Friday, October 24, 2008

Volume Three, Number Fifteen

A few weeks back I received a package in the mail from my buddy Dave Owens who lives in London Ontario, Canada. For those of you who aren't familiar with Dave here's a primer.

Dave and I first met in the fall of 1994 when I was living in London. He had read an article in the London Free Press newspaper about one of my comics endeavours at that time and decided to contact me. The moment Dave and I met we became instant friends. Not only did-and continues to-he have a love of comics, the comics industry and comics history as I did and do but he was and is also an extremely talented artist. Over the years since our first meeting Dave and I have worked on a number of projects together including "Solomon Wyrd" and "Mister Chameleon" (for Blue Moon Comics) and "Young Immortals" (for Silver Griffin Comics) on which he provided some much-needed plot assists.

When not using his talents in the comics industry Dave also does personalized pet portraits for people, designs cards and has published, under his Nebula Studio imprint, an excellent science fiction fanzine titled "Science Fiction Darkside" (for which I wrote an article or two). To say that he is an extremely talented person is a definite understatement. Add to that that he has absolutely no ego, a great sense of humour and a heart of gold all in all he's one heck of a great guy.

That's Dave. Anyway, the arrival of the package a few weeks ago was not totally unexpected as Dave had previously mentioned that he was working on something and would send me a copy of it once he had completed and published it. So I figured this must be that project. And it was as when I got the package home I immediately opened it to find a spankin' new copy of a small press, magazine-sized publication titled "Rogue Tomato: The Hunt Begins" that was published under Dave's imprint, written by someone named Rose Brandon and illustrated and lettered by Dave Owens.

So I immediately read the comic and, well, let me say all the good stuff I have to say about it first and that good stuff is about Dave's work. This is one of the best pieces of comics draftsmanship that I have seen from Dave up to this point in his career. His panel design, visual work and lettering is top-notch.

As for the writing, ahem, hmmm, that's another story all together. I have no idea as to who this Rose Brandon is for starters and I even have less of an idea as to what she's attempting to do with regards to this story. All I do know about it is that she is in definite need of some instruction on the art of comic book writing as this tale is bad, bad, bad. But you don't have to take my word for it. Let me give you the plot and you can decide for yourself.

I think this is supposed to be a humour comic-or is it a slice of life-but I'm not entirely sure. The story opens with someone named Beanpod Berry sitting in his apartment playing a video game when the phone suddenly rings. He answers it and on the other end is his girlfriend, Rose Bumble. Rose tells him she is going to bake some tomato muffins and bring them over to his place. While Beanpod is-for obvious reasons-a tad squeamish about trying the concoction he keeps that to himself and says he'll see her later.

Hours pass and Rose doesn't show up so he decides to go over to her place to see if she's okay. He knocks on the door and after a minute Rose answers looking all frazzled and stressed. Apparently can't find her tomato to make the muffins with. Beanpod suggests that maybe she should forget about baking and maybe they could have some popcorn and watch a movie or maybe go over to his place to play video games. After his suggestion is rebuffed with a glare Beanpod decides to help her find the tomato. They enter Rose' apartment-which is dark for some reason-and search a variety of places for the missing tomato. Then, when Beanpod opens up a kitchen cupboard door a sinister looking tomato with an extremely evil smile leaps out at them, bounces on the floor and laughs. Then Beanpod steps on the tomato, squashing it. The End.

That's it. That's the story. I could go on and on about what I find wrong with this piece of writing but why bother. The dialogue wasn't any good either by the way and to be honest with you if not for Dave's superb artwork I wouldn't even be talking about "Rogue Tomato: The Hunt Begins".

As I said, Rosemary Brandon needs some lessons in the art of comic book writing. This is terrible and if you ever see it anywhere do not buy it. Unless of course you want to see Dave's great work. But unfortunately even that couldn't save this mess. It's a total waste of time.

That's all for this installment of E-Dispatches. Next week I'll be reviewing "Wall of Angels" by Twentytosix Books. Meanwhile, if you'd like me to review something of yours feel free to snailmail it to me at...Jonathan A. Gilbert/2-225 Colborne St./Box 10/Port Stanley, Ontario/N5L 1C2/Canada . And if you are mailing it from outside of Canada be sure to attach a customs declaration slip and mark it as a gift. See everyone next week.

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