Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snake Oil 02

By Chuck Forsman

The problem with infrequently published serialized comics is that you can read an issue, have no idea what's going on, and not get a begining or end. This is only increased with serial anthologies, where the creators have considerably fewer pages to try to connect to the readers and make them want to come back for more.

This issue of Snake Oil definitely suffers from being a serialized anthology. There are a number of different comics inside, a couple of which show up more than once. I'm wondering if they're all connected in a Jack Staff style of some sort, or if they are just completely independent entities.

The first one features an overweight woman locked into a cage that is soon surrounded by cats. I like the lettering used for the cats, and there's a pretty neat picture of the cats surrounding the cage, but I have no idea what's going on here and the fact that it's to be continued doesn't help. There's only six pages (in two installments) devoted to this comic, and it's really not enough for the story to develop. Maybe in a weekly anthology I see on the stands every week it'd work, but for something that I'm going to have to seek out it just doesn't grab me enough.

The other comic with two installments this issue (this one with only four pages) features a man and a naked boy wandering through various landscapes before encountering a monster. This one works considerably better for me as I liked the design of the page where they're passing through numerous different places, there were a couple of jokes I found amusing, the idea of a "smoke farm" intrigues me, and there is a monster. Yay monsters! It also uses panel size quite effectively, switching from small panels devoted to the human characters and much bigger ones for the monster, which helps to indicate it's huge size.

There's a six page piece about an older couple talking to someone (their daughter?) that someone else (their son?) is missing. It suffers from stereotypes and doesn't really make a lot of sense to me (is it tied into the guy walking somehwere?), a one page piece that actually displays the connection between music and emotions fairly well, and a final piece about a girl and her talking dog facing some sort of inexplicable black thing that grows until it covers the entire sky.

The comics feature some abstract and less detailed artwork (such as the cover) that I quite enjoyed. However I found Forsman's style when drawing humans, or close up more detailed pictures didn't really grab me that much. There is some really nice title design and lettering in here, I wouldn't mind seeing more of that sort of thing somewhere.

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