Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Hey, a relatively new publisher! Let’s check out some of their stuff, shall we?
Kickstart Comics has recently begun releasing thin graphic novels in the hopes to reach a wider comics audience by getting them into big box stores like Wal-Mart. They’ve gotten some interesting talent to work on their books, and I’ve gotten a few of them (and I’m looking forward to a few more that have been solicited). The first one I bought is Mirror Mirror, which is written by Joshua Williamson, drawn by Lee Moder, colored by Jon Alderink, and lettered by Bill Tortolini. It appears Kickstart will be charging $14.99 for each of these suckers. So there’s that!
Mirror Mirror is a slight but charming story, nothing great but a fine read if you’re in the mood for mild entertainment. Williamson posits a world in which fairy tales have a kernel of truth to them, and a secret society called the Huntsmen is trying to track down the pieces of the magic mirror from Snow White before an evil dude gets it and uses it to gain immeasurable power. It’s a comic that wouldn’t look out of place as a made-for-TV movie on TNT or, if the funding was there, a Jerry Bruckheimer extravaganza starring … let’s say, Ryan Gosling and Lacey Chabert. Why the hell not? (Gosling seems a bit too highbrow an actor for something like this, but after making Blue Valentine, the dude probably needs to chillax for a while, plus Bruckheimer can probably throw an assload of money at him.) A young man, Owen Grimm (Gosling) is brought into the secret society after his parents (let’s say … Kurt Russell and Sandra Bullock – she and Gosling could reminisce about Murder by Numbers!) are murdered as they’re looking for a piece of the mirror. His parents’ old friend, Professor Hart (Chi McBride) and his assistant, Sally Prince (Chabert) explain all about the plot. In addition to the mirror, the original Grimm fairy tales contain clues that lead to Snow White’s family’s fortune, which gets Owen awfully interested. After Hart is injured, Owen and Sally have to race against the bad guy (Sean Bean, because the poor guy is ALWAYS the villain) to find the pieces of the mirror. It’s all exciting!!!!
Williamson does manage to do a few clever things with the script, but this is essentially similar to every single action/adventure/treasure quest movie you’ve seen over the past thirty years. There’s a double cross, of course, but it’s handled well and makes perfect sense. If you like movies like this, you’ll probably enjoy this. I do, but I also recognize how derivative it is.
Moder’s art is perfectly fine. I mention this whenever I see his stuff, but I do like the old Moder – the Wonder Woman guy – more than this current incarnation, but he tells a good story, designs distinctive characters, and handles the action well. There’s not much to say about his art – there’s nothing innovative about it, but it’s easy on the eyes and it moves everything along well. I don’t mean to dismiss it, but there’s really not a lot to write about it.
Kickstart has published better comics than this (see tomorrow’s entry!), but there’s nothing terribly wrong with this comic. It’s fun, exciting, and has a decent if not terribly original hook. Owen and Sally are central to liking the book, and Williamson makes them a fun couple. I don’t regret buying it, but if National Treasure comes on the television for the one billionth time, you can probably just sit down and watch that again.
Tomorrow: Another Kickstart book! A better Kickstart book!
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