Saturday, 27 October 2007
The Guardian’s The Comic
Now this looks promising: a new comics section in The Guardian, the UK national newspaper that regularly employs such luminaries as Posy Simmonds, Steve Bell and Martin Rowson (and, less regularly, a range of interesting cartoonists from Biff to Tom Gauld), and whose sister Sunday paper, The Observer sponsored the Comica short story competition alongside Britain’s leading mainstream graphic novel publisher, Jonathan Cape. Of course, below the fold, the front-page blurb explains that “The Comic” is intended for kids, but even so, that’s a good track record.
What you actually get is the single centre sheet of The Guardian’s “Family” section, folded twice to make eight half-tabloid pages. Five of those pages are used for competitions and other child-friendly filler. The remaining three pages contain a comic strip, Robot Girl versus the Universe! episode 1, by John Aggs. It is drawn in an anime-inspired style - and yes, I do mean “anime”, not “manga”: it looks like a series of screenshots. It tells of a United Earth spaceship being overrun by Robot Girl’s robots – and yes, again, I mean “tells”, because we see almost none of this: most panels just show the bridge crew shouting things like “We’re under attack,” or “The shields are failing.” We don’t see the robots overrunning the ship at all. Actually, it’s a little difficult to make out even the spaceship or the bridge crew, as the colour work is too dark and over-rendered for newsprint, and everything comes out muddy (I’ve punched up the brightness and contrast for the panel below). It looks a lot clearer as a series of PDFs at The Guardian Unlimited website, which I found after I'd done the scans.
Overall, quite The Disappointment
Update, later that day Lew Stringer reports that Robot Girl will be part of The DFC, "a new weekly anthology comic coming soon" - now, that's a phrase you don't see too often these days.
Robot Girl versus the Universe! episode 1 by John Aggs, The Guardian 27 October 2007, “The Comic” section