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Partying with the Power Out

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I had planned to go to Wizard World Philadelphia (June 11-13) this year - I’ve been exhibiting there for the last 5 years, but this year, I decided against it. It’s a good show, mostly because Philadelphia is a good location for drawing in a crowd, but the show itself isn’t really geared for small press, and Wizard has been announcing so many shows this year (I believe they’re now up to 12) that I figured I might as well choose to be in or out. So I’m out.

Instead, I stayed home to concentrate on the creative end of my comics, but one event did pop up in my city that I was able to go to because I didn’t attend WW Philly: the joint launch party for the graphic novels Power Out and Never Forget, Never Forgive.

The launch was held at Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn, the host of many launch parties that I’ve attended. They’re great at supporting local artists and do a fantastic job of throwing bashes for their books when they’re released.

So, onto the books. Both Power Out and Never Forget, Never Forgive were originally serialized one page at a time on the website ACT-I-VATE.com, a webcomics collective that features original, serialized graphic novels by a number of different creators.

Power Out and Never Forget, Never Forgive are just two examples of storylines that began on the site, posting page by page until the graphic novel was complete. And in both these cases, the stories were printed into physical books, providing a good example of the web to print model.

I was pretty familiar with most of this information when I showed up at Bergen Street Comics. The part I wasn’t expecting was the performance put together by the creator of Never Forget, Never Forgive, Rami Efal, and his old roommate Ha-Yang Kim. When I arrived at the store I was greeted by the sound of the cello played by Ha-Yang, accompanying a video trailer showing images from Rami’s book.

It was absolutely beautiful to listen to and see, and both elements went together extremely well. It was quite a treat. And you can see a video of it on YouTube here. It’s not quite as impressive as it was live, but still worth seeing.

As you watch the video, you’ll get to see Efal’s beautiful brushwork so I won’t go on about it too much. They way he rendered the animals in the story was breathtaking. As a matter of fact, my only criticism of the book would be that I thought there was too much of the “dot tones” simply because I didn’t like to see it competing so much with the brushwork.

And I don’t want to forget about Power Out by Nathan Schreiber, which was only nominated for Best Digital Comic for the 2010 Eisner Awards. I bought both books at the party, read them both the next day, and I would recommend both of them. I can see why Power Out was nominated for the Eisner. Its strength lies in how well it handles the craft of storytelling. Despite being a slowly paced book about a 14-year- old in a small town, it keeps you moving smoothly through as the story reveals itself.

The only criticism I have for this book is that the story doesn’t actually conclude with the book. I’m not in favor of comics being packaged as a graphic novel when the story continues beyond those pages. I don’t mean when one specific storyline ends and another adventure begins in the next book, but, rather, when the story elements begun on page 1 aren’t resolved at least to some extent by the end.

The good news is that anyone who does get this book and wants to continue reading right away can do so on Act-i-vate.com.  It looks like there are already 34 pages posted of the next chapter.

Okay, that’s about as much of a review as I’m going to throw out there. I recommend both of these stories, either to read digitally or in book form.

And if the local comic shops keep throwing such great parties, I don’t know if I’ll ever need to go to another convention again.

Tyler Chin-Tanner started his own publishing company, A Wave Blue World, where he wrote and drew layouts for Adrenaline, its flagship series, Adrenaline and wrote its latest graphic novel, American Terrorist.

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© 2010 Tyler Chin-Tanner.  All rights reserved.
Email: tyler@awaveblueworld.com

www.awaveblueworld.com

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