Monday, September 30, 2013

Learning to Walk with Jusay Pulp

Jusay Pulp is a newish self-published anthology from cartoonist Jeremy Jusay. Jusay has self-published a small handful of comics over the past few years but this is my first exposure to his work. The debut issue has a lot going for it - mostly the nice production values and killer price.  At twenty oversized black and white pages with a glossy cover for just three bucks, many mini-comic makers and self-publishers should learn from Jusay's example of how to reasonably price an independent comic.

Jusay Pulp 1 features a self-contained short story ("Ghosts of New Wave") about a depressed NYC art student who conjures imaginary friends that are zombie versions of various New Wave bands who help her through life. The narrative is a cute enough diversion, if perhaps a little too precious. I liked the art style, a bold Jaime Hernandez line with nice detail in cityscapes. But, and its a big but, it's one thing to have nice figures and to nail the architectural detail  of life in this City, it's another thing entirely to tell a story with your art, and Jusay's stuff stumbles hard on the mechanics of comic storytelling, and especially, most definitely in body movement.

Three locomotive sequences from the comic.
The framing of too many scenes falls flat with unnecessary closeups that are engulfed in word balloons (Jusay should really check out Wally Wood's 22 Panels That Always Work). He needs to set the scene with a little more clarity and most importantly, pull back. The biggest problem, and it's a whopper that makes the comic very difficult to read, is the stiffness of the basic action. Jusay, at lest here, doesn't seem to be able to draw anyone in movement. Every single panel of people walking in this comic is a breathtaking example of how not to draw someone walking. Characters appear to be rigidly marching, every single form an inflexible pose of someone pretending to walk, or doing the Captain Morgan pose, more reminiscent of an alien from another world trying to mimic human movement. An action scene where someone swings a guitar looks like someone simply holding out a guitar. Even a fanciful sequence of characters in flight has an odd rigidity too it.

Jusay kills it with his wonderful, clean line, his details like subway cars and City streets (likely photoref'd but that's fine), the gorgeous fashion, the faces... But the flow of the story is interrupted by rough staging and really, really bad kinesiology. As first issues go, as self-published comics go, I've seen much worse, and it's a damn good value at three bucks. But the problems with the art are unavoidable and cannot be overcome by the strength of the fairly twee story. But these problems are something that can be fixed, and hopefully he can tweak his movement in future outings.

Jusay Pulp 1 is in finer comic shops now, and available from the author's website.

1 comment:

  1. Apologies for the cruddy panels - it's not reflective of the book's production quality, but of my lack of camera and scanner (I used my webcam).