Monday, September 7, 2015

Sunday Revue September 6th: West

Hang On To Your Fur Hats, Ladies And Gents

We're Going

There are places in every world where humans were never really meant to go. There, only the tough, the brave or the crazy live; the hard headed and the deadly, the heroic and the desperate.
This is one such story. It's the story of a man called Jed, and the secrets of his icy world. And I can't get enough of it.
The creation of Kate Slinger, West can be found on Tumblr  or on Taptastic.
If you mixed Jack London's themes, the stagecraft and silent menace of a Clint Eastwood movie, and the clarity of very cold air, you might, if you were lucky, get West. It's one of the most powerful stories I've read in a while, and for unexpected reasons. 

The Rating

A powerful, stark and evocative story.

The Raves

To explain my love of West, I'll begin by showing my readers this.

In one very short comic, all of the strengths of West are summed up. Wonderful use of expression both in face and body language? Check. Beautiful understanding of line, form, and composition? Check. AMAZING use of light quality? Check. Great use of dialogue? Check.

The dialogue manages to convey an amazing amount of information in quick, compact phrases, and still manage to help power characterization through use of phrasing and word choice. Oh, and did I mention it's amusing too? It is. The little bits of exposition needed for this story are quick, stark, perfectly fitted into the story and to the point. You don't need a lot of words when you're as good as the creator of West.
The plot's simple, but powerful: danger in a dangerous land. And a lot of the storytelling is done through body language and expression. I usually seperate my analysis of a comic into thoughts on the art and thoughts on the storytelling, but you just can't do that here. The story IS the art, the art IS the story. So much of what you need to know is shown not by words, but by the sights the protagonist sees, his body language and the expressions on his face.
The composition and framing is a key character in its own right in this story, and Slinger has NAILED it. I've rarely seen art convey vast, barren expanses so viscerally and so well. You feel as if you should see your breath when you look at some of these pictures. I thought about these things as I perused pages one through twelve...

And then the creator added color on page thirteen. And I fell in love. Yep. Head over heels. Hands down. No question. I was hooked by the beauty, fascinated by the secrets hinted at. And it only gets better.

The Razzes

Funnily enough, I've got nothing to say in terms of improvement about the art, the style or the writing. (well, except AMAAAAAZING, but I said that didn't I?) . What I will suggest to the creator is this: please, please clean up your digital branding. Here's why: I've been waiting to dive into this work for a while. I as a reader had the name 'West' jotted down to look up. So I mosey over to Google and type in West webcomic, right?
And I get....zilch.
After a good amount of hunting around, I managed to unearth a bookmarked link in my computer's metaphorical dusty back cupboard. It took so long because the hosting site isn't called West, and it's not on a central site either.
By the way, there's extra goodies if you go to the Stoneglobe
 Deviantart page! 
 On Tumblr, the body of work's Stoneglobe. 
On Taptastic it's West all right, then on Deviantart it's Stoneglobe again. 
Annnnd on Facebook the creator goes by ScampiCub. 

Here's a suggestion: if you want people to look you up, make yourself easy to look up! Don't make readers scramble and bang their heads trying to remember 'crap what was the OTHER name she goes by?!' It's a good way to lose readers. There is another, analog comic called West and if the creator went with something different to avoid mix ups I as a reader understand....buuuuut choose something and stick with it across platforms. PLEASE.
My only other complaint?
'Waaah I want more and there isn't any more and when do I get another page waaah!'
Ahem. That is all.


  1. So glad that Kates work has got the credit it deserves. My love of her work is her use of colour and shading. Gets to me every time. Congratulations Kate on an excellent review.xx

    1. Exactly why I reviewed West; more people need to see Kate's awesome stuff!

  2. Really lovely art on this one, was following the art alone before I knew it was a comic!


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