Saturday, September 24, 2005


Proof of Concept

Proof of Concept
Written by Larry Young
Illustrated by Damian Couceiro, Kieron Dwyer, Steven Sanders, Paul Tucker, Jeff Johns, John Flynn and John Heebink

A while ago on a comic website Larry Young (publisher of ait/Planetlar) had a “column.” Unlike most comic columns Young just put a bunch of short scripts online and asked people to draw them with the intention of printing them in a collection. Each of the scripts was twelve pages long, and people had two or three weeks to draw them.

Each of the scripts is really just the first twelve pages of a longer idea. So these are really just teasers. The annoying thing is that the rest of the comics don’t exist. Young says that you can send him an email and if enough people request one of the ideas as a full GN then they’ll do it, but until then you’re left with a bunch of unfinished stories.

Kieron Dwyer draws these little two pagers between each script. They’re called “The Phone Call” and introduce each story as Young pitching the stories to an entertainment lawyer. Kind of lame, made only lamer by the fact that Dwyer just repeats the same panels over and over again. I guess he didn’t want to draw huge, half page pictures of people talking on the phone over and over again.

There is one complete story included here. Young used the opportunity to publish his and John Heebink’s “The Bod” originally published in Double Image issues 1-4 (and is like fifty pages). Sadly I don’t think it’s that good. It tells the story of this girl who gets turned invisible and becomes an actress. It starts okay, but then you get these ridiculous Jay Leno and Jerry Springer and Judge Judy scenes. I just didn’t care.

Okay, so how about the actual point of this collection: the five story excerpts. Well, they’re a mixed bag. Some are good and some aren’t… (I’ll go through them as they’re printed, not as the scripts were originally released online.)

“Hemogoblin” is the set in the future and features a vampire on the run from people a group of high-tech vampire hunters hired by rich people trying to gain the secret of immortality. It was drawn by Damian Couceiro and his art is pretty good, but I don’t think it’s great. The major problem with this script is that it doesn’t really get into the plot that much. It’s all setup. The high-tech vampire hunters only show up in the last panel, we don’t get to see them in action at all. Would I read more of this? Probably not.

“Zombie Dinosaur” is about…zombie dinosaurs. That’s about it really. This one was sort of different artwise, because young got Steven Sanders to draw it and then asked for people to ink it. The inking competition was Jeff Johns (who also drew one of the other scripts). The art for the people looks interesting and the zombie dinosaurs look cool. How’s the story? Again, hard to say, there really isn’t enough here to say. It didn’t really grab me though.

“The Camera” is about these kids who find a portal in their back yard. One of the kids jumps into the portal and the others put a video camera into it for a few minutes, only to have it come out with several hours of footage of their town on it. It’s a time portal. This comic is the reason I picked up the collection because the artist, Paul Tucker, is from St. John’s, and someone I played ultimate with. Amusingly while I’m now in Korea, he’s in Japan. Anyway, while I’ve seen some really nice art by Tucker, I though the art in this was terrible. I like the layouts, but I just can’t stand the art. The story’s sort of interesting, but the art ruins it for me. Tucker also drew all the other scripts and used to have them all on his website, but his website is now down and I didn’t have a chance to read them, damn.

“For the Time Being” is another time travel story about the crew of a spaceship that travel through time fixing temporal problems until their captain gets pulled through all of time and becomes the villain. The art by Jeff Johns is really, really good. It’s got an interesting style, and I really like it. The story’s a bit confusing (time travel stuff is tricky, as the intermediate pages point out), but I’d read more of this. The art pulls it through.

“Emancipating Lincoln” is a detective story set in a future populated entirely by clones of Abraham Lincoln. One of them finds a five dollar bill with his picture on it, and he hires a detective to find out what’s going on. John Flynn’s art is pretty good, it’s kind of scratchy, but I like it. The idea in this one is really interesting, and I think it’s pulled off pretty well.

So over all? I think each of the story ideas is pretty good, and the art is generally good, but I just didn’t like them that much. I guess I just don’t like Young’s writing that (and based on how I didn’t like Astronaut’s in Trouble that much either this doesn’t surprise me). This collection is an interesting idea, but I don’t think it was pulled off that well.

And I hate the paper this is paper this is printed on.

Originally when Young put up a new script he’d also put up examples of people that drew some of the scripts and critiqued them. That’s pretty cool. Unfortunately only the critiques are still there, the art (and only a couple of the scripts) are still up there. But they’re still worth reading. You can find them here.

Just a note, I’ll be updating monthly for the next… seven months or so. Hopefully longer. I’m in Korea, and getting English comics here is not very easy here (but I’ve got a big pile of backlog). Plus, since I can’t do the radio show anymore I need to review what I read. I’ll do comic based movie reviews sometimes too.


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