Every day this month, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Bite Me!, which was self-published by Dylan Meconis, originally in 2000 (although the collection is from 2009). Enjoy!
Bite Me! is Meconis’s web comic from 2000-2004. It’s the story of a barmaid in late 18th-century France who gets caught up in the Revolution and with vampires. Yes, it’s a comedy.
You’ll note some interesting things about this page. First of all, Meconis drew this when she was, what, 17 or 18 years old, and while some aspects of her art could use improvement (the lack of depth, the fairly simplistic figure work, both of which improve a great deal over the course of the book), it’s interesting how accomplished she already is, especially with the way she sets up the joke. The first row is a strident call for revolution, and then Meconis pulls back to show that the speaker is Claire, a “bar wench,” and her boss doesn’t take her all that seriously. It’s a nicely-timed joke – a bit obvious, perhaps, but it shows the potential of the book, and Meconis gets better at it as she goes along. She also does a nice job with the “faux historiocity” we so often in historical fiction – everyone looks like they live in a Renaissance Faire, as they have the attire down but they still look pretty good for people living in a time without running water and good medicine. Part of this is set-up – Meconis mocks the setting of the book more than once in the comic, and the characters are more self-aware than they would be in a “serious” comic, so the fact that they don’t quite look like actual 18th-century French people isn’t that big a deal. Even if this is the first page we see, we can already see that it’s a comedy, so we go along with the gag.
Does this page draw people in? Well, it’s funny but not fall-down-on-the-floor funny, and it looks nice. Meconis has evolved a lot as a writer and artist over the past ten years, but this first page shows her potential. I imagine it doesn’t really matter too much if the first page draws you in – you can read this on-line, so the first page doesn’t have to grab you as much as a book for which you need to pay money for. But it does get Bite Me! off to an interesting start!
Next: Graphic novels – different animals than serial storytelling!
Hey! I’ve added an archive of these posts. They’re sorted by day, by writer, by artist, by publisher, and by decade. Fun!