There is a meme that goes on in comics classes that you don’t have to be a good drawer to be a comic artist. This is false and misleading. It’s true that you don’t have to have Katsuhiro Otomo level skillz, but if your artwork is both poorly rendered and boring, it’s probably best that you stick with poetry jams. Or in this case, fanfiction.net.
Yesterday I saw the first issue of Jurassic Park: Redemption and, being the classy connoisseur of the franchise, squealed like a ecstatic guinea pig while fishing for change to buy it.
Here is the cover art by Frank Miller. Cool, eh?
Alas, Frank Miller just did the cover, while the actual comic is penciled by Nate Van Dyke. They ought to make up some sort of platitude about how book covers can potentially mislead you as to the quality of the book. This is what you find inside JP:R.
I’m not complaining about scientific accuracy, this is Jurassic Park after all. I’m complaining about oh my god that’s the most awful splash page I’ve ever seen in my life. Was Nate Van Dyke shanghaied into doing this project and did the worst job he could do on purpose? Did he ask a friend if he could borrow a Jurassic Park DVD and somehow ended up with a 50’s man-in-a-rubber-suit dinosaur flick? You’d think if you were doing a Jurassic Park comic, the first thing you’d ask a potential artist is “can you draw dinosaurs competently?” That’s kind of the whole reason for JP’s existence. I’ve seen harlequin babies that were easier on the eye.
It doesn’t get much better, and it’s not just the dinosaurs that suffer. Everything is just so freaking ugly. The human characters have no life to them whatsoever. Sometimes the art doesn’t fit the text or isn’t continuous with the panels proceeding it. For example, one panel shows a truck driver leaving to take a whizz in the bushes; the next panel he’s being hurled from the top of his trailer.
Mr. Van Dyke is of the school of scratchy dry brush artwork style that is typical of the grungy horror comic, the kind that usually feature zombies and middle-of-nowhere truckstops and people wearing flannel. I’m not a big fan of that style even in those kind of comics. The Jurassic Park series isn’t grungy. It’s sleek and adventurous. It’s both the Lost World and the World of Tomorrow. Jurassic Park is a John Williams score, this comic is a crappy hellbilly band. I don’t care if this comic takes place in rural Texas, it just doesn’t fit.
The artwork’s pretty much ruined this for me, but let’s hash the plot anyway. It’s 13 years after the events of the first movie. Lexx Murphy is the CEO of Lexxcrops (hee!) and is anti-Jurassic Park. Tim Murphy is in charge of grandpa’s company and also seems to want to get JP running again. Meanwhile, there’s a secret corral of dinosaurs being kept in Glen Rose Texas.Which is being run by a guy who was eaten by a T-Rex in the second movie. Even though this takes place after the third. I guess he was bitten by a mosquito which was fossilized in amber and they cloned him back. Or maybe Lexx and Tim were DEAD THE WHOLE TIME!!!
Speaking of Glen Rose and speaking of redemption, this comic would’ve totally redeemed itself if it took a dig at Glen Rose’s creationist infestation. Alas! Maybe they’re saving it for a later issue.
The first issue ends with a stupid-looking shape-shifting Carnotaurus breaking loose and eating various large mammals. I wish you well on your mammal eating adventures, Fake-notaurus. I’m afraid I can’t bring myself to accompany you.