Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. As it's now December, I will be examining the LAST pages of random comics, so watch out for SPOILERS! Today's page is from Barbarossa & the Lost Corsairs #1, which was published by Kandora Publishing and is cover dated April 2005. Enjoy!
Kandora Publishing didn't last long, but they managed to ship a few comics, this being the first one. It's a fairly stereotypical pirate book - Barbarossa is a charming rogue instead of a crazed killer, for instance - but it's mildly entertaining. I mean, look at this last page! How can you go wrong?
Brian Augustyn wrote this, but he doesn't have much to do with this page. Our heroes have just passed through a strange reality warp and have ended up in a land that looks like paradise, which is why Augustyn gives us "Wherever they were ..." in the first narrative box. Obviously, he's much more interested in ending this issue with a bang, which is why there's a giant octopus-ish monster. You gotta give the people a reason to come back, after all!
The art team is H.S. Park, Y.C. Jang, Transparency Digital, and Dave Lanphear. Lanphear does a nice job with the font, making it feel olde-tymey, and the colorists make it beige, adding to the feeling of age. The second narrative box, with its ragged edge, gives the impression that whatever page the words were written on has been torn off, adding to the sense of danger. Meanwhile, Park breaks the page down very strangely. On the previous page, Hizir (Barbarossa) and his crew have just seen the new world they're in, and everything looks idyllic. We turn the page and are suddenly confronted with this image, which is fine, but it seems like the monster just appears out of thin air. That's Barbarossa with the blue and white turban in Panel 1, as he and his crewman look the "correct" way - to the right - as they see the monster. But then we get Panel 2, which is odd. I assume it's supposed to show the monster rising out of the water, but all it shows are blue blobs, which is obviously water, and ... nothing else. Park might want us to assume what happens, but it's very unclear. Plus, it obscures the monster in Panel 3, the large splash that sits behind the other two. The monster is well drawn and scary, and it needs to be where it is because if Park moved it to the right, we wouldn't be able to see the ship that it's picked up and turned over, and that's fairly important. It robs the scene of some drama, because the reader is wondering what's behind the useless panel. The one eye is fine, as it's in the center of the page and helps mesmerize us just a little, but it's still not as powerful a panel as it could be. Notice that Park leads us down from the creature's tentacles toward Barbarossa's ship at the bottom of the page, so that's fine, but it still isn't as strong as it could be. The colorists do a fine job with the eerie red of the monster's eye, which matches the red of its suckers and blends nicely with the brown of its skin, all of which contrasts well with the deep blue of the ocean. It's not a bad page, visually, except for Panel 2, which sticks out like a sore thumb.
I'm not sure if Barbarossa ever got past issue #2 (which I also own), but if it did, it didn't last too long past it! It's too bad - Kandora, like a lot of other publishers, were trying to do something other than superheroes, and they just couldn't compete. Oh well!
Next: Remember the good old days when Ryan Sook actually drew interiors? Relive them with this comic! And don't neglect the archives just because the end of the year is nigh! There might be something you missed!