old super genius battling a inter-dimensional being. Without saying any more about it, let’s jump in!

Art:

So this is actually done by a trained hand… I think. It’s definitely not high enough quality to call it “professional” but you are not left visually guessing at what’s going on. It really harkens back to the old pulp style comics that were popular in the golden and silver age and I love it. Very clean lines, thick strokes, etc. There are the occasionally poorly drawn panel, facial expression, or the like but on the whole it’s decent.

Now there are some serious technical issues that a little experience will fix. For example, a lot of this looks scanned in or drawn by hand. When you have something like that in a digital format, you need to clean it up. For example, if on page 3 of the PDF you look at the bottom right panel you can see the strokes from where it was filled in. This can be easily fixed by doing something like selecting black’s color range in a program like Photoshop, then doing an auto-fill to replace it with digital black (same can be done for white too).

Layout:

In addition to that this comic suffers from a lack of professional layout standards. For example- the edges of the bounding boxes of each panel doesn’t quite line-up with each other. If you are going to offset panels- do it for a reason. This is just sloppy work that something like a ruler could have fixed.

The dialogue balloons are passable, if not a little cramped at time (never let your text touch the edges). Text within dialogue balloons should be done in a vaguely “diamond” shape so it best fits in the shape of the balloon. They remember to do that on occasion but just as often seem to forget and cram words into the balloons.

There are also a few odd capitalization errors (example: page 6 of the PDF has this line, “My Patented “Steel Jacket Restrainer” should keep him out of Trouble!!”) as well as some grammar errors (“one of his arch nemesis…” should be “one of his arch nemeses” for example).

Now one thing I want to talk about are the onomonopias. They are a mess. So, in comics, an onomatopoeia is unbounded text which is rendered in such a way that it is reflective of the sound being made (having a burning noise illustrated as if it were burning, having a “pew pew” of a laser gun look scifi, etc). It should be drawn into the comic by the artist (inker) rather than added in later by the person doing the layout. They can use the shape of the words to indicate the kind of sound, it’s direction, and where it is originating from. We get some REALLY poorly done ones in this comic (like the “Balooey!!” on page 1). They are able to produce a good one later on (page 16 of the PDF) so it confuses me why they are so poor at other times.

Writing / Story:

The dialogue is stilted. My frequent readers will note that I have a special, soft, spot for campy or pulpy comics but this doesn’t fall into that category. It’s just bad. They lay out the plot in dialogue- a major sin in comics. Remember- comics are both a visual and literary medium. You can use one or the other as a substitute for its counterpart. When a hero punches out the villain you don’t need him to say, “Wow! I knocked him out with one punch!” at the same time as showing it and that’s exactly what this comic does. It’s just panels of expository dialogue explaining what is going on in the panel.

The plot itself serves to set up Edison Thomas and his supporting cast. The first part of the comic does a good job establishing the rules of his universe. Shakespeare this is not, but it tells a coherent story and as a one-shot whose goal was to establish the character for use in a larger cross-over initiative it does it’s job. Edison Thomas (not to be confused with Thomas Edison or anything) fits snuggly into the super-genius archetype ala Reed Richards, Dr. Quest, Hank Pym, etc and has a gadget for everything.

The second part is more concerned with dimensional obliteration. They do a fun bit with an alien world and their culture. I will say that they do some pretty big logic leaps and treat Edison’s intelligence as something of a omni-solution, pushing him awfully close to Gary Stu territory. See, the danger with that is that one could fall into the “a wizard did it”/ ”techno-jargon” kind of story telling. The reason we like to read “smart” characters (like Holmes) is because we get inside their heads and at the end they reveal how it was done. Without that pay off, the protagonist might as well have just said “abracadabra” and the problem was resolved. Like we are never told what a “buffer zone field” was and why it resulted in an “impenetrable sphere of solidified matter” or even what the enemy’s power really was (other than that it “drew power from the atmosphere”).

The second part is far better than the first- really telling a very “big” story in just 20ish pages, even if the story is told with just the broad strokes. To be honest- I kind of liked how it was told. If we got too much into the details it might have bogged it down. There were some parts I wished they’d explained a bit more (as mentioned above) but overall it worked.

