Signs and Portents



I'm the Wife of Brian, "Mr. Noetic Concordance". Stretching that Julian May reference-that-only-about-five-people-will-get to the breaking point, you may just call me "Atoning Unifex". I'm atoning because I've been saying I'm going to join Noetic Concordance and post comic booky love for a long time now and am just now getting around to it. So here it is, my first post-- let's please have the rotten tomato-throwers to my right, livestock-hurlers to my left, thank you.

I just read the 50-cent Preview Edition Buckaroo Banzai comic, and I did not get my money's worth.

A quote from the "Dodging Bullets on the Comeback Trail" essay at the back pretty well summarizes what I found wrong with the comic:

"One remarkable aspect of Buckaroo's return to comic books is the degree to which the original creators of the property are involved in every step of the process. 'Rick [Richter] has been very hands on in guiding the look of the project, especially in the early days,' noted penciller Stephen Thompson. ' He okayed every design and threw in a lot of great ideas that would spark your imagination. Even though we're past the design stage, he still goes over every page and gives his two cents. Sometimes ten.'"

Yes, this book *looks* like a filmmaker (as opposed to experienced comics writers and artists) had his hands all over it. The action is disjointed from panel to panel, it's difficult to follow what's going on. The visual coherence isn't there. I found myself thinking, if this were on film, we'd be seeing the intervening frames which would help all this make sense. I found myself wishing it were a film so that I wouldn't keep having to read pages twice to figure them out.

As it turns out, there is a reason for the first few pages to feel so disjointed, which I won't spoil here, but allow me to humbly submit that it was a damn poor choice for a preview selection. Previews are supposed to make you want to buy the comic... this one made me want to avoid it.

Diehard Buckaroo Banzai fans may end up buying this book just for sheer nostalgia or fandom or whatnot, but my being a fan of well-told stories in the comics medium trumps my Buckaroo fangirl-ness. (And I am one disappointed fangirl!) The art and the story fragment in the preview-- and now that I mention it, the writing and the character interactions-- turned me off, and the tone of the essay and character dossiers at the end struck me as self-congratulatory. I may pick up the first issue despite my misgivings, just to give it a fair shake, but I think I'll be bending over backwards to do so. After reading this Preview Edition, I'm not sure how many other comics readers will do the same.


1 comment:

Vaklam said...

My disappointment in this preview was even greater than my disappointment in the commentary track of the Buckaroo Banzai DVD. It's like Richter did this one cool thing and keeps screwing it up by staying involved in its evolution.

He's like a B-List George Lucas.