10 August 2007

Discounted Irregulars

Rue Morgue's review of The Irregulars, posted by publisher Dark Horse (of all people), sums up a recurring flaw of this 128-page comic for me: "the black and white medium often times works against [artist Bong Dazo's] busy paneling."

Put another way, I had a hard time telling whether the mustachioed, heavyset man in panel A was the same as the mustachioed, heavyset man in panel B, particularly on pages with several mustachioed, heavyset men. Ditto tall, thin men with no facial hair; boys with round faces and caps; and so on.

As for the story by Steven-Elliot Altman and Michael Reaves, it seemed a little too eager to set up a series for Sherlock Holmes's mudlark assistants. There are episodes introducing their special talents, but those don't all play a role in this book. The core story itself doesn't rise much above a warm hash of its sources (Doyle, Lovecraft, more Doyle).

Indeed, one lesser-noted possible reason that comics haven't gotten the critical respect that their fans think they deserve is that many are based on previously-created characters and storylines. Not that there's anything wrong with offering new takes on established legends and characters. But our culture usually values creative originality over creative derivation.

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