Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Mosaik Project comic debuts with Toronto commuters

Hey all. It's been difficult to juggle things for the past several months. That's why I have accepted a generous offer from the dedicated folks at Sequential to have my own little comicanuck space at their site semi-regularly!

My initial focus may be there but I will also be posting here as well on and off. Hopefully we'll find the perfect balance of comicanuck goodness.

You can read a chat I had with the folks at The Mosaik Project, a new Toronto comic book available across the Toronto Transit Commission system at Gateway newstands and through the Toronto Public Library.

I ran across their debut issue this week and was actually far more intrigued by their unique approach to getting this sucker into people's hand than the contents. This is literally a throwback to old school newsstand distribution. How much more underground do you get than the subway?

Commuters are always looking for different things to read that can entertain them on short and long trips. They also have a better chance at really being seen by urban kids. And the fact that animation professionals are part of the collective behind this project means the art should always have life and a slick veneer.

The main challenge the Mosaik Project has so far is compelling material. The first issue has some nice layout, a cool portfolio and loads of hype but is short on compelling comic material. I'm not seeing anything particularly new.

A two-page colour spread advertising a new cop character called McBubbles (likely based on the videotaped cop currently suing Youtube over capturing his finest hour) just made me sad.

The first issue's comic, 9toOmega, is well rendered with a really clean line style though its light on the blacks and grey tones. The feature is drawn as if its begging for colour to fill in the blanks. But mostly, it's all about pacing and storytelling.

About two thirds of the book is taken up by an Incredibles-style commuter going to work. One or two things happen but events contribute little to the story or our knowledge of the characters. The pacing is out of whack. You turn a page and the hero is no longer in his car but suddenly walking the rest of the way to work asking why he bothers to drive.

Why did he leave his car? Because the creators need him to bump into a could-be-crazy-could-be-wise street person. Nine pages are spent covering a discussion that could have been done in four or five pages with greater impact.

I have worked for years in animation as a storyboard artist and writer and I know that sometimes animators confuse bits of business for story. I hope The Mosaik Project finds an editorial voice with a sense of story to help guide their awesome line-up of artists into showing themselves to their best advantage.

And they need to do it fast. People will make their minds up about this book pretty quickly and you want them wondering what's nest as much as possible so their faces light up when they see the book on the stands.

I see flashes of that possibility in this issue. The wonderful Perry Osuna "Electric Mosaic" portfolio shows a stellar style and will appeal to the urban audience. So will Mosaik's efforts to reach the audience (the back cover promises a High School Creator contest). Of course, proper contact info would help with that!

But this whole concept and approach has me pretty jazzed about the possibilities. So I wish the Mosaik Project all the best.

Find out more about The Mosaik Project at their blog and at their Facebook page.

Beavers Up!