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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 255: The Vault #3

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from The Vault #3, which was published by Image and is cover dated October 2011. Enjoy!

Things are always looming in horror comics!

As far as horror comics go, The Vault is mediocre – it’s certainly not terrible, but it cribs too much from too many sources to be truly great, and it ends kind of weakly. It’s mildly entertaining, but it’s not something you’d go out of your way to find. This first page is a good example of what kind of comic it is, artwise at least. Sam Sarkar doesn’t really do much with the script – we find out that everyone thinks getting underway “right now!” is a fine idea, and as the book comes with a recap page, we can guess it’s because of what they found inside the “sarcophagus” that they dragged up from the ocean floor. So there’s that.

It’s the artwork that carries the page, such as it does. Garrie Gastonny and Sakti Yuwono are your artist and colorist, for better or worse, and Gastonny at least lays the page out nicely. If we begin in the normal spot, the first thing we see is the hull of the boat, which leads us from the upper left downward until we reach the anchor’s chain. This leads us down through the panel to the left side of Panel 2, which is where our eyes should go. Panel 2 is oriented from left to right, so we move to the lead dude, who’s pointing us to Page 2. It’s a well designed page, to be sure. Gastonny isn’t a terrible artist, although he tends to use computer effects and photo references a bit too much, and he and Yuwono try to give us the impression of the storm bearing down on the ship. Yuwono drenches the first panel in black and blue, to the point where the ship is an indistinct hulk – which isn’t a bad thing, because we’re seeing it from the depths of the ocean. The problem is that the anchor chain tends to disappear, almost wrecking Gastonny’s page layout. In Panel 2, you’ll notice that some of the machinery on the left side of the panel looks Photoshopped – this is more obvious when Gastonny is able to open up a bit with the artwork. The scene is set nicely, but we can see some of the issues in the artwork that become more obvious as we move through the issue.

As far as kickstarting the comic, I guess this does a decent job. While this issue might not be that good, there’s no reason to think that based solely on this page!

There’s still plenty of time to ask me to feature a first page of your choosing. I’m ahead of these posts, but not so far ahead that I can’t take requests. E-mail me at gregorymburgas@gmail.com and let me know which page you’d like to see. I already have some very weird stuff lined up, and I’m looking for more!

Next: A clever conceit for a comic. Those are always fun, right! Find more in the archives!

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