Overall:

Ultimately… if this wasn’t free I wouldn’t recommend it. However, as a free little comic, you could do worse. It gives you a big story in a small bite. It’s not going to change the world but it’s got heart if nothing else. Give it a read if pulpy super-genius stuff is your thing.

Post Review Note: So I noticed after I had finished this review that I had already reviewed something from Hyperactive Comics (Crunch) and it’s actually set in the same universe. I normally don’t review stuff from the same publisher but it’s not a hard and fast rule. Sorry about that!

Metrics:

Art: 4/10 [Not pro but you can get by with it]

Lettering/Layout: 3/10 [Some issues, but nothing that makes it unreadable]

Plot: 4/10 [Interesting enough for a one-shot]

Novelty: 3/10 [It’s all been done before]

Overall: 3.5/10

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Fruition of the Damned

tumblr_nybwh42WuB1tqzzc4o1_1280Fruition of the Damned

Staff: Keenan Carola, Jeremy MacKinnon, Nick Azevedo

Overview:

Visually competent and only misses the mark by a bit.

Review:

So today I’m reviewing a style of comic I don’t normally review. I’m taking at look at Fruition of the Damned- an online scroll comic. You can check it out here and kinda read along with me. As always, I am reading the first “issue” (called “Book 1”) and won’t be touching on stuff post that.

Layout:

Let’s talk layout first. Being a new layout for a comic reviewed on this site, I should clarify what it is. It’s essentially a long image (or series of images) that kind of scroll down an overlong page. It’s used pretty effectively here and, I’ve read a few others, this one kind of stands out as one of the better laid out ones. They kind of work best for mobile readers, but the long load time due to loading a lot of image data always kind of killed it for me on my phone. I read it on my PC for that reason and the one thing that kind of bothers me is that the panels / individual images don’t have their edges line up perfectly. Some have a white background / trim /stroke while others have no background (transparent) or black. Even then, while it DOES do some cool things with it- I could still see this working as a normal comic so I won’t knock it for using this layout format and, while cool, it won’t be getting any major bonus points from me.

Art:

One thing I do like about this is the visual world building aspects of it. We have weird birds, very original races, technology, some cool fauna, and the like. All and all it creates a very cohesive world- which is a nice touch for this comic. Honestly, this comic would have got a much lower rating if it were not for the cohesive and original art direction.

One thing that doesn’t do this comic any favors is the sheer space (I’d say pages but… you know) dedicated to fight scenes. They are fun and the scroll format is well utilized but I can’t help but feel like I’m watching filler in an anime rather than the meaty plot stuff. It DOES offer some rather aesthetically pleasing scenes and well laid out panels but comics straddle this line. They are a visual medium but, as they are a sequential style of art dedicated to conveying a story- I can’t help but feel like they focused too much on the visuals and really didn’t dedicate enough space to story. You are probably about 40-60% of the way though book 1 before you start really getting to any story elements. Now, almost at odds with that previous statement I WILL say that this comic does a great job doing visual storytelling (particularly later). This is when dialogue is either absent or superfluous to the visuals as they are conveying the story (though setting, character, and expression).

So let’s talk more technically art a bit here. It’s a very unique comic. I don’t know if this is the most polished or technically competent art that I’ve ever seen. However it is a very unique style and you quickly get use to any little quirk or issue for the sheer ambition of the style. There are some very unique almost one-point perspective panels and the use of monochromatics on a few panels are very effective (especially when they are used to convey a specific emotion). The technical issues I mentioned really come from some of the character drawings. Like there are little issues with proportions due to perspective and oversimplifications of characters in certain renderings. Again, it’s not a BIG concern but it doesn’t blow me away either. His backgrounds however are STUNNING. Just beautiful. The artist also has a very nice use of dynamic posing and can convey motion (even some of the more exotic moves) very well, knowing just where to break panels so that we still see the sequence without breaking the pacing and flow. So I guess the best description for this comic’s art is, “Ambitious, stylistic, imaginative, energetic, but not technically perfect”. Seriously though- give this guy like 5 years more and he’ll be drawing your next favorite series.

