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CSBG Archive

Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 184: Vaistron #5

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Vaistron #5, which was published by SLG and is cover dated May 2006. Enjoy!

That is one grumpy cat

Vaistron is a fairly insane comic book written by Andrew Dabb and drawn by Boussourir. Dabb was nice enough to send me the issues a while back (I reviewed them here), and that leads us to the first page of the final issue. Behold!

Dabb chucks us right in, as this comic was obviously written for the trade, so we arrive in the middle of a scene, in the middle of a sentence. “Cripo” is one of the two Nazi-esque police forces in the story, in case you’re wondering. Dabb gives us a sense of the absurdity of the story, as we see a giant vehicle in the background and the assembled press, all for a cat rescue. Just from this first page, we understand that Dabb is writing a satire, so that’s nice. He also gives us the rivalry between Cripo and Sepo (the other Nazi-esque police force) when the press leaves to cover a Sepo-related story. Chief Moxxy and the readers get a bit more exposition, when we find out that the “Bates kidnapper” – the main character of the story – has been caught. So we’re ready to turn the page and get introduced to Gabriella, the lethal psychopath who’s, you know, the hero of the book.

The page layout is fairly standard, but Boussourir’s pencil work helps bring Dabb’s insane vision of Vaistron to life. In the first panel, the first thing we see is the old man, who appears to be surgically attached to the metal contraption standing in for his legs. The cat’s expression is priceless, and Moxxy’s military uniform and the way he’s drawn shows immediately that he’s a figure of mockery, even if subsequent panels didn’t confirm that. This is an oddly-designed panel, because Moxxy is the dominant figure in the panel and he’s on the right, not the left, but it allows our eyes to travel in a parabola from him, through the old man, and settling on Moxxy in the second panel. Boussourir’s figure design in the series is wonderful, as people are all shapes and sizes, from the wrinkled, bald old man to Moxxy’s squat frame to the venal-looking newspeople. We can see Moxxy’s expression slowly turn from serious to surprised to quizzical to grumpy over the course of the final four panels. Obviously, his words show this move too, but Boussourir does a nice job showing it. The stages of the cat’s demise is nicely handled, too. Boussourir puts a lot of details into the series to make it even wackier, and this page is a nice example of that. Everything moves from left to right nicely (except in the first panel, but it’s not too off-putting), so even though Boussourir doesn’t do much with the layout, he still moves us quickly over the page. The bottom row has to split into two panels instead of one long panel, because Moxxy needs to change his expression once more, and he needs to set up the next scene on the next page. Do readers want to know more about the Bates kidnapper? Only that reader can make up his mind, but at least Dabb and Boussourir make it easy to move along!

So that’s the first page of Vaistron #5. It’s not as bizarre as some pages, but it gives you a good sense of what kind of series this is!

Remember, feel free to nominate your writer-artist duos that I can feature here in August! It has to be a writer and an artist, not someone who does both, and they have to have worked together on at least 25 issues. Have fun! And I encourage you to suggest duos that others have already suggested, if you really want to see them. That way the “votes” will add up! Don’t think you have to nominate a new team just because someone’s already suggested one you want!

Next: A thinly-veiled Batman versus the Joker comic that is, frankly, terrible. I mean, really terrible. But will the first page work? That’s what we’re concerned with, aren’t we? Find some good comics in the archives!

3 Comments

A random question, Greg-

Why don’t you get rid of comics that you think are terrible? I mean, I’m a collector too, and I certainly understand the (occasionally overpowering) desire to hold on to things, but space issues add up, and surely they must for you too. I reached the point a few years ago where every comic I read, if I can’t imagine myself ever wanting to read it again, it immediately goes into the “sell on ebay” pile.

For example, I recently reread the Erik Larsen run on Wolverine and the whole “The Twelve” crossover… yeah, never going back to those. I could barely get through them this time. I couldn’t get it on ebay fast enough.

Third Man: It’s really a question of time. I’ve been re-reading the comics in my long boxed for the past 7 years or so, and I’m only up to “R”! So if I want to get rid of them, I’d have to go back through and ditch the ones I really want to get rid of. I do this with my trades periodically, because they’re more accessible and I can flip through them more easily to see if I want to get rid of them, but for my single issues, it’s a bit more time-consuming. A day of reckoning is coming, I know it is, but it probably will be after I manage to get through them all this time and then start over, because I didn’t decide that I needed to dump a bunch of books until I was a few years into this read-through. It’s coming, though!!!!

I use the same criteria Third Man does on whether to hang onto a comic or not. Unfortunately for me, that criteria is met by enough comics to fill close to 30 long boxes.

While I have to admit that this first page does make me want to keep reading, it sure doesn’t seem like a first page at all. I would have guessed it was from the middle of a story if you hadn’t said it was the first page of an issue. So while I don’t think it’s a very good first page, since it does make my interested to keep reading I guess it does its job.

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