Friday, November 23, 2012

Comic Reviews: Saga & The Storyteller


    I was hearing some pretty high praise for this series.  Brian K. Vaughan wrote one of the best comic series ever, Y: The Last Man.  And I love me some science fiction.  But right from the start, I wasn’t digging this.  The first thing one notices, of course, is the art.  I don’t like it.  At all.  The pencil/ink work looks fine I guess, but the coloring is disgusting.  Some of the character design is OK, but I think conceptually there’s too much silly.  Like an anime, it jumbles fantasy and science fiction pointlessly.  Why do some people have animal heads, some have wings, and others have TV faces?  Don’t know.  And it doesn’t seem to effect them in any way or mean anything.

    The story, about two soldiers from opposing forces who fall in love, have a baby, and flee for their lives, doesn’t break any new ground.  The incongruously colloquial, snarky dialog feels totally wrong.  And annoyingly, the only two characters I found especially interesting are dead by the end of the trade.  Humph.

Saga Volume One
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
ISBN: 978-1-60706-601-9

The Storyteller

    Jim Henson was and frankly is very important to my development as a viewer, a reader, and a writer.  One of my favorite shows as a kid was The Muppets.  One of my favorite fantasy films is The Dark Crystal.  And one of the best shows from the 80s was The Storyteller.  And after Archaia’s amazing Dark Crystal graphic novel, I was jazzed to check out this anthology.

    Well, it’s not nearly as strong as the one for The Dark Crystal.  But it is nice.  The stories are brief and the styles diverse.  Old Fire Dragon is pretty good, another tale about the storied life of Jack.  But the best of the volume is certainly The Witch Baby, which is based on an unused script from the show by one of the programs strongest voices, the late Anthony Minghella.  It is the only one that got the dialog of the Storyteller himself right.

    Like most anthologies, the work is uneven.  And as a whole, I found it a bit of a disappointment.  I’d rather have had three really good stories, on par with The Witch Baby, than the numerous very short stories that do appear.  And while some of the art is interesting, none of it is especially good.

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller
Authors: Anthony Minghella, etc.
Artists:  Ronan Cliquet, etc.
Publisher: Archaia
ISBN: 978-1-936393-24-4


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