Therefore Repent! Review on the Comics Reporter and news of good sales!
So here's hoping that's reflected in the next few months from Diamond, we moved about half the run in the first month, so if this keeps up, maybe we can clear out the first run in the next two.
A few managers have really taken to advocating it; heard that the Manhattan Jim Hanley's Universe is nearly sold out in part due to the guy i talked to there pushing it [sorry, was so pleased with the good news you were giving me I forgot to ask your name! get that when I talk with you next] and my old friend George Rizock in Windsor at the Rogues Gallery Comics Shop has moved 30 and has another 30 on order! Thanks man! So it seems the book is finding a good reception.
I've also made some arrangements to be in NY for the April NYCC, and it looks like some kind of signing is going to happen, I'll post details on that soon as it's settled.
So a good day, and not too tempered by this, a qualified review from Tom Spurgeon here on his site. Not bad, i really appreciated the thoughtful consideration he gave it and some of his observations of Jim's writing and my art were very faltering.
"Jim Munroe and Salgood Sam's Therefore Repent! bills itself as "a post-Rapture graphic novel." This is obviously a reference to the story's plot, which details the lives among those left behind when a number of Christian believers around the world ascend into heaven via a scenario that seems to prove the popular Christian Right public prophecy to be 100 percent true. It could also be a joke about this being the kind of book that would come out after such an event, in the same way that a few books and plays wrestled with 9/11 either directly or indirectly in a manner that placed the book within that specific historical context, or even a reference to the Rapture as a series of beliefs by millennial-obsessed Christians that many have processed and come to a different set of conclusions. I think there are elements to all three, and as a tribute to the sturdy, focused quality of the dark fantasy in the book, multiple interpretation aren't only possible they're kind of the point."
"The most affecting part of the book shows their daily routine as they deal with the strain on their affection and the general breakdown of society that followed the departure of the various believers."
"Munroe's strengths as a writer seem to come through most overtly in this section: his way of delineating Mummy and Raven's relationship through incidental moments rather than explication, and the way he uses fantasy to craft a large metaphor about widespread, post-event trauma, such as the feelings of rootlessness, fear and desire to function on a very basic level (staying home, watching the news, going out for food only) that enveloped a lot of people after 9/11."
"Salgood Sam's work proves mostly strong throughout. There are moments of visual sumptuousness that should keep the reader's attention, and those readers who feel an artist should draw everything and not drop backgrounds or atmosphere for a lighter workload or to emphasize certain foregrounded actions should be pleased with the pages placed in front of them here."
But he goes on to sight some issues with it, and seems to have been not totally taken with it on the whole. It's an ok review but he wasn't totally into it. And the last somewhat back handed praise their about the backgrounds, you know, I pretty regularly dropped the backgrounds to do just both those things. Never to the point of loosing the sense of place i felt, but he makes it sound as though I was exhaustive in my background art! I don't know about that, not by my standards.
It's been interesting, the different reactions the books getting.
More mainstream folks seem to totally go for it, and some are taking it as an Indy version of the sort of book Grant Morrison would do, which in mainstream circles is high praise.
Indy and literary people are often having a mixed reaction. Mostly good, near everyone has liked the story at least - But a good number seem to not be sure how to take the way we handled stuff, some more so than others and in some cases i can't help but think they are thinking too hard about some things. And some are just not keen on my detailed representational art, or how I mix some of the cartoony stuff in there with that as in the case with Tom.
On this, for myself I like the verity of texture mixing things up brings to a book, I'm not into the notion that the art style needs to be homogeneous. And while I don't think it was Tom's issue, some seem to simply dislike that I'm not keeping to an certain Indy, or literary look for the art. Oh well.
Many seem to be wrestling with what we 'Intended' with the story a lot.
Like Tom's note that
"it could also be that the artists are overtly making a case for diversion over significance in narrative art."
That was a bit odd to me. I don't think we had intended to make such a case.
But if one were to be made, i don't think those are mutually exclusive goals. We were working on a medium length graphic novel, 160 pages, that lets you tell a lot of story but not so much that you can go crazy, at least not the way I or Jim wanted to tell it. Which was to emphasize the quite moments, the time of small things over grand things. Or at least that's what I got from Jim's script and his choices there in.
That was something I had always liked in his books, so I took that idea and added my own two bits along those lines to it. In my breaking down of the script and layouts, I reduced the action sequences to minimal staccato hits, bam bam bam sequences of events to try to capture the way those moments in life fly - and yet I gave the most physical space on the page to that stuff, big splashes and large panels - so you could get lost in the frozen seconds of time. Get a distended feeling of short moments of time moving like molasses.
On the other hand I took the quite stuff and gave it multiple panels, pages, beats, to stretch it as much as I could. I wanted those moments to be as significant as they needed to be, each in their own way.
The story is both commentary on big questions of how people deal with traumatic events, and each other in their wake. And it's a fantasy adventure, a lark, at the same time.
I don't think we thought we needed to make a case for that, it seems that both are things the medium can do, and at the same time even.
I was talking tonight with a fellow creator via email, and I think I agree with him, that if we're getting a mixed and even off put reaction from some of the folks who take stuff supper seriously, it means your doing something right. And one thing is true. I was hoping it would be hard to peg. Seems we have made a slightly difficult book! :) Be nice if every one loved it but I'm liking the mixed reviews we sometimes get.
posted by max at 2/06/2008 12:02:00 a.m.