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


Johnny B said...

Frankly buddy I don't think you have a clue what you're talking about you wouldn't know a good comic if hit you round the back of the head.

John Aggs is talented as is his comic strip great, it is only the first strip so I'd be patient. Your impatience suggests you enjoyed it and wanted to know more, its the same feeling you get at the end of a Heroes or Lost episode.

Steve Flanagan said...

John Aggs may well be talented: he can certainly draw, though he seems to have taken too little account of the limitations of newsprint. But I thought that this strip was badly crafted, for the reasons I explained. Unlike you, I have no particular interest in reading another instalment; but then again, the occasional episodes I have seen of Heroes and Lost struck me as windy drivel, so I suspect our tastes might be quite different.

Mind you, if I do have to be hit round the back of a head with a comic, I suppose I'd rather it was a single sheet from a newspaper than, say, The Complete Mad Don Martin.

Johnny b said...

Like your style and politeness there buddy...just banter really, lets just agree to disagree we'll see as the story continues...mind u i doubt you are between the ages of 8-12 so maybe we both have no clue but i've been told first hand i act like a i can relate