A few weeks ago I discovered the graphic novel of local1 writer and artist, Steven Edwards. I got chatting with him on Facebook, through a comments thread about some topic I’ve since forgotten and was interested enough to pick up a copy of his debut comic, Fallen Idols.
I meant to review it in time for my June Newsletter, but between the prelaunch activities for The Weaver’s Boy, and some unexpected alpha reading I did for another author, I didn’t make it. Today, I finally got the chance to read it on my commute home from work.
I should preface this review by stating this is the first comic book I’ve read in over twenty years. While I don’t have a problem with the medium, comics have never really engaged me as a narrative form like books.
So, thus said, here’s my review.
I read the comic on my iPad mini, since I don’t have a Kindle2. Fallen Idols, is a fixed-layout PDF, which I’ve since learnt is commonly used for digital comics. Unfortunately, though no fault of Fallen Idols’ author, the iPad mini with its 8inch screen isn’t a ideal for reading comics. I did quite a bit of squinting at the tiny text and had to put on my glasses.
Fallen Idols is very short — about a fifteen minute read. It promises to be the start of a series. Though the story is brief, it was compelling enough for me to stick with it. It went in a direction I wasn’t really expecting, and I enjoyed this fresh approach.
The story has a whimsy and playfulness that I think younger, less critical readers will enjoy. In fact, it’s the sort of thing I could see my boys enjoying when they grow out of Captain Mack.
Part of what made it compelling was the world-building. Despite the story’s low page count, it manages to pack in quite a lot of information about the setting, that I think will stand it in good stead as the series grows.
What I enjoyed most was the artwork.
I liked the style and appreciated the artist’s skill and attention to detail. The layout serves to move the eye from one cell to another. The typography is decent and I had no problem following the flow of dialogue — though the use of uppercase for everything got a little tiresome3 after a few pages.
Unfortunately, despite liking the overall story, it was let down a little by the text. I picked up several typos, inconsistencies, modernisms and sloppy constructions that detracted from my enjoyment. I was left wishing the author had applied the same craft and attention to detail to his prose as he had in his artwork — or at least engage a professional editor.
Nevertheless despite this minor criticism, I enjoyed Fallen Idols overall, thanks to the gorgeous artwork and the interesting story and world. I’m curious to see where the story goes as more volumes are published.
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