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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

CRAZY PAPERS by Jim Dougan and Danielle Corsetto.Crazy Papers -- Cartoonist Dean Haspiel is quoted on the back of this slim graphic novel as saying it "reads like the lost rawkus episode of SEX IN THE CITY." Unfortunately, I'm forced to agree (although I have no idea what "rawkus" means). It is published by Chatterbox Comix.

Writer Jim Dougan's first graphic novel is about romance, mystery and rock and roll, and yet it is not romantic, it is not mysterious, and it does not rock. The one scene in which it attempts to rock, featuring an Edward G. Robinson-lookalike belting out Bon Jovi, is an amusing sequence that doesn't quite fit in the book, although I am sure its inclusion generated some self-satisfaction on the part of the creators.

Dougan seems able to craft convincing moments for his characters, but is not able to make us care about the characters within those moments. In the hands of another artist, there might be enough here to sell the minor charms of the story, but Danielle Corsetto brings a sterile professionalism (reminiscent of the damage Haspiel did to Harvey Pekar's The Quitter, actually) to the goings-on that prevents any real immersion in either the story or its setting. Her art is slick where it should probably be organic, and over-the-top when a more subdued and naturalistic approach might have contrasted better with the would-be wackiness of the script.

The wacky aspect may be the problem, and it may not be as off-putting for you as it is for me (I think I am allergic to "wacky"). To my eyes, though, Crazy Papers plays as a subpar attempt at the "New Mainstream" comics thing, a passionless appeal to non-superhero readers via the same sort of mediocre tripe they get at in Hollywood movies or bestselling paperback novels; think of the worst title you've read from Oni or AiT/Planet Lar. Kind of like that. If that's what you're looking for, here is some more.

It's also called, on the back-cover copy, by artist Michael Lark (who really should know better, and probably does) "more like a nice, funny, low-budget indie film." Well, no. Crazy Papers is harmless and eager to please, but it's much more like an unfunny, mid-budget Hollywood flop that everyone involved with tried their best on, but that is far from the best they may someday be capable of.



Blogger markus said...

what is the book about?

04 July, 2006 17:45  
Blogger ADD said...

It's about romance, mystery and rock and roll. And despite its best efforts, it is far from "really awesome/impressive."

04 July, 2006 17:57  

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