Posted by: Graeme McMillan on June 17, 2007
Oh, irony of ironies (Alanis Morrisette-style, that is); less than a month after Jeff (newly and surprisingly returned below!) told me about his fasting/cleansing ritual and I responded that I couldn’t imagine going a week without eating real food, dental surgery lands me in a state where I can’t eat real food for a week. Or solid food, at least. Never mind the pain pills – although they’re enough to make me wobble when I try to stand up – or the fact that I literally can’t remember much about Thursday after they put the eyemask on me and told me to relax, pre-op, this is the legacy of my dental surgery, I think.
All the better to talk about a shitty comic, then.
As soon as I first heard about Marvel’s new “Marvel Illustrated” line, my heart sank. It’s not because I have a problem with the idea of adapting classic works of literature into comic form, although I kind of do (Because I find cross-media adaptations in general kind of weird; if you like a movie, why do you want to read a novel or a comic that tries to recreate that experience and will, inevitably, fail?), but because of Marvel’s formula for the line: Take Roy Thomas and add a relatively untried art team and let them loose on the property. Which isn’t to say that it couldn’t work, because there are all kinds of wonderful artists out there who haven’t had much play from Marvel, but at the same time, there’s so much potential for disaster. For an illustration of the latter, all you have to do is pick up TREASURE ISLAND #1.
It’s pretty hard to say how much the art of Mario Gully – the artist behind Image’s The Ant – and Pat Davidson, and the coloring of A. Crossley completely undermines the book. It’s not just that the look of the whole comic doesn’t sell the story in the slightest, in terms of action (the scene of the mother fainting towards the end of the book is hilarious in how badly it’s executed; literally, she’s just suddenly upside down and seemingly floating above the ground) or tone – although in both respects the art and coloring are complete failures – but more that the book looks, more than anything, like one of the Malibu comics from the early ’90s. With all overly glossy computer color and linework that is entirely inappropriate for the subject matter or even the timeframe, how the book looks is offputting enough to make reading the book surprisingly difficult, and even if Thomas’s script had been better than merely workmanlike, wouldn’t have been enough to elevate the book above mediocre. When the visuals for such a classic tale are so incredibly offkey, it’d be unfair to say that the book is anything better than Crap.