Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Don't start away uneasy

I was sorry to hear about the falling out between Mark Andrew Smith and Paul Maybury (you can read about it here). I thought Aqua Leung showed a lot of promise, not just as a comic but as a successful model for drumming up publicity. Those guys managed to get interviews all over the blogosphere (including one at this very blog), released sample artwork at exactly the right moments and to the right sources, and generally set up a great deal of anticipation for the final product. It was a really great effort, one which should be a model to cartoonists in their position.

As for the book itself, it wasn't without it problems, but there were a number of really terrific moments. I'm not really a fan of mid-brow, ground level type comics, mostly because they seem to lack the energy of the trashier stuff and the sophistication of the artsier stuff. The worst examples end up being uptight but not especially deep (the vast majority of Vertigo's output springs to mind). However, a strong, art-emphasized approach can yield some very commendable results--I'm thinking Mike Mignola and Eric Powell here. I thought Aqua Leung was in this territory, with the promise of even better things to come.

Mark is obviously well-established in comics and probably has half a million other things in line right now. Paul is an incredibly talented cartoonist who I think will be producing absolutely jaw-dropping work in a decade. But it's too bad their relationship didn't work out, because I think Aqua Leung was a good venue for each to grow while producing quality work for public consumption. There's probably some lesson about the difficulty of producing work in collaboration here, but I'm not the one to figure it out today.

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