So, as I mentioned before this is a very competently established aesthetic. I love some of the character designs- even minor characters like background combatants have a very distinctive look to them that fits in with the overall artistic narrative. It definitely takes some Gendi Tartakovsky or Michael Dante DiMartino (Avatar) influence on their stuff and I couldn’t help but thinking that the Elf King could have been designed by like Ayami Kojima or something.

Writing / Story:

Plot wise, I am going to keep this kind of brief. I’m not interested in giving spoilers, but it’s pretty easy to see things coming. It’s a story of family, has some fairly stock characters, and has some war/combat elements to it. I am not going to judge it too harshly- it tells the story it wants to tell and does so competently. I have a feeling that this is pulling a bit of a Joss Whedon thing with the characters- the first bit of the narrative establishes the status quo and the remainder of the story is dedicated to their growth from that established narrative. The end hints at that. I won’t say this comic tries to tell a complex tale, it’s no Game of Thrones, but it’s a well told story.

Overall:

Overall, I have to ask myself “would I want to read the next one” and… honestly I think I would. It tells a tale I want to get into and it does so with broad, effective, compelling strokes. It’s got some good world building and I kind of want to see where it goes. It’s a pretty simple story but it’s got potential.

Metrics:

Art: 5/10 [Ambitious but lacking a polished technical touch]

Lettering/Layout: 4/10 [Does just fine. Some ups, some downs]

Plot: 3/10 [Competent but really just basic]

Novelty: 7/10 [I’ll give them points for trying something cool and new visually]

Overall: 4.75/10

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Captain Canuck

Captain Canuck (Free Comic Book Day #0)

Staff: Kalman Andrasofszky, Ed Brisson, George Freeman, Jim Charalampidis, Rosemary Cheetham

Overview:

By the end of this awesome comic you’ll be craving putien and maple syrup.

Review:

So I’m going to look at Captain Canuck today. It’s from Chapter House comics and, from what I understand, it’s a revitalization of a golden age hero written by Richard Comely and Ron Leishman.

Before I get onto the review I gotta say that I watched one of the animated shorts online before this and… wow. It’s legit. Like well voice acted, some fluid animation, and it sets up a solid (if not a little by-the-book) universe for our hero. Here is the link.

Art:

The art for this comic is up there with the best bits of modern professional comic artwork. This is right out of a Marvel or DC comic, no doubts about it. Clean lines, gorgeous color, etc. It was a real treat after the last comic I reviewed and I can see there is some serious talent/money behind this comic. It shows in all the right places and, to be honest, there isn’t much more to say than “wow- killer artwork bro”.

At the end of the book there are characters bios and character artwork. I just wanted to point out how goddamn beautiful and thoughtful they all are. My frequent readers will no doubt know how little I like to gush about character designs unless they are THAT good but… damn. They work a lot of history and politics into certain characters costumes, add little accessories, and make everyone memorable.If there is one shortcoming it is “Mr. Gold”, the villain. He seems so… stock. His background is very generic and it seems like his motives are one-dimensional.

Lettering / Layout:

Lettering is crisp and proper. No slipups. I always say what separates a good comic from a professional one is lettering and layout. This comic proves my point- it’s damn solid lettering and layout. As a result, it LOOKS professional. If you told me this was a DC comic I’d have believed it (might have even praised the art for being better than normal).

Writing / Story:

So the titular “Captain Canuck” (aka Tom Evans) is an agent of “Equilibrium” (think SHIELD or something) is setting up to stop an oil fire. They give us a lot of backstory on everyone though little bits of dialogue in the first few page preview (keep in mind I am reading from a free preview comic for free comic book day).

The second story is a text-heavy origin story of Captain Canuck. It recounts a lot of the golden age stuff from the character’s backstory and gives us a good overview of the character. As with any “Captain [Insert Nation Here” character, he DOES have a bit of the Captain America. I don’t think that’s the writer’s issue- it’s more just a product of the times it was written in and, ultimately, doesn’t sour the story at all. There are more aliens and time travel in his background and he kinda doesn’t have the WWII soldier vibe, but the connection is still there. I think I actually like Canuck’s better to be honest.

