Archive for the 'Comic Book Reviews' Category

Feb 24 2010

The Society of Unordinary Young Ladies

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Wahab Algarmi put together a free comic, The Society of Unordinary Young Ladies, and would like you to read it.

Here are some impressions.

–The characterization for the four protagonists is handled fairly well.  In particular, I recommend page 21 as a dramatic portrayal of loyalty as a character trait.  Usually, I roll my eyes when authors say a character is “loyal”  because “loyal” characters rarely get opportunities to act differently than a super-bland protagonist.  In fiction, EVERYBODY will save friends in trouble, so  a character that is truly loyal needs to go beyond the norm.  It helps if the decision to help someone bears a high cost on the loyal character, something more definite than “it could be dangerous.”  In this case, a loyal protagonist spends crucial seconds tending to a dying teammate rather than trying to defuse a bomb.

–I wasn’t fond of the political edge. Among other things, it made the side-characters a bit cartoonish.

–The art was generally passable, but one of the four characters is sort of horrifying.  Natalie looks like a man in a wig!

–A “Charles in Charge” pun… What the hell?  That show got cancelled 20 years ago.

–I love the final panel on page 24. Great use of empty space.

–As far as cliffhangers go, the last page is okay.  It could have been more effective if it had foreshadowed more about the new girl, but the concept is okay.  Or at least, I *hope* the concept is okay, because the first issue of my comic book ends very similarly.

19 responses so far

May 21 2009

A brief review of Gigantic #1

Gigantic #1 is an issue that starts out spectacularly. I can’t think of any series that are as immediately engrossing. But, aside from the beginning, it was a disappointment. The main character has to be likable and stylish, and Gigantic is neither.

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5 responses so far

May 20 2009

A Writer’s Review of Invincible: What Went Right

Invincible is an ambitious and wildly uneven superhero series.  A lot of it is awful and a lot of it is incredible.  If you’re interested in what went horribly wrong, please see this separate review.

The plotting is generally quite good. The plot progresses in a natural and even way, which is almost unheard-of for an ongoing series. Most ongoing series pace themselves something like this: plot point! Filler arc! Filler arc! Plot point!


There is filler material, but it’s generally well-integrated with the recurring threads. Although characters are interrupted frequently by random events, it rarely feels like a “creature of the week.”


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2 responses so far

May 18 2009

A Writer’s Guide to Invincible’s Flaws

I’ve read the first thirty issues or so of Invincible.  A lot of it is awesome and a lot of it is an absolute trainwreck.  Here’s what I think went wrong.  (I’ve detailed its positives here).


Especially by issue 20, the story felt like it had ADD. The story flits around a lot; a character might be introduced for a few pages in issue 15 and he might make his next appearance a few issues later and actually matter a few issues after that.  This storytelling style is often effective, but it can get grating.  Let me demonstrate that by doing this review as a random series of paragraphs.  Take that, transitions!


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12 responses so far

Jan 20 2009

Comic Reviews: Atomic Robo 1-5

Atomic Robo is OK.  The writing is occasionally stylish but mostly forgettable.  Artistically, the main character is done pretty well and everyone else looks kind of awful.

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17 responses so far