Thursday, November 18, 2010

When Redeye magazine decided to check out a cowboy...

Portent Comics was a UK Based Indy Comic Publishing Company founded by my friend James Redington in 2005. It was a place for new artists and writers to hone their craft and get published. it's best selling comic was "The Adventures of Rob & Ducky" which told the story of two best friends, one of who happens to be a slightly demented Duck, called Ducky!
Cowboy Jack was a story by myself and was conceived from the love I have for such films as Young Guns and the old Clint Eastwood cowboy movies, along with various old school horror. The first issue was published through Portent Comics with art by Robert Timmins and edited by James.
Unfortunately it was never really finished although a rough version of the complete story still remains as you can see here.

Cowboy Jack Synopsis: Jack Goose is an outsider. Found by an ex bounty hunter in th old west he is raised as a human. But when he starts growing his adopted father (Billy "Quickdraw" Goose) notices that his boy is far from ordinary. Blessed with impossible strength and amazing ability's with a gun the boy Jack becomes aware that he is different. At the age of 21 he starts having dreams, dreams of a monster terrorising a nearby town. Feeling somehow connected to this creature he feels he must go and investigate...and what he finds is beyond his most amazing dreams.

In 2004, Engine Comics launched Redeye Magazine, a news/reviews magazine specifically created to educate and promote small press and self published comics to the wider public. It has been described as a 'vital read' by SFX magazine and "a must have" by Ain't It Cool News and in issue five they reviewed the first issue of Cowboy Jack.

Here for you now is that review in all it's glory.

Underneath an excellent glossy cover lies a comic that shows promise but is ultimately a little disappointing.
Cowboy Jack is an orphan, having been discovered by ex-bounty hunter Billy "Quick Draw" Goose as a baby on the plains of the American Old West, about to be eaten by wolves.No explanation is given as to what the baby is doing there but it seems likely that this will be explained in subsequent chapters. This issue charts Jack's ascendancy to manhood, at which point Jack starts having demonic dreams that haunt him every night. As the dreams get worse, Jack decides to investigate where they are coming from.
The premise is an interesting and compelling one, and further issues could well prove this to be a series worth following, but unfortunately the execution of Warr's and Timmins' saga lets it down considerably. Timmins artwork shows promise for the future, but unfortunately at present it needs more work both in physical representation(ie life drawing and landscape drawing) and in the mechanics of comics narrative. The story doesn't flow well from panel to panel, and although the story is not difficult to follow, it does have difficulty drawing in the reader as a result.
If anything, Jamie Warr has tried to fit too much story into too few panels. This leaves the impression of trying to tell a story as quickly as possible by not going into detail about anything, and as a result ultimately failing to draw the reader in with sufficient depth to get to know the characters and situations before things start to kick off. Although it should of course be remembered that this is the first part of a four-part story, and is clearly mostly back story that Warr is telling in order to reach the point at which he can start telling the story that Cowboy Jack is really all about.
If you are able to look beyond it's technical shortcomings, and you have an interest in where westerns and horror stories meet, this is a book worth picking up. There are three more chapters to go, and it'll be interesting to see where Warr and Timmins go with this.

Some great points made by the reviewer and personally I would love to revisit this story one day as I think with a bit more fleshing out it could be great.

For now though I just look back at this with fond memories.

1 comment:

  1. I do agree with some of what the reviewer said... but for someone that complains about how you structured your comic book, and you "[trying] to fit too much story into too much panel", he really needs to learn how to divide his review into paragraphs - lol

    Ah, the good old days... I remember them well... Hey, I liked your comic! :-) I may even have it lying around somewhere... In one of these gorram boxes...