To absolutely no one’s surprise, the conclusion is that the new Diversity & Comics graphic novel sucks. When a guy who can’t write hires a guy who can’t draw and doesn’t even bother to hire anyone to color it, you’re probably not going to get a very good result. Richard Meyer probably would have done well to have left off the lettering as well while he was at it. A review of Iron Sights posted in the Arkhaven Forums.
Okay, Comicsgate finally has real, tangible product to critique. I received Richard Meyer’s (Diversity & Comics) second IndieGoGo project and Splatto Comics first release Iron Sights today, and … well, it’s a disappointment, I’ve got to say.
Meyer received these from the printer months ago, but because he was packaging and mailing them all himself, it took all this time to get them out to the backers. I must’ve been right at the tail end of the list. Glad he finished the job, but there are surely better ways to print, pack and ship comics. I can think of one (**DARK LEGION**), but it’s entirely possible Meyer’s book wouldn’t even have qualified for the DL label. All its product to date has been far, FAR superior to this.
So what did I get for US$32? Well, the book is B&W with tones, roughly 120 pages (not numbered). The art is amateurish. If he’s relatively new to the form, maybe there’s long-term hope for Ibai Canales, as sometimes new comics artists progress by leaps and bounds. Alternatively, if he’s already taken a few years to get to this point … well, sorry, it’s just not good enough. Every Arkhaven book in print currently is leaps and bounds ahead of Iron Sights both artistically and in terms of presentation and professionalism. Backgrounds are minimal, characters are off-model frequently enough that you often can’t tell who’s who, and Canales shows no real grasp of storytelling or sequential art. There were pages when I simply couldn’t figure out what was happening.
Part of the problem may be Meyer’s script, which in places cuts back and forth between scenes to the point that you don’t even know where you are anymore. The other problem is the lack of color, which makes it next to impossible to distinguish similar-looking characters from one another. And there are plenty of those. (Clarity in B&W comics IS possible. Charlie Adlard on Walking Dead has no problem making it work, but his art is tight and his characters distinctively modeled, whereas Canales’ is loose and scratchy enough that there are times I couldn’t tell a rifle sight from a drainpipe, and all his blond men looked like the same old guy.)
Back when I ordered IS, I had watched more than a few D&C reviews of Marvel comics. Meyer’s stern critiques of sloppy SJW pap fooled me into thinking he might have the chops to produce something superior. He certainly seemed to know bad when he sees it. That said, whatever made him think this book was him putting his best foot forward is a bit beyond me. He’s obviously been reading those blood-soaked, profanity-filled early Jason Aaron Vertigo comics (I can’t remember the series now — some Indian reservation thing), because the random, pointless foul-mouthedness taints every second panel. Considering that Meyer keeps his language fairly clean in his YouTube videos, that was a surprise.
All in all, I’m glad I didn’t throw major money at the project. D&C’s sniping at Arkhaven has not been on the 2VS level, but it’s certainly been regular enough that I would have expected him to produce more professional work than this. How is this in any way an improvement over whatever it is Meyer doesn’t like about Arkhaven books? I don’t get it.
If Iron Sights is at all representative of what Comicsgate writers and artists can be expected to produce, Vox and Arkhaven absolutely did the right thing by putting major distance between the brands.
Now, I will commend Meyer for doing what few critics dare to do and attempting to do something better himself. That is a courageous act for a critic. However, I will also observe that most critics have no idea how hard it is to actually avoid making the mistakes they critique so gleefully, nor are they often able to do any better themselves. It’s not a surprise Richard Meyer, even in his second attempt, couldn’t manage to create anything anywhere nearly as good as any of the 25+ comics Arkhaven and Dark Legion have published this year, and the contrast between Iron Sights and the beautiful, full-color, 152-page Right Ho, Jeeves omnibus when it appears next week will serve as an effective measure of the yawning gap between an amateur operation like Splatto and a professional one such as Arkhaven.
The fact that Meyer has been sneering non-stop at Arkhaven since our very first release only makes his subsequent pratfall in print all the more amusing. Compare the artwork; even when taking color out of the equation, there really is no comparison. Can you guess which image is Splatto and which is Arkhaven?
That’s just the art. With regards to the writing, there is Richard Meyer on the one side, and The Legend Chuck Dixon adapting The Grandmaster John C. Wright on the other. I don’t know about you, but I like our odds. And yup, yup, that is indeed Ruff.
There was a happy barking, and a dog that was half Border Collie and half who-knew-what came bounding up the stairs. He had a white muzzle and chest, black ears, black flanks, white stockings, and bright eyes with a black mask around them. However, he lacked any collar, dog tags, or fixed place of residence. He was Gil’s dog in every way but legally. Gil did not know where he went during the day or where he slept, and he thought it too nosy to ask.