Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More Comics: A steampunk western and a Turkish adventure

Ok, so how did I get here... Oh, yes.  I remember.  Fellow Salon mate, Ella Gray, tweeted about a web comic she liked. And you know how that goes.  Show up on that web page and find something interesting. Follow that, and find yet another something of interest.  And so on, and so on. 

So, what was this fabulously exciting web comic?  Next Town Over, a steampunk western.  Actually, the link was to Newsarama and an interview with creator Erin Mehlos.
Newsarama: Okay Erin, I'll bite -- how did you come up with the concept for Next Town Over, and what led to the steampunk/supernatural elements seep into the story?
Erin Mehlos: I always kind of wanted to do something with a Western flavor, and I used to doodle manga girls in cowboy hats from time to time as a kid. The seed for the NTO plot, though, actually started off as a jokey criticism I was giving my sister about a story she’d written, where the action was just moving from place to place for no apparent reason as her protagonists just wrecked town after town.
Incidentally. none of the towns were developed whatsoever or even had names; the characters just referred to them as “the next town over.” I was just being a jerk, really, and said that should just be the core of the story: nemeses just destroying place after place with zero regard for all the collateral damage, and any effect it might have on the people unfortunate enough to live in their path.
And that became NTO, but obviously I’ve sort of ruined the, uh, purity of the original concept. The story got a little snarled in the writing, but three books out, I don’t know how apparent that is.

That's a great answer to the ubiquitous "where do you get your ideas?" question.   I got caught up in her comments about her process and the storytelling and never did get to the comic, itself.  Instead, I got distracted about here:

Nrama: What are some of your other favorite comics and creators, online and off? 
Mehlos: Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant recently wrapped -- that was a phenomenal bit of webcomicking. I found him originally through the Flight anthologies; I’m a big fan of all those creators and Kazu Kibuishi especially. I really liked Daisy Kutter too, his Western

Delilah Dirk!  More great art.  Even though I don’t usually like computer generated coloring of comics, both of these artists Mehlos and Delilah’s creator Tony Cliff seem to have taken the best of the lyrical line and the consistency of color and created attractive images. 

Visual clarity. That’s what gets me.  The pages as a whole are beautiful or interesting to look at.  Both artists use framing that is as interesting as the content it frames.  And Cliff’s depictions of Turkey are delightful!  Evidently, he is trying to keep things as authentic as possible.

And if you haven’t noticed yet, No, I haven’t read the comics. Not yet, anyway.  I got distracted by more links.  The rest of the wandering was a bit more academic AND I'm waiting for a couple of paper books to come in. Like two volumes of Flight! I’ll keep you posted.  Meanwhile, check out Next Town Over and Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant.  Any other comics I should check out?

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