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A Month of Self-Published Comics: House of the Muses #1-3

This month I am posting a review of a different self-published comic book each day for the rest of the month! Here is an archive of the books reviewed so far!

Today I am featuring Pam Harrison’s House of the Muses #1-3.

Let me get something straight right off of the bat. I’m honestly not a fan of the 3-D art style that Pam Harrison uses for House of the Muses. I think it is a very impressive level of 3-D art, and it is remarkable that she is able to tell such a completely realized story with 3-D art and not have it look ridiculous. That’s to her great credit. She’s a whiz with 3-D art, it appears. That said, I just don’t think that even the best 3-D art has gotten to the point where I personally dig it. That’s just me. I am not saying that the art is BAD, by any means (heck, I think Harrison is probably one of the best 3-D comic book artists that I have seen), just that it does not appeal to me.

In addition, there are many times in this work where it seems apparent that this story originated as a prose work, as there are large chunks of text here and there. Almost early-Spawn levels of text.

I wish to get those things out of the way to start, because those are my only two critiques of Harrison’s work, which otherwise is a tremendously entertaining, polished work of art.

The gist of the story is that one of the poems in the collection of Sappho was inexplicably written in Spartan dialect. So Harrison thought, “Hey, there is probably a really fascinating story in there somewhere about a Spartan woman traveling to Lesbos.” And that, in effect, is what House of Muses is about, a Spartan woman named Dika and her journeys through life.

House of the Muses mixes action, romance and drama in a extremely mature fashion, while still managing to always keep the story not too difficult for a teen reader to grasp. It’s an extremely mainstream work, with a little bit of something in there for everyone.

It recently was awarded the fourth annual Queer Press Grant from Prism Comics. It is a well deserved honor, and I hope it may lead to even more distribution of this comic, which already looks extremely polished.

Each issue is about six bucks, but you get a ton of story for your money (issue #1 was over 50 pages long).

Here are some sample pages from issue #3….

I made sure to find pages that show you some variety in the 3-D art as well as the frequent large chunks of text. The large chunks of text can be difficult to get through, just due to their size, but they’re never superfluous – they always help to the telling of the story, giving further depth and breadth to the characters.

The characters, by the way, perhaps DUE to the large amounts of texts, are extremely actualized. You soon know pretty much KNOW all the main characters in the story, most especially Dika, who is an engaging and endearing hero.

House of the Muses is a historical epic filled with love and loss, action and drama, and most importantly, characters who are worth reading.

Definitely Recommended.

Be sure to check out Pam’s website here. Issues #1 and 2 are for sale on Prism’s website here.

Pam sent me copies of House of the Muses #1-3. If you would like to participate in the month with your self-published comic, there most likely is still time (depending on how fast you mail out comics). Just check out the Review Copies section to see where to mail a review copy of your comic.

8 Comments

The only problem with using Poser for artwork, is it all looks like Poser…

Pity, really, as it does have some more stylised and sketch-style rendering options…

I just find it very distracting when I can recognise the actual models being used (I’ve used Poser since version 2 and own a TONNE of DAZ digital models…)

Still, the storytellng seems strong, so that may well help distract me from the CGI in the long run.

Interesting to see it used to thoroughly, though, as often the backgrounds, and lighting tend to be afterthoughts. This has been weel thought out in those terms.

So, pardon my negativity towards the tools involved, I actually do like the idea, and will have a look…

I know how you feel Blackjak. I’m also a Poser user (since v1, believe it or not) and seeing the flat lighting at the lack of variation in the character’s physical features (they all look like the same Vicky and Mike models) is troublesome. It IS possible though, it just takes more work, possibly more than there’s time for on a regular comic schedule, I don’t know.

Still, if the writing’s good, I can forgive a lot.

Wow! Pam Harrison’s work looks very impressive. I may have to check this series out. Thanks for clueing me in.

Thanks to all of you, and especially to Brian Cronin, who was willing to give this series a look. My style and my storytelling have come a LONG way since the first issue debuted in 2007.

I did feature several pages of pencils in House of the Muses #3 and they were just as widely received as my CGI illustrating style. I have found that since my series went on sale worldwide recently, European markets are more enthusiastically receptive to my series. They love the CGI as well as the story, and it’s probably no surprise that I have a huge fan base in England, Germany and the Netherlands. A comic site similar to this one in France is also presently reviewing House of the Muses 1-3.

There is a project in motion for House of the Muses #6 which I will be penciling in entirety (with the possibility of one or more guest inkers/colorists). So, no, it was not lack of penciling skills that led me to choose this medium.

I just love using DAZ 3D Studio. XD I can’t help it. And my style in House of the Muses #4, as you can see from my Twitter page, is far evolved from what it was in HotM #1. As my series ends at #9, there is much more to come, and I only get better from here.

Thanks for your evaluation!
Pam Harrison http://twitter.com/houseofmuses

OMG, I almost forgot. Any comic stores or book sellers interested in carrying the series can now order it worldwide directly from Ingrambooks, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble.com and a number of other highly respected distributors in the UK.
The full list of book distributors can be found here. http://houseofthemuses.com/vendors/

Brian Andersen

April 29, 2009 at 5:01 am

Congrats Pam, on all your success. The cream rises to the top! Much deserved!

I have to commend Pam on a great comic. I also use Poser/Daz Studio. I also, published my own comic called Venger Prime through Ka-Blam. I intend on picking up a copy of your book as well.

[...] because those are my only two critiques of Harrison’s work, which otherwise is a tremendously entertaining, polished work of art. [...]

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