Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chiaroscuro Part One

By Dan Dunlap

Straight up science fiction comics are something that you don’t see that often. I’m not really sure why to be honest, but there seems to be a lack of them in the industry.

Chiaroscuro is a science fiction comic, and while at first it seems to be filled with science fiction and fantasy clichés, I felt that Dunlap actually dealt with them quite well. When the spooky monks come and tell the main character's parents that he is the chosen one and has to be taken away to be trained, they say that they’ve already arranged for them to come and live nearby so they don’t have to abandon him. When he encounters some “monsters” he immediately attacks and kills them.

This is something that bothers me more and more in video games. Why am I attacking these monsters? They’re wearing clothes and using tools, that means they have intelligence, societies, and culture. I should be studying them, not killing them! (Clearly I should be playing Ultimate Anthropologist instead of Final Fantasy).

However, Dunlap manages to throw a curveball at this trope, and it turns out that the “monsters” that Tog (the main character) attacked were actually just cattle of some form, and the people who owned them are kind of pissed off about it. This even leads to the question of whether Tog is the “chosen one” at all, or if he’s just wandering around thinking that he is. (Okay, maybe I'm reading too much into the story.)

While the overall style of the art is one that I enjoy, I found that certain panels and storytelling were a bit weak. I thought the designs of the aliens was generally fairly good, and although I’m not such a big fan of bipedal humanoids I acknowledge that creating non-humanoid looking species and their culture is a difficult task.

I do wonder how the creatures could evolve on a world which is static in space and thus half light and half dark all the time. Shouldn’t there be a huge difference in temperature between the two halves? Could a creature that evolved to survive on one half of the planet live on the other side for any length of time? (I over think everything.)

I also really like the cover logo. I think it looks really cool, and even works as a representative of the two different groups in the story inside.

Overall I liked this, and my only disappointment is that it’s only part of a story, and even as a first chapter it seems disappointingly short.


  1. Very glad to have found your blog. I love your dedication to reading and reviewing zines, and thanks for showing me stuff I would never otherwise have seen.

    1. No problem! I'm glad you like it. Just remember to contact the zinesters if you're interested in their zine.

      And I liked some of the art on your blog.

  2. Ta very much! Just off to read all your posts you've written since I visited :-)


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