Lightning Round II: Carter/O’Donnell, Ineke, Baddeley & Jackson

Posted by on August 4th, 2010 at 5:17 AM

Rob offers more short comments on various comics.  Included are Perfect Agent #1, by Greg Carter & Stephanie O’Donnell; Blossom On A Thornbush, by Ibrahim R. Ineke; Silent-V Part One, by Kyle Baddeley; and Goblin Hall, by Rob Jackson.

Perfect Agent #1, by Greg Carter & Stephanie O’Donnell. This is essentially a minicomic ashcan version of an “online graphic novel” about a freelance spy/assassin. Carter’s story has painfully clunky dialogue even as he’s trying to evoke a feeling of a female Jason Bourne. O’Donnell’s art has a crude, primitive energy that at least makes the strip interesting to look at, and the character designs are so bizarre as to be occasionally compelling.  Both writer and artist have a lot of work to do to create something that goes beyond sketchbook-crude.

Blossom On A Thornbush, by Ibrahim R. Ineke.  Ineke is a painter slowly making the transition to comics.  Not surprisingly, his comics are jammed with striking individual images but are thin on narrative structure.  This comic starts with a beautiful woman standing in a swamp and then suddenly switches to an explosion, working backward in time to reveal that a plane has crashed.  This seems to be more about an experiment with the use of light and darkness than a real story, but his brushwork and clever use of correction fluid are simply treats for the eyes.

The page-to-page transitions detailing the accident are simply astonishing.  His figurework is a bit too idealized, though one might guess that was the point in this comic.  Ineke seems to be moving into narrative structures slowly and hesitantly, preferring to err on the side of obliqueness at the moment.  That’s a strategy that I can get behind, but I’d like to either see him treat his images in a more poetic manner or else start to attach them to a more conventional story structure.  Either way, I’d like to see more from this Dutch artist.

Silent-V Part One, by Kyle Baddeley.  Baddeley claims Gary Panter and “early Chester Brown” as influences, and that can be seen in this lo-fi, scribbly bit of weirdness.  Like Ed The Happy Clown, all sorts of strange things happen to its bizarre lead characters (a man with bloodshot eyes and a buzzard) as the reader is plunked straight into their adventures with no warning.  Like in a Jimbo comic, the series features grotesque, distorted characters doing odd and disturbing things.  Baddeley has a nicely developed sense of the absurd, like a buzzard grabbing a baby with a broken arm (shades of Chet once again) and using him to bomb a clocktower.  The major deficiency of this comic is all of the white negative space.  Baddeley’s figures simply aren’t strong enough to command a page at this point.  I rarely encourage young artists to add more detail (most over-render), but if Baddeley is going to draw readers into his world, he needs it to be a place that is actually lived in by his characters.

Goblin Hall, by Rob Jackson.  This is the latest in Jackson’s demented attempts at a fantasy narrative, fusing it with the general awfulness of medieval life.  There’s little that’s romantic in this story of a lord coming home from a long war to find that his son is gearing up to marry a mysterious woman.  The woman turns out to be the daughter of the king of the goblins, which later leads to unexpected problems and plot twists.  Like a Trondheim/Sfar entry in their Dungeon series, Jackson combines funny drawings, quirky quotidian moments that provide laughs and a straight-ahead attitude toward action.  Jackson’s art is crude but perfectly suited to how he tells the story; indeed, the ugliness of his characters fits the muddy, grungy world lived in by its characters.  In many respects, Goblin Hall is the most well-developed of Jackson’s stories in terms of plot and character, with fewer random elements and crazy side-bars.  It still has Jackson’s sense of humor and style all over it, only a bit more restrained.

copyright 2010 by the respective artists

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