As the Helsinki Comic Festival was just last week I..
It was at LEAST four weeks ago!
But nevermind that! I bought a shitload of good, bad and ugly comics for y’all to laugh, gasp and awe at and one of them is
- Pretty in brown!
..I can’t belive it’s been so many weeks. I seriously thought I could make a report RIGHT after the con, but.. THE BOOZE IS JUST TOO GOOD OKAY!?
- I need to switch the sponsor.. but I can’t *sob*
But enough of my trademarked, drunken self-pity! I got a real treasure for you from the depths of the hell we call “finnmanga”
This comic is done by Maaria Laurinen and I have dissected her comics before(Shadow World) so I got quite high expectations for her next comic.. which is this here and now! Phantomland! And I have to admit, I was not let down by her talent.
Let’s dwell deeper in this. Deeper than the seventh level of finnmanga hell! Let’s start this journey with the main characters.
The Tough Guy
- I’m so tough
And The Clumsy Apprentice
- I’m so clumsy and.. apprentice!
Those images were from the very first pages, and the characters already fell into their cliché niché’s. This can be bad or good depending on the length of the comic. For a short story stereotypical “bad guy”, “good guy” type of cast is easy to get into and requires no lenghty explanations. Long journey to the depth of the character will force the story to get longer or off-focus. You cannot get known to a person in a week, hardly in a year and you cannot get into a character in one chapter or a short, action filled short story.
I heard Maaria planned this story to get rather long, the first chapter is just about 55 pages, and there is apparently more to come and she seems to be full of ideas. I mean.. look at this!
- I ripped it straight from here: http://maaria.deviantart.com/art/Miniature-concepts-116776129 go give it views and fave it so Maaria will not rip my head off
She seems genuinely excited about her own ideas, and that’s always a positive thing. If everything else fails, at least people will see how much effort the artist put into their work and how they gave it so much love.
So why so two-dimensional characters? Instead of them gaining more persona their two-dimensionality comes only clearer as you get to “know them better”. I hope their personality gets deeper in the later parts, but to be honest I highly doubt it, they seem to be based on the Generic Anime Stereotypes, and I am yet to see a person who has fought that off. When you draw with a certain style, you are also in danger of telling the story with a certain style.
At least she doesn’t have that “annoying, cutesy, big-eyed fluffy thing”-syndrome.
- KILL IT! KILL IT WITH PINKEYE!
Or the watered down version of this syndrome “silly, young little girl who never shuts up”. The Apprentice might be quite close but not really. She is barely saved by the stereotype of a clumsy apprentice who is trying too hard.
- She.. tries too hard
And the Tough Guy is always drunk. Always. With drunk blush on his face, hiccups and all.
- Though, he kinda tried acting more drunk than he was by hiccupping there, but yeah. Drunk tough guy.
Oh yeah, and..
THIS GUY IS SUCH AN ADDICT! Why is he still on his job?? And why did they give this drunk an incompetent little girl to drag around!? Probably so they can stand back and laugh how they have driven their friend to mix pills with alcohol again because human misery is heeeee-laaarious~ and this guy is clearly not deep enough for their amusement. Damn! I’d be mixing drugs with alcohol too if I’d be one eyed, gene manipulated, mole-faced gangster who has to babysit a whiny, little, trying-too-hard kid while trying to kick ass.
- The story of my life
The story didn’t really have much time to kick into a start in mere 58 pages. There’s not much time for any in-depth plotting as this comic has ALOT of action. Sweet, awesomely drawn and enjoyable action.
- DAYMN! Tough Guy is the bastard child of Batman and Dr. Gregory House!
Honestly, this professional and steady use of line is so good that she could easily fake being a “real manga artist” from Japan, and she is damn straight real manga artist. None of the other finnmanga artists even compare to her level of technical skill, and even that her characters are cliché and plot doesn’t seem to be anything unseen, she beats them at that too. You can follow the “finnmanga” tag so you can see this for yourself.
So what is the plot, exactly?
Apparently Tough Guy and Overenthusiastic Apprentice are part of some law enforcement gang called “Ghosts”. I have no idea why they are called that or what makes them different from any other guy in this comic except their title but..
No.. wait a minute..
Let me compare a bit
- Where’s Waldo?
..Got it yet?
Well, ladies and gentlemen the difference between a “Ghost”, special, virus-carrying, superpowerful human and a regular human is..
..a mole on the either side of the eye.
DON’T ASK ME! I just.. what.. If these moles don’t shoot laser beams, open portals to terrifying realities or even store electricity like pikachu’s cheeks – what’s the point!? Why moles!? Are ugly, mole-faced people just considered dead in this universe or what’s up with that. I need some answers, this is too silly and random just to accept. Do they tattoo those on newly created “Ghosts”? Are they some sort of identification microchips? gahh!
At least that’s rather.. original. Though, I don’t really watch enough anime to come to any conclusions about that. I can pick up some of the major “movie clichés” and that’s it.
Like how the Tough Guy only gets pretty bruises that bleed prettily.
- Too cool to care.. or bleed profusely
And at one point he goes all Alucard on bad guys, or for you non-anime folks, he goes all Joker on bad guys. You know.. that korny “FIGHTING IS SO MUCH FUN MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”-frenzy
- I’M SUCH A STEREOTYPICAL ROUGHNECK MUA HUA HUA!
..that scene was full of action and kinda cool BUT STILL! Korny. Yes.
And holey moley is that Maes Hughes!?
- Someone’s been reading Fullmetal Alchemist
Gah! It’s like the evil twin brother of Hughes!! In fact, this whole comic is like some sort of evil twin of the Fullmetal Alchemist, she even has the same style to draw bristling, cracking or breaking objects than what Fullmetal Alchemist does.
- Okay okay! I will not make fun of your moles ever again! I’M SO SORRY SIR! AIEEE!
But the ultimate korny thing that I just can’t forgive is one joke that was made during this comic. So.. here’s like this real tough, shade wearing big boss.
- These are no Raybans, they’re fucking Serengetis you ignoramus
But he like.. hides something behind those shades!!
TEE HEE HEE THE BAD GUY HAS PRETTY EYES! Wow, you just did the most cliché joke ever being told in a..
Well.. that was rather.. awkward.
Dispite all of the kornyness and the Fullmetal Alchemist – influence shining trough, this comic is a good read. I enjoyed the whole of it and stayed amazed and amused by the good halftones..
- This scan doesn’t do it justice. For once there’s NO dot disease!
- For once, the characters do not live in a white void
..and exaggerated perspective.
- Groooooovy, maaan!
The plot and depth of characters wasn’t anything we’ve not seen before, but dammit the girl can draw and tell a story. There wasn’t a single “wait.. what just happened?”-moment, which is what killed the previous finnmangas dead. Every other finnmanga has failed to make a comphrehensive story, even that they had writers, inkers and the artist to fold it out as a team. I highly recommend you go read at least the first 18 pages at Phantomland’s own web page I will list on the sources under this post.
So.. as we near the end of this post..
- He’s my drinking bud from now on ❤
..I should be nice and reveal that, yes indeed the Tough Guy and Overenthusiastic Fail Apprentice have real names.
- Cool jacket.. where’d you get that one?
And now, I’m out! I have to run fast before I draw more slash about Hawke
My friends who could spot the anime clichés. I owe you a beer.