Hits & Misses

Buzz Dixon, previously of Realbuzz Studios, the home of Christian manga-inspired series Serenity and Goofyfoot Gurl, is back with new firm Snokie. It’s described as a “home for Christian-themed digital & print-on-demand Young Adult stories.”

Hits & Misses cover
Hits & Misses
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Unfortunately, the technology isn’t yet ready for the works they want to create. Hits & Misses is an almost 500-page paperback about a softball team formed to save their school. I was looking forward to seeing it, because I’ve enjoyed the young-adult stories Kathleen Webb has written for Archie, but when I saw the actual project, I was disappointed.

The first thing I noticed was how all the art had apparently been formatted for a differently sized book than the one I got. There’s an inch-wide margin of white on the top and bottom of every page. (Perhaps the book was originally intended to be standard comic-sized and was later retro-fitted to look more like manga? The “book one”, “book two” internal labels indicate the story was intended to be serialized at first.) It’s distracting.

But much more disturbing — so much so that once I saw this, I couldn’t read the book — were the annoying moire patterns in every shaded area. There are several dark-skinned characters which appear with stripes on their faces. (But good for them for having a diverse cast.) The same stripes, or in some cases, checkerboards, appear in the sky, the grass, the uniforms, the equipment… everything with a tone. You can see for yourself in the sample pages at the site’s blog. This is completely unprofessional and demonstrates how not-ready-for-sale the print-on-demand technique is when it comes to digital toning. Or perhaps, since the sample pages show the problem, the issue happened when the art studio sent over their files at too low a resolution. I don’t know for sure what caused the problem, but the end result is atrocious.

While I admire the publisher’s dedication to their goals, I can’t recommend this title due to the art problems. On the other hand, keep an eye on the Snokie site to read Serenity online in full, promised to be posted in the future. (The publisher provided a review copy.)

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