Saturday, October 22, 2016

Saturday Revue Octobe 21st: Moses Jones,Apocalyptic Mama

A Girl's Gotta Do...

What A Girl's Gotta Do...

Modern parenting is hard, and it just keeps getting harder. Teething troubles. Deadbeat dads. Zombies?
But Moses Jones has four mouths to feed, Madonna the Katana and a lot of moxy. She isn't letting a few undead slow her down. 'Moses Jones: Apocalyptic Mama' is her story. Written by Em Mccarty, this is zombie dystopia as you've never seen it before.

The Rating

Hmmm....close, but no katana.

The Raves

At its best,  'Moses Jones' reminds me of  the art therapy journal of someone coping with trauma: raw, beautifully lucid and painfully candid. The story revolves around the deep emotional bonds Moses forms, and when it stays on those themes it's wise, moving and meaningful. The emotional content packed into the work is palpable even in the simplest phrases, and the piece really does make you feel for the characters when it stays focused.
The art style is a pen-and ink lucid dream, as raw in its execution as a piece of folk art and as bluntly powerful when at its best. Sacrificing finesse for emotion, it delivers a gut shot that reminds me of Cheyenne artwork: its stark simplicity doesn't give you any wiggle room. You have to face it head on. This story pulls no punches, in storytelling or in style.

The Razzes

Unfortunately, those powerful punches are often thrown with the finesse of a wild haymaker, and too often they miss the mark. I admire the style that Mccarty is aiming for: the wistful lucid dreaming of a sensitive woman in a dystopian world, coping with her issues through her art. But both the storytelling and the art have a long road ahead of them before they can support such a powerful tale.
Here's my advice: do a lot of study on the anatomy of the human face and head. Here's the basics:

1. The eyes sit at the vertical center of the head or just above, about halfway between the top of the skull (not the hairline) and the bottom of the chin.

2. The bottom of the nose (not the bottom of the nose tip, which can be angled however) sits halfway between the brow and the chin.

3. The ears stretch from the eyes to the bottom of the nose.

4. The width of the eyes is roughly 1/5 of the distance from outer ear to outer ear. In wider faces, this doesn't apply.

5. The eyes are one eye-width apart.

6. The width of the nostrils is the same as the width between the eyes.

7. The center of the lips is located 1/3 of the way down the distance between the bottom of the nose and the chin.

8. The width of the lips (from side to side) is roughly pupil to pupil.

Fix the faces and the rest of the art will look at least twice as good.
Now, storytelling is harder to fix, but  my main advice is this: KISS. Keep it simple sir. Too often, the storytelling rambles off hither and yon: into the lives of side characters who aren't even named at first, into the past, off to moon about an absent lover. All these storylines have their place, but they feel more like loosely connected strands than a story fabric. I understand that the creator is aiming for a personal journal feel, but sacrificing story for style is a cardinal sin of comic making. Tighten the story up, or you're going to lose your readers.

The Revue

I'm keeping my eye on this one. With a little more attention and practice, it'll be shooting off zombie heads at two hundred paces!

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