Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Shame: Conception review

Shame is the first in a new series of books from publisher Renegade Arts Entertainment.

It is written by Lovern Kindzierski, who is a well enough know, it is fair to say that the main draw (no offence, Lovern!)  for most folks will be some new strip work from John Bolton.

We’ll get to the art presently, but first, the story.

Fairy tales, for a writer, are a lot of fun to work with. There is great fun to be had in retelling classic tales in a new way and in offering your own (you hope) unique twist on a well known trope. But it quickly becomes apparent that here, Kindzierski is trying for something altogether more bold: he is writing a brand new one.

On the surface the idea – how Shame came into the world – is one of those that as a writer sounds obvious when you see someone else writing, and you wonder why you hadn’t thought of it first…

Kindzierski does it well though. This is a complex tale. The language and dialogue is arch and un-naturalistic (if that's actually a word), and because of this it takes the reader a while to get into the rhythm of it. This initial difficulty is worth the effort though, as once the reader ‘gets’ it, then they are in the proper place to read what feels like a traditional, but at the same time brand new, fairy tale.

Now, John Bolton. We all know that he’s a bit good, don’t we? Here he goes for a slightly different style than I have seen from him before, in that he is pulling in some photo references to sit alongside his more usual painted art style. Again, like the writing style, this proves jarring at first, but (again, as with the writing) serves to pull the reader into the extreme fantasy world the story is set in. Bolton has also done some incredible, and disturbing, character designs here.

All in all, this is an interesting and beautiful book, and a good start to what promises to be a very good series.

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