Slush Pile: SLG: Sisters’ Luck, Shadoweyes, Captain Long Ears
I’m normally, as a comic reader, focused on story first, but I was surprised to find that these three SLG Publishing graphic novels impressed me more with their illustrations than their plots. All were review copies provided by the publisher.
The Sisters’ Luck
by Shari Chankhamma, $12.95
I was intrigued by the premise behind this graphic novel, that of twin sisters, one of whom steals good luck from others, another who brings bad luck, but it wasn’t handled the way I was hoping. For one thing, the premise isn’t clearly established — I’m not sure I would have grasped the details without reading the back cover copy. The explanation inside the book, when it comes, was too poetic and mystical for me.
Also, we don’t see enough of the girls together. That’s part of the plot, since the good luck twin wants to avoid her sister making her normal, but it’s very difficult to understand their relationship with so few scenes of them both. The character interplay I wanted seemed to have been replaced by action sequences that aren’t elaborated on sufficiently.
The pacing is uneven. Details are lavishly demonstrated in early scenes, setting up the differences in the twins’ situations, while elements I wanted to know more about — such as how bad luck girl got away from security — were missing. I know that much of this criticism may seem like my wanting a different book than the author created, but it speaks to how much potential I believe the work contains that wasn’t realized. (I’m not the only one who felt that way.)
I wanted more exploration of the themes related to sisters with such differing views of their relationships, but the second half of the story turned into a manga-influenced cosmic alien battle, making the girls observers in their own story. I wanted to see them work things out between them, somehow, instead of becoming pawns in someone else’s game. It’s the distinction between magical realism (what I was hoping for) and science fantasy. Also, the story doesn’t conclude, with much left open for a presumed sequel, although I haven’t seen one announced and suspect its eventual appearance will be unlikely.
The visuals are extraordinarily confident and impressive, though. I don’t regret reading it, since I got to spend time with these striking images, centered around mood and expression. On a reread, I would stop and just let the images wash over me, regardless of plot.
Captain Long Ears
by Diana Thung, $12.95
A too-familiar story — kid wears funny hat, talks to stuffed animal, and uses imagination to cope with family issues, specifically, loss of the father — well-illustrated. Thung’s varied line weight and panel variety remains easy-to-read while handling complex transitions. At first thought, it looked like the kind of detailed, underground-influenced work I didn’t care for, but I’m glad I pressed on, because I was wrong. I can only imagine how long all this penwork took her.
by Ross Campbell, $14.95
I enjoyed Campbell’s previous series, Wet Moon, but I eventually gave up on it when I wasn’t clear on where it was going and I wasn’t getting enough resolution for my taste. So I’m leery of signing on to another one — especially since it’s an indy superhero book, a genre that has iffy future potential.
I do love the way Campbell draws girls, though, all curves and different body shapes than what we normally see in many comics. This is a story of one who becomes an alien-looking being with unusual abilities but no ability to change back to human. Like much of his work, it’s very conversation-driven, and it’s a distinctly different approach.
Recommended for fans of Campbell’s art who want to see it in a different setting than usual — this is a near future environment with lots of cool pipe-and-trash detail.