January 19, 2010
Go to a meetup with other comics fans.
I was fortunate enough that evening to meet Onrie Kompan, who is the writer of a book that is...well, he's seeking a publisher. Since I like to vary my comics reading a bit, I decided to take the chance and purchased a copy of Yi Soon Shin: Warrior and Defender # 1, which is self-published.
Personally, I think it's not only a pretty good book...it's one of those books that, despite its unusual source material, makes a great comic that could easily be at home with a decent publisher, providing a really strong alternative to current comics fare.
Granted, it's not your usual comics fare, telling the tale of a 16th century naval warrior who fights invading Japanese samurai...but just reread that last sentence.
"The Tale of a 16th century naval warrior who fights invading Japanese samurai" Trust me, Chris Sims and Mike Sterling would be all over this book if it were published, just for the concept alone. And lest you think that this is an obscure figure, there was actually a Korean television show based on this person.
But Kompan's writing is pretty strong, setting up the situation. Granted, some of the dialogue seems a little too modern...but quite frankly, if you're going to write about medieval times, it needs to be somewhat accessible. Kompan does a good job at really establishing a time and place - we see some of the familiar tropes of fighting-against-the-tyrant storytelling....but they're used sparingly, and there's this really great sense of drama without being melodrama.
What sold me on it, however, was Giovanni Timpano's art and Adrianna De Los Santos' coloring - Timpano's art is reminiscent of J. Calafiore (of Exiles fame), but there's a little bit more detail to his figures, and there's a proper sense of proportion. But De Los Santos really makes the book breathe - in one panel, set on a ship, there is a sunset that is absolutely gorgeous. The art and the writing work together to move the narrative along...and after all, that's the most we can expect from a comic.
Admittedly, I'm not a big shot in comics, or comics blogging - I'm just a guy who likes reading and writing about them. However, I think that Yi Soon Shin: Warrior and Defender is the kind of book that deserves to be more widely read, providing a unique "premise" (based on history) and creating a unique atmosphere.
If anyone knows anyone else at a publishing house, please drop me a line. I would like to add this to my pull file as quickly as possible.