Splitting the Proverbial Comic Book Baby
To drop a book or not drop a book…I wish it was a question. Instead, it is a several month dilemma of weighing factors of quality, quantity, and more. I buy comics that I have bought for sixteen straight years – no questions asked. There are books that I drop after the first issue. However, the hardest books to deal with are those that have something I really like, but also something that makes me not want to even open the cover. Prophet and Doctor Who are two examples of this current dilemma.
Prophet is a reimagining of a character created by Rob Liefeld back in the earlier days of Image comics. It is a book I want to support – independent creators trying something new; beautiful art and imagination that expand what a comic can be; and something that is deeper and more intense than a typical 20 page flip-through. I open up each issue and love looking at it.
It has a unique stay that brings all the weirdness to life. The art team of rotating penciled featuring Roy, Milonogiannis, and Dalrymple have created a beautiful universe to play in. However, I have no idea what is going on and remember nothing from the previous issue, even if I read it only hours earlier.
Brandon Graham is an interesting creator that I really want to like. I have bought King City and Multiple Warheads. Some of the themes are utterly fascinating. But I don’t care. It reads hollow to me. I understand why people love this book and I see all of the interesting turns Graham is taking. But it just isn’t for me. And I should not continue to spend $4 hoping that the book will finally click with me.
But unlike a novel where I can just walk away and not think twice about disregarding something that other people obviously would like, comics makes me want to support products that break the mold so that publishers continue to break the mold. The fear is that they will just release another Green Lantern series or an Avengers spinoff, so anything unique deserves my money, even if I don’t like it. Weird, huh?
Unlike Prophet, I love and get the concept of Doctor Who. I watch the television series and think these characters would translate well to comics. But I am again disappointed. However, Andy Diggle’s writing is not the problem in this recent issue. He provides the lightness to the characters as they exist on screen. He creates a nice setup with the wise cracking alien, a femme fatale, a ship captain, and various peripheral characters. It hits the twist at the end of the first issue to get wrapped up in the next issue. It has great pace and charming dialogue.
But the art is incredibly distracting. It looks incredibly rushed. But remember this is a two-issue arc. Josh Adams started with this issue and it looks completely rushed. If this was a rush job by IDW, they need to work on their editorial mandates right away. This is unacceptable work. If this is how Josh Adams wants his characters to look, then he may need to reexamine his motives.
For example, the aliens have nothing unique about them. One is a short gray blob. The artist can do anything. Look at what any of the Prophet artists do with this freedom to create above. The characters has interesting aspects to their costumes. A lot can be read into them by a quick glance. All of the aliens here look like they have to meet the BBC budget guidelines from 1974. There are never any backgrounds. It is always just a color wash. Again, look at any of the work in Prophet. If this is written to be 1974 or low-budget, then I suppose I am not the market for this book, but it is incredibly distracting to never have nice backgrounds in panels or to have any imagination going into any of the character designs.
Additionally, below are pictures of how Rory and Amy look in the issue. This actually looks like something that the artist used a photo reference for. It has Amy’s inquisitive face and Rory looking at her with a little bit of awe and fear.
But they have different facial features as the story continues. I have no idea how tall or chubby Amy is from these drawings. Rory’s strong features get molded by clay into a blob. Amy’s arms come out at her at angles that don’t even make any sense
The art is incredibly rushed and incredibly lazy. And it makes me want to ditch the story. It is distracting and bothersome. Rory looks like and old man who is waiting for someone to feed him pudding and Amy went from being tall and thin and only a couple inches short than Rory to a fireplug with a square face. She looks like she was turned into an ape woman.