Band Of Innocence

By | Sunday, December 27, 2009 Leave a Comment
I caught a blurb on the local radio the other day about some upcoming graphic novel called Band of Innocents. It didn't have much info on it, but enough that I tried calling up the website.

Nothing. No such thing.

"Ah, wait," I thought, "maybe it was Band of Innocence. They sound pretty similar over the radio."

Bingo! And the site comes up.

One of the first things I see is a lot of use of Comic Sans. Arguably the most wrong font choice you could ever make for a comic project. More than enough has been said on that front!

"Hmm. The art doesn't look that great either. I thought there was a name of some sort attached to this. Ah, here it is: Louis Manna. Wait: this doesn't look like Manna."

Closer inspection suggests that it is indeed Manna. But with someone's really lousy inking over his loose pencils. If you look carefully at the preview pages, you can see some decent structure to it, but it's the actual execution that's terrible. It looks very much like someone with absolutely no art training whatsoever traced over Manna's pencils. Poorly. It really looks like they'd have been better served by just running Manna's pencils uninked, based solely on other pencil work of his that I've seen.

The font within the comic itself looks like Letter-O-Matic, which is decent font to use inside a comic, but the balloon placements are uncomfortable. And some of them look very much like a low-resolution balloon graphic was placed on the page and inordinately stretched to fit the text. There's some serious pixelization going on in a few places.

By this point, I've completely forgotten what the book was supposed to be about, and why it caught my attention on the radio. Over to the "About" page.

The story is about these kids whose innocence allow them to receive superpowers from the old gods to help fight the injustices of the world. Although alleged focusing on seven children in particular, there's something about the loss of innocence as a child grows means that new children need to be recruited periodically. The villains sound like fairly stereotypical greedy businessmen, who enjoy hunting endangered species just for the sport of it.

The book's author cites himself as living a life of honesty and innocence. (Which seems to run counter to the notion of the book -- that all innocence is eventually lost.) He also spends much of his bio space talking about how he's spent most of his life as a musician, working as the musical director for Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego and touring with The Spencer Davis Group. Fine credits, to be sure, but they don't say much about his ability to write fiction.

I have to say that I was sorely disappointed. Whenever I hear of comics via different media outlets, I'm encouraged by their broadening reach. Whether or not the story in Band of Innocence is any good, I don't know. But if the website and preview art are any indication, it's definitely NOT something I'd show to other people to encourage them to read more comics!
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