Daily Archives: November 8, 2009

Pixar on the Page

Wall-E #0
“Working to Dig You Out”
Writer: J. Torres
Artist/Cover artist: Morgan Luthi
Colors: Digikore Studios
Letters: Jose Macasocol, Jr.
Editor: Aaron Sparrow
Publisher: Boom! Studios/Boom Kids! imprint
Price: $2.99 US

While I enjoyed Mark Waid’s take on The Incredibles for Boom! Studios, I found it paled in comparison with the movie that inspired it (which happens to be my favorite Pixar flick). Boom’s Toy Story comics were cute but clearly aimed the younger set and therefore lacked the all-ages appeal of the movies. And as for the publisher’s take on Cars, well, I didn’t care for the movie and therefore had no interest in the comic-book spinoff. So it was with some hesitation that I approached this latest Pixar-inspired comic book from Boom! Studios, especially given the fact that the premise imposes severe limitations as far as characters and dialogue are concerned. To my amazement, writer J. Torres has done for a Pixar comic book what Roger Langridge did for a Muppet comic book. Torres overcomes the challenges inherent in adapting what one could view as essentially silent film and captures the same kind of cuteness, curiosity and innocence that allowed a computer-generated robot character to mesmerize millions.

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Quick Critiques – Nov. 8, 2009

Abe Sapien: The Haunted Boy one-shot (Dark Horse Comics)
by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi & Patric Reynolds

My wife and I had planned on renting a scary movie on Halloween but didn’t get around to it. I still enjoyed a nice spooky story, though, as I read this Abe Sapien one-shot that night. At first, it felt as though I was making my way through a fairly predictable story, as it seemed clear the ghost child would reveal to Abe that his friend, the one who avoided drowning in the lake, was the one responsible for his death. Writers Mike Mignola and John Arcudi rely on the reader’s assumptions about the “haunted boy,” and it works perfectly. While there’s really no sense of danger for the title hero — given that the story is set in 1982 and we know Abe’s still kicking in the present — the plot is effective all the same. I really like this alienated, melancholy take on the title character, and I wish there’d been more space for the writers to explore the emotional fallout for the families affected by the tragedy and the supernatural developments.

Patric Reynolds proves to be a good choice for this one-shot, as it makes for a consistency in style for the Abe Sapien brand. A previous Mignola-verse limited series — Abe Sapien: The Drowning — was illustrated by Jason Alexander, and Reynolds employs a style here that’s highly reminiscent of his predecessor’s. Furthermore, since the emotional conflicts in the story are really more important and interesting than the supernatural elements, a more realistic, gritty style helps to focus the reader’s attention on characters, whereas a Mignola’s esque style tends to envelop the reader in the dark, creepy, gothic visuals and atmosphere (which can be entertaining as well, of course). This more grounded look is a nice change of pace from the more stylized work of such artists as Mignola and Guy Davis who work on other Hellboy-related titles. 7/10

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