There is a reason it is good.

Illustrating a comic book means telling a story with words and pictures.

The better someone is at this, the  better they are using words, pictures, and panels…and camera angles, vanishing points, backgrounds, panel composition and overall page composition…and about a dozen other techniques, for making a compelling story that draws you in and helps you escape into the reality they are trying to create.

It’s a tough job.

Which is why the different levels of skill are so apparent.  They range from mesmerizing pages that seem like views into another world, to pedestrian beginner efforts that are a couple of talking heads with word balloons.  When someone is starting out and selling DIY books for a couple of bucks I don’t really have a problem remedial page efforts.  No one is great when they start out.

But when it comes to people working on nationally distributed books,with household name characters in them, from one of the big 2 publishers, in full glossy stock at 4-6 dollars a copy…you should really expect some effort and skill.

You should be getting more for your dough than books that are essentially one splash page after the next with the purpose being movie poster practice instead of creating an imaginary world to capture the readers imagination.  You should be getting more than pages like this

Briefly let me just say that people should leave the joke telling to the professionals.  This joke is so-so and not worth taking up an entire page.  Beyond that, someone actually skilled in comedy writing could have punched it up about a dozen different ways so that the so-so joke was actually better than someone who just started out selling copies of books made at kinkos would have done.  BEYOND THAT…I saw this and thought “hmm…sure seems to me I’ve seen that gag before on a movie” .  Turns out I’ve seen a similar set up at least two other times ( DIE HARD 3, I still know what you did last summer).  In fact if you punch in “it’s not my blood” into a search engine, you’ll get a few more places it was used.

BUT…these things happen.  Something takes root in your brain and you put it down on paper forgetting you heard it somewhere else.  Happened to me once.  First year of A.L. I used a line ” that’s someone else’s department”  turns out I heard it on a movie “real men” not exactly used in the same situation, but the gag was basically the same and it was enough for me to redouble my efforts and from then on pull any gag even remotely similar whether I had heard it before or even heard it AFTER I was finished with the story but the book was not yet published.  I’ve probably pulled 50 pages of stuff that I genuinely came up with on my own but then saw somewhere else before my gag go to print…but that’s just me, i have integrity.  SO…the writer stepped in it, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt against willful plagiarism…but NOT for using a lame gag.

THE REAL PROBLEM THOUGH…IS THE “ILLUSTRATION”.  The “illustrator” did ZERO to help the gag. and in fact only drew about 25% of an actual page.  Drew Hawkman twice, the background once and the other guy four times ( sort of).  Drew 7 images…and cut and paste them…and took your money.

You want an even more stark example of how detached this illustrator is from the story that is supposed to be being told?…correct me if I’m wrong but a key element of this gag is Hawkman is COVERED IN BLOOD…How about maybe a panel dedicated to showing Hawkman covered in blood?! hmm? maybe?  Maybe do that instead of just drawing hawkman and letting the colorist put some red spots on him?  Personally…if I was told to do something with this I wouldn’t even show hawkman from the neck down until after the second guy points out he’s covered in blood.  Hide that until it’s mentioned and then pan out so you see how dramatic/out of the ordinary the fact that he’s covered in blood is.  Whatever, there’s a bunch of better ways of approaching this than this cut and past hack job.  Hell for all we know this image of hawkman was cut from some other scene or story.  Did this guy just glance at the script and see “hawkman at a table” and stop reading after that or what?!

This is pathetic…flat out pathetic.  This is a NATIONALLY DISTRIBUTED COMIC BOOK BY ONE OF THE TWO LARGEST PUBLISHERS.  This isn’t the bush leagues.  You people should not be putting up with this garbage…

and you don’t have to, here is a page from the previous issue of Arsenic Lullaby.

 A solid gag no doubt.  It’s what is called a juxtaposition joke , or combining two concepts.  In this case knife throwing and a circumcision.  The last panel would be good on its own, and the second from last defiantly helps, but it is the long lead up that really gives spin to the curve ball.  Three tiers of panels that has your mind going down the path of -what sort of magic or act could be taking the place of this Great Duranti?  His anger and curiosity becomes the readers, as you sympathize a bit with him making his case.  Being replaced is a standard problem, he is reacting in a standard way that we can relate to, and we wait with our minds set on “standard”…looking for a fastball, and getting a curve ball.   All that lead up though can get boring and lose the reader’s interest, if you don’t know what you are doing, and put the right about of care into everything…which I do…

That was probably a little dry and a bit too in-depth, but the POINT is…the is a reason Arsenic Lullaby is one of the best book out there.  Back us on kickstarter and you’ll have a book unlike any other.  It’s well illustrated and DAMN funnyIt takes 10-15 hours to illustrate a page…so trust me, if it ain’t funny…I’m not wasting my time on it.

It’s already funded, so there is no risk now , but Time  is running out

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