Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tommy's Take on Death By A Thousand Papercuts


Death By A Thousand Paper cuts is a new indy comic by Andrew P. Anderson up on Kickstarter, and it is certainly a timely affair.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Set in the aftermath of the fall of the United States, the US has split into the North and South once more, now known as Free America and the Border States, respectively. Alaska and Hawaii have also become their own nations, and America's enemies are moving in to pick off what is left of this country.

The first issue (four are planned, to be collected in a graphic novel) provides a narrative overview of the fall of America, and follows three story threads, one set in the Border States, one in Free America and one in Afghanistan.

While the narrative casts no specific blame on a given ideology or political party, the narrative does veer closer to the Right than the Left, though it does fall closer to a "Libertarian" mindset than a "Republican" one.

The art uses very broad, "widescreen" panels for much of the book, which makes for an odd fit considering there's not a lot of action in the book. The lettering is an interesting red and white on black mix, with emphasised words in bright red.

WHAT WORKS: The premise is very interesting, and it is nice to see a political story in a comic book from something other than a Leftist take.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The story is a very slow starter, and none of the characters are very well developed. Now, it may turn out that the overall story is so big that none of the characters need a ton of characterization, and if so, that's fine (and entirely possible). The art is neither exciting, nor is it expressive enough to make the people come alive. The lettering is, at points, incredibly confusing, with conversations not flowing from character to character due to the placement of word balloons. Some nitpick details also bother me, such as the assassination of the President in 2011 pretty clearly NOT being the current President (which only bothers me given how it is otherwise grounded in reality).

CONCLUSION: With the "widescreen" approach to the story telling, it just didn't feel like issue one had time to do anything more than set up the basics...serving more as a prologue than an Act One. That said, I'm curious to see where the story goes, as an American. Is it ultimately an uplifting tale of America pulling itself back together in light of great adversity? Or the second "Fall of Rome"? Big, political tales seem to be a risky proposition in comics, but I wish them luck, even if I see flaws in the execution.