Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quick Hit Review: The Red Star #1

Created By: Christian Gossett
Written By: Bradley Kayl
3D Modeling By: Allen Coulter and Jon Moberly
Colors By: “Snakebite”
Letters By: Richard Starkings
Publisher: Image Comics

Image Comics, in my eyes, is the publisher who should be pushing the boundaries in terms of content, production and creator intent. I think this little book from 2000 hit that nail right on the head.

What is interesting about this comic is not so much in terms of story or idea (alternate world, alternate soviet Russia post-World War II), but in the way the comic has been produced. The Red Star is a book created entirely through means of digital expression rather than traditional methods. Now, before this comic book is completely disregarded, I must say that even though this comic relies more on 3D models than actual pencil work, it never really feels that way. There are no blocky, clean figures to be seen, and the actual visual representation has a nice smooth feel that looks like pencil – almost a feel of Pasqual Ferry in style (it is possible that there was some pencil work to lay the base of the art, but from the credits I read I only see, “3D Modeler” no “Penciled By”). The book is visually pleasing to say the least with its use of clean line and many wide shots – very cinematic in visual presentation.

The book is also very well written and constructed in terms of story. As mentioned: cinematic. The opening scene of the book is paced very well (a transition from a wide shot to give the scope and tone of the world, a very large concept, to a very small instance of a personal letter to give the audience a perspective). That transition, that way to bring the reader in is something I really appreciated because it shows to me that there are two important sides to this book: a single character and her journey and a larger world that provides the surface hook. It is great to see that sense of pacing and organization because with this type of project (big splash pages, heavy visuals), most of the time story structure and flow is left secondary.

It seems to me that this was a book looking at the future of comic book production, and maybe it tried to “usher that in” with the turn of the century. But, in the context of today, this book may have just been a bit ahead of its time.

If you dig steampunk or historical fiction, I am sure you will dig The Red Star.

Rating: 5/5

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