Sunday, December 17, 2006
Double Reviews to sart the week
Action Figure; From the Journals of Richard Marzelak #1.
(You know, if I got as many Comic Shops to order the book as I've got reviews I wouldn't have to keep shamelessly plug the book on this blog!)
The first is from Kevin Agot, another reviewer on the Comics, Books and Graphic Novel Review site, The Comics Review:
- The Comics Review
Action Figures #1 gets my vote for the most creative comic book cover of 2006. It shows our intrepid author/illustrator as a real action figure, Richard Marzelak, encased in typical, plastic packaging trying to punch his way out. With an introduction to our character in this manner, what’s it like on the inside?
A few years ago I watched Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor. Although I’ve been collecting comics for almost 40 years, reading the stories of day-to-day living never really appealed to me. They seemed extremely mundane as compared to the multi-cosmic excesses of megalomaniacal Little Caesars trying to thrash XYZ Universes in order to remake in their own, glorious image. But, after having read comics for almost 40 years (have I mentioned that I’ve read comics for almost 40 years?) my eyes often wander from capes and cowls to something…different. In the wake of newly expanded and freely experimental mindset, I’ve started buying books that don’t begin with an “X” or a “Mighty” or “Indomitable” or some other hyperactive adjective.
“Action Figure #1” begins in the not-too-distant future (uh-oh, a “cosmic” beginning) whereupon newfound homeowners find a box of journals, day-to-day notes and photos of Richard Marcej. This is a rather inventive way to introduce a character justifying a closer look at his daily travails and victories. We find that Richard is an artist struggling to do well in life…but, he’s instead, dealt a few bad hands. The artwork and writing beautifully articulate Richard’s life. The choice of black and white (while possibly chosen for strictly financial reasons) perfectly frame his life as nothing otherworldly or spectacular but, still moving and impacting, nonetheless. The opening sequence is reminiscent of some of the straighter, understated artwork of Mad Magazine’s Don Martin. When the book takes a look inside the journals of Richard’s life, the artwork morphs into line work reminiscent of the great Richard Howell. Marcej is a great storyteller with beautiful artwork that serves to keep the story grounded in reality.
“Action Figure #1” shows us a glimpse into the life of Richard Marzelak. As comparatively mundane as this book may seem when placed next to the Big Two’s spandex “Flavor of the Month” titles, Marcej shows us that true life can be just as fascinating, if we just take a look and pay attention. I highly recommend this book!
Writing Rating: (9.5/10)
Artistic Rating: (9.5/10)
Overall Rating: (9.5/10)
The second is from Marc Mason the reviewer from Comics Waiting Room:
ACTION FIGURE #1 is written and drawn by Richard Marcej. Marcej was an artist and designer for both Hasbro and Hallmark early in his career, and this series was set to be a semi-autobiographical take on his experiences working for those companies and what came afterwards. Unfortunately, ACTION FIGURE didn’t make the Diamond minimum for orders, so the author is now selling the book direct through his Baboon Books website. It’s sort of a shame that the book didn’t get wide distribution; this opening tale of his stand-in “Richard Marzelak” is an accomplished piece of work, even with its flaws. Marcej certainly has plenty of artistic talent, and he shows a decent grasp of layout for someone putting together his first comic. The story of an everyman trying to figure out his dreams and escaping a soul-sucking job rings true as well. The one place where he does go off the rails a bit is in his depiction of Marzelak’s character. He comes across as very whiny more than once, making it a bit difficult to sympathize with him. Still, this is a book with real merit, and worth your attention.
Another big thanks from me to The Comics Review and Comics Waiting Room for reading and reviewing my book!
And as always, for those interested, you can see preview pages click here
and buy it click here.