MISC. NEW BOOKS
Written and Drawn by Various
Published by Various
Reviewed by Marc Mason
Look! New stuff from various folks and places. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Starting with MERMIN #5 (Tragic Planet) is always a good idea, as I’ve been enjoying Joey Weiser’s nifty minicomic from the beginning. The story of a young boy from an undersea kingdom and his attempt to join human society has worked from the start, mixing humor and pathos in perfect amounts. This final issue of volume one finds the stakes at their highest, as bad guys from Mermin’s home have come to drag him back, and it has placed his human friends in danger. There’s a surprising amount of action this time around, and it has a shocking amount of scale to it- I wasn’t even truly sure that all of the human cast would actually survive. But all that really does is show off just how good a cartoonist Joey Weiser really is. In five minicomics he has shown a massive amount of variety in what he can bring to the page, and as a result, he’s delivered a book that I suspect will soon be collected under one cover and be a smashing sales success to the all-ages crowd. I know I’ll want one.
Speaking of good all-ages books, FRAGGLE ROCK VOL. 2 #1-2 from Archaia fits that description well. This miniseries brings to life another classic Jim Henson creation, reminding us that he didn’t peak solely with THE MUPPETS. These characters have a wonderful life and charm of their own, and the variety of talent writing these tales has done a good job of creating interesting stories that captivate the reader, as well as providing an interesting “moral” at the end that evokes what the TV series was all about. Whether it’s about the importance of embracing your own dreams, or understanding that friends and family are more important than potential fame and fortune, these pieces just work. The artists do their job well, too, and it was quite easy to sit back and enjoy just how pretty the whole shebang looks. Fun for everybody.
Shifting the focus to the topic of actually making comics, EXTREME PERSPECTIVE FOR ARTISTS (Watson-Guptill) by David Chelsea is a stunning how-to book, though I have to warn you in advance- this one is for advance level artists only. Done in graphic novel format, Chelsea takes you through chapters how to truly take your work to the next level. Topics include “Extra Vanishing Points”, “Fisheye Perspective”, “Cylindrical Perspective”, “Reflections”, and many others, and he uses comics panels to demonstrate how they look first, then he lays out a drawing lesson that allows the reader to test these techniques on their own. The book also comes with a DVD that includes a perspective grid and guides you through attempting the material he’s talking about. Chelsea is impressively thorough, and if I had an ounce of artistic talent, I have no doubt I’d use this book heavily.