Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday Revue February 27th: I, Mummy


Come And See The Amazing Mummified Girl! 

Roll Up, Roll Up Ladies And Gents!

An insidious plot, a far flung future, an imperiled Empire, a ghastly secret of the ancient world and a malodorous murder. All this and more is inquired into by Miss Jane Webb, a young mortally inconvenienced lady of good breeding, with the assistance of her dear chickadee and her most obstreperous ghost. Dear readers, I invite you to enjoy this most delicious treat with me.

The creation of Andy Purviance, 'I, Mummy' can be found here
 I, Mummy captures the art and emotional tenor in both its writing and artistic style, harking back to the days of Beno and Dandy, The Slopers, and the original Popeye cartoons and Jules Verne novels that our great-grandparents read as children.

At the center of this story is Miss Jane Webb, a thirteen year old tear-away from a family of privilege and standing in Crater City. It's the 22nd century, the Queen is on her throne, all's right with the world, and Jane is sick of school. The story begins innocently enough, but soon involves ancient Egyptian cursed trinkets, terrible powers, and anarchist plots. Oh my, and me without my smelling salts!

In these pages, you get a glimpse of what earlier ages thought the future would be, with personal zeppelins scudding through the sky, gilt and brass contraptions serving every whim and science at the service of polite society. The style makes you want to say things like 'gadzooks!' and watch Hugo while sipping tea once you've finished reading it.

The Rating

A very accomplished and attractive piece, I must say!

The Raves

'I, Mummy' does a great job of capturing both the flavors and the cultural tone of pre-World War culture and giving it a lovely steampunk spin. It's even managed to capture the clean, direct storytelling style so popular in the storytelling of Jules Verne and his contemporaries or the better modern steampunk writers like Gail Carriger, without losing characterization and storytelling craft. The characters aren't shockingly in-depth, but they're nicely well rounded, and the story's writing fits well the outlook of the sixteen-year-old protagonist who's just realizing that life has more complexities than she'd ever realized.
The story is well paced, never slowing down but never making you feel like it's rushing to the next big 'event'. One of its greatest accomplishments is in adding details to nearly every panel that paint this strange world without making us deal with world-building overload. This is done with deft use of  frame and perspective, illustrated nicely in the strip below. 
Almost Myazaki in style, 'Mummy' allows us to see this world as a whole rather than a tight circle focused on the main character, and I admired that quite a lot.

But I have to admit, for me the star of this show is the perfect capturing of the feeling that this page was just pulled out of a 1910 comic for our enjoyment. I'd love to know what combination of artistic medium, 
filters and textures the artist used to so perfectly emulate a style not seen for years, but they've done a great job of it. That vintage print job underlines and emphasizes all the other stylistic elements beautifully, allowing this comic to truly feel like it walked out of another age. The research the author obviously put into what the Victorians thought the future would be definitely didn't hurt either. 
Put all that together, and you get a story that romps along like your favorite tales of adventure from childhood.

The Razzes

Stylistically, the art is on the way to being really great, and by most recent strip I could see my few issues self-correcting. The overall art is good, though there's still some room for improvement on facial expressions and backdrops, which occasionally hint at being afterthoughts.It strikes you oddly as naive and well done at the same time, and while that's charming, it also sometimes weakens the work a little. But aside from the occasional stance or facial expression that needed some work, I had little to complain of.
The one thing that did consistently get on my nerves was the author's attempt to write in a lexicon that isn't naturally theirs. Most of the time it enhances the style, but occasionally there's the distinct feeling that the author just went looking for grandiloquent words to use, and it gets a little overdone. I found myself getting irritated by the end of the comic because it came off as false, especially when used by younger characters.The story is pretty enough without needing to wear so much gaudy ornamentation. 

The Revue

'I, Mummy' is a light, sweet read that will make you grin and dream of vanished days. I recommend it whole-heartdly. 


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