Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Review: Hauptmann Longinus

Wow, so I actually got sent a promotional digital copy of a comic to review! I get to be an official reviewer for a day! How cool is that?

The comic is called "Hauptmann Longinus" (as you've probably guessed from the blog entry title), by Hushicho and the official site is here. The comic is distributed through ComixPress.

The art has a lot of manga influences, it's ink and paper (no color naturally), the line and ink work looks lovely from my limited experience. Very clean lines, which I like a lot. The main text/dialogue font is nice and easily read. The character designs look nice too, both main characters are clearly distinguished, design wise, as is the main villain. I think that Hushicho's figures are interestingly drawn, if a little awkward looking at certain points, (first portrayals of original characters often have that quality to me, because, I think, the artist is still getting the hang of how they want their characters to look), however where Hushicho really excels is in the portrayal of scenery and inanimate objects. Tents, rocks, boxes are all drawn with lovely details. They really catch the eye, though occasionally the characters look a little more awkward in comparison.

It's hard to evaluate the story on a first issue, I think, but it's an interesting start. The setting is an AU of World War II, where supernatural events have prevented the quick ending of the War, so it's extended into 1947. The main character is a German soldier that's part of a group of the military dissatisfied with the Nazi regime. Through the events of this comic, he will become the hero "Hauptmann Longinus". (The name is, naturally, a reference to the Spear of Destiny, which plays a big role.) Another notable character is a British soldier, who seems as though he will be something of a subordinate partner or sidekick.

The story has elements from both Western Superhero comics and manga. In general, I think they mix together well. Though I thought the almost-naked transformation scene was a bit over the top and jarred me out of the scene. Lionel's costume also bemuses me a bit, I wonder what it looks like in color.

It's difficult to judge the interactions/dialogue of the characters yet because the beginning of a new story tends to be a little awkward with exposition, and the characters are too new to each other to have settled into their long term bonds yet. Both Alphonse and Lionel are interesting enough to warrant a second look though, which should be the goal of a first issue.

The concept is interesting, I think. WWII is a pretty common topic in media, comics, movies, tv, but there are very few stories in American literature which focus on sympathetic German characters. (An important note: the comic does not seek a positive/sympathetic portrayal of the Nazi party or their actions or politics. It instead focuses on a few individual soldiers, a key difference). This gives the story an interesting perspective. One not commonly seen.

My knowledge of WWII (aside from a bit of side research on occult politics and the Thule Society) centers primarily around the Pacific War, so I admit, I can't speak for any accuracies or inaccuracies in titles of rank, uniform, setting plausibility or anything like that. I haven't noticed anything particularly jarring from my limited knowledge base. And the AU aspects appear so far to be reasonably logically derived from the divergent point.

So yeah, I think it's a pretty interesting start of a comic. Should be neat to see where it goes.


  • At May 02, 2006 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree,it does look very promising.I wonder also about how The Internet will tend to effect the entire comics genre.Scott McCloud,are you hearing this?

  • At May 02, 2006 10:02 PM, Blogger Centurion said…

    From what I can see from the two sample pages on the website, two things stand out to me artistically. Keep in mind that I'm speaking out of my personal opinion, and a background in art.

    First of all, the backgrounds feel washed out for content. It may me the way they are scanned in, but they look inked for color and not for black and white. The outside shots are well drawn as well as the clothing, both of which are fairly difficult.

    The other thing that bothers me is the way the faces are drawn. I know it is a manga style, as it popular now, but even manga follows general alignment rules. What I mean is that something doesn't look right in the faces. My first impression is that the eyes are set too far up on the face, but looking more carefully I think the nose ends too low. The artist then followed spacing rules, making the lower face seemingly crushed into a smaller space than what should be allowed.

    That's it for the critical review of the art, one thing that I wish they had done was draw the spear a bit more lavishly like how it purportedly really looks. I'm sure the shaft is fairly bland, but the tip is a wide blade with a gold wrapping. More ornate ribbons around it would have been nice as well, since the two pieces are together in the comic.

    Still, I do like the simple visual style outside of what I mentioned, however, I do think from what I've seen a simple coloring job would really help. Maybe limited watercolor would look good.

  • At May 03, 2006 9:15 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    anon: I doubt he's wandering around *here* of all places. :-)

    cent: Always good to have a more arty-person's impression. :-) I do think though that the particular quirks of the background give it a lot of character though. :-)

    Would be *awesome* to see in color though. :-)

  • At May 03, 2006 9:11 PM, Blogger Centurion said…

    I do want to see it in color, but nothing bold or vivid. I stick with a my watercolor idea. Something like this really needs the 'old world' feel of faded color - like color WW2 footage. Greens, browns, greys, pale yellows, and dirty reds.

    Either that, or screentones to add depth to the line art.


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