As a guy who spent summers in Quebec and PEI when he was a kid, I did like that they had the character from Quebec correct everyone’s pronunciation to “Kebeck” which is how it is said in French (and by everyone there). I also dig that she’s never been able to gell with her teammates- a nice little bit of political commentary there 😉

Overall:

Overall… yeah. I’m a fan. This is awesome. No two ways about it. I am a sucker for schlocky, golden age-inspired, lantern-jawed, goodness and this scratched that itch and went a bit further. Loved the redesign, loved the art, and the world is rich enough that I am invested. Give it a read! Oooohh Caaaanada!

Metrics:

Art: 10/10 [Pro level.]

Lettering: 9/10 [Good lettering and layout make a good comic.]

Plot: 7/10 [Solid writing. Good characters.]

Novelty: 6/10 [While rebooting an old character they do some new stuff with it.]

Overall: 8/10

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Apokalupsis Webcomic Anthology

Apokalupsis Webcomic Anthology

Staff: C. Meli

Overview:

Buckle up kiddies- it’s time for a train wreck.

Review:

So today we are looking at the Apokalupsis Webcomic Anthology Preview and… oh no. DEAR LORD! What is THAT!? Ladies and gentlemen! Get your combat helmets on! We’ve got POSER 3D ARTWORK! (DUN DUN DUNO) If the cover art is anything to go on- strap in, it’s going to be a rough ride!

Note: I try to keep profanity out of my reviews but… for fuck’s sake man this is that bad. Sorry.

Art:

Ok, so let’s get this out of the way. GOD THIS COVER ART IS TERRIBLE. Like “put me out of my misery, why God, why?!” sort of bad. I’m sure that there is some savant out there who can use Poser 3D to make magic happen but… I’ve never seen it happen. For those who don’t know, Poser 3D is this art program where people can pose pre made 3D models and dress them up. It’s meant to be used as reference pictures for artists but lots of lazy folks elect to use it to just do their comics or whatever.

Inside we at least start with some hand drawn stuff. Now it’s not the best art out there (far from it) but it’s at LEAST better than the soul-searing shit on the cover.

Lettering / Layout:

Lettering wise… this has a long way to go. A trick a lot of letterers use to make their text flow nicely is to use a diamond shape for their line breaks so you have a few words on top, a lot in the middle, and a few again at the bottom. This is because the word bubbles are round and it allows them to get a lot of text in the bubble in a readable fashion without taking up a lot of space. Some of these bubbles are… well let’s just say they don’t follow this rule and it shows. We have some oddly chosen left aligned (rather than center aligned) balloons, the font is inconsistent and the dialogue balloons are at just about the same height. Add to this mess that it seems like some of these balloons are pasted OVER existing one and it’s kind of a gross mess. The cherry on the cake is that 4 pages into the comic and we are still getting copyright information and ads taking up large portions of the page in generic left aligned fonts (that is what the credit page is for!).

At page 4 we get another change. Randomly two Poser 3D images are thrown in as “pinups”. Show me the person who actually printed these out and hung them up- I challenge you. The rooms are devoid of detail, parts of the model clip through each other, and the faces have these SUPER uncanny valley looks like all the images from Poser 3D I’ve reviewed in the past.

Page 5 has literally a 1 page comics that has been shrunk to fit the page or something as it is at an odd aspect ratio. It seems like this was taken from a Jesus coloring book. There are LITERALLY clipped images from what I assume is a google image search in here. God I’ve missed reviewing stinkers like this one… The text clips all over the place. It’s illegible (unless the line “We removed the sails as we might hi(t?) the sirtis” makes sense

Page 7 brings us “Rock ‘N’ Roll Kids” and has a wonderfully low rez image of Malta in the background with a big red box and with white text explaining everything.

Writing / Story:

So… I will try to touch on the “story”. As the name implies this is an anthology. The first 3 pages or so is a scifi story with lots of in-universe slang that is immediately explained in big boxes. There is no story. None we can follow. Then we have “St. Paul’s Shipwreck in Malta”. For fuck’s sake man… at this low rez tiny aspect ration one can hardly read the text- even if you blow it up. It’s about St. Paul but doesn’t really go anywhere. Then we have “Rock ‘N’ Roll Kids” a superhero team up comic. From what I can figure- this is a Christian superhero comic of sorts? It has some god awful, very angsty, backstory. It literally doesn’t go anywhere in the 3 pages it has. The character talks to her parents briefly then walks off and talks about her emotions a bit. So… yeah. None of the three stories go anywhere. I get that it’s an anthology and they should be a sample of the larger stories… but… yeah. Nothing. None of them go anywhere. None of them make me want to read more. In fact I’m pretty stoked that I’m done.

Overall:

Overall… do you really have to ask? It’s an eyesore and a failure of biblical proportions. This is the worst side of indie comics. I’m sure the author means well… but it’s a 100% total mess. I don’t know how else to say it. It’s garbage with a capital “G”. The only saving grace was that it was free and he hasn’t tried to sell anything else. This wasn’t a review- this was an exorcism and I’m done.

Amen.

Metrics:

Art: 0/10 [Give it up.]

Lettering: 1/10 [At least there were letters.]

Plot: 0/10 [Kinesis was better than this.]

Novelty: 0/10 [No points for no effort.]

Overall: 0.25/10

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Rotten Roots

Rotten Roots

Staff: Paul Axel, Renee Majkut

Overview:

Standard mystery fare that gets by on it’s art and premise.

Review:

Today I’m taking a look at Rotten Roots. I was going to pass on it but the unique art style on the cover caught my eye and I said, “what the heck”. So let’s look at Rotten Roots by Bad Kids Press!

Art:

So Renee, we need to talk. I’m married. Please- your art is hitting on me. It’s GORGEOUS. It’s kind of a watercolor deal and I love it. It has a kind of “classic art” vibe to it and for some reason I get a Vincent van Gogh kind of feeling. I will note that there is a sequence where it gets kind dark and grimey and, if we were married, I’d want a divorce. You have such a unique style! You do yourself a disservice when you go dark. The art style has a simplicity to it and the way it contrasts with the modern world (as it seems very “classic”) is wonderful, flowing into the more appropriate colonial period segments; tying the whole thing together visually.

Lettering / Layout:

The lettering is… basic. That’s all I can say about it. It’s not bad and it’s not in the way or anything… but it’s nothing special. Legibility is the hallmark of a decent comic and it falls in that space; good enough that it’s not distracting but it kind makes me sad that it’s not as good as Renee’s art as you can really tell that it was done by a different hand. There are a few instances where it doesn’t quite work as well as it could (see page 4 where there is a single 2 letter word on a line of its own) but it saves itself later by changing up the speech bubble style. Then again, some of the words balloons that are supposed to be reminiscent of old pages looks a bit amateurish and the letters butt up against the edges sometimes. There are a few onomonopias drawn into the comic and they are far better done than the lettered ones, which are not bad but not as good by comparison.

The text also has a few grammar errors, mostly odd capitalizations (“I gained a Truth I regret learning to this day…”, “This Revelation gave me my Murderer.”, and “And that was the Day I lost my…”). There were also a few pages where the dialogue was hard to follow as the balloons were difficult to follow (see page 20). Typically you follow the highest balloon and follow it down but a few panels in this comic made this difficult to tell and forced me to read the page a few time to figured out how best to read it.

Writing / Story:

The story itself is interesting enough, but like the lettering kind of falls middle of the road. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; mystery rarely translates well to comics. It didn’t grab me this time but it’s a passable story. The basic premise is that there is a modern day murder that is similar to a murder that is described in an old book on the desk in front of the modern day murder victim. Clever. It’s a solid premise but the execution is kind of bland. The characters are ultimately just stock characters and the dialogue just a retreading of topes from each of the genres it dips into (modern police procedurals and colonial period drama). However, it kind of wraps up and turns into something more compelling near the end. Maybe mystery comics are not my thing but it’s still smartly written if not a little basic.

Overall:

Overall, this is one of those comics that will get a passing grade because of the art and premise. The actual writing and the lettering are middle of the road but the premise and the art are sharp. If you are into mystery comics- this is one you’ll probably did.

Metrics:

Art: 9/10 [Very stylized and unique]

Lettering: 4/10 [A few hiccups]

Plot: 5/10 [The premise works if not a little standard]

Novelty: 4/10 [The art is very interesting but everything else is kind middle of the road]

Overall: 5.5/10

Link to Product