Friday, June 12, 2015

The Classic: Volume One

Well, there are also a few people that think we were all put here by a group of super advanced alien life forms. . .

Errant Story began in November 2002, only a  few months after Poe's previous comic, Exploitation Now! ended.  Yeah, they're that close together, and I started reading it a few months after that (my review went up in January 2003, so yeah).  Talking about the first volume of Errant Story really can't be done without mentioning Exploitation Now! because it is the foundation of that introduction.

The humor from EN! is very evident in this volume, especially in the conversations between Ellis and Meji.  They remind me of toned down versions of Bimbo and Ralph.  They constant sniping and bickering is definitely right out of EN! and later jokes (there's a yaoi gag there, and if you don't know, don't look it up) are in the same vein.  This humor will be sprinkled throughout the comic until those fairies show up when they'll bring it full force once again, but we're a ways away from that.  Still, there's a lot of EN! humor in the first volume.

And a LOT of dialog.  My god there is so much on a few of the early pages.  I remember the commentary track mentioning they were breaking up some of the pages because they were solid dialog, but I had forgotten how bad it really was.  Meji's introduction is her talking and the page is more dialog balloons than art.  It does pull back after that, but expect a lot of talking early on.  Reminds me of when I reread Life of Riley and how much dialog was in that comic too.  Same time period, so I guess I really didn't notice.  EN! had the same issues near the end of it's short run, so again, more overflow.

I get why there's so much there, this is Meji's introduction and there wasn't any good way to relate it besides having her and Ellis snipe at each other over it.  All of the main characters (Ian, Sarine, Jon, Sara, Meji) are introduced through the length of the first volume.  Sure, Sara doesn't get much time (an alt-text even mentions she won't be significant for 400 pages), but the rest get some characterization.  It's not everything (Volume Two does more of that), but it's enough to give the readers an idea of who the characters are.  Sarine doesn't really like what's she's doing, but does it anyway.  Jon complains about wasting bullets to save Meji, but the next scene has him shooting leaves for practice, undermining his argument.  Ian's reaction to any comment regarding his sister hints at his reactions in the future, etc, etc.

If anything, Meji gets the least characterization, outside of Sara of course.  Mostly, she admits to being lazy, but there are less than subtle (aka Ellis) hints that she's insecure about her looks, is ignored by her mother, and reacts poorly to criticism (aka Ellis).  It's a little more limited, even though we follow her more than the others, but given the length of the comic is her coming of age, I guess it's fitting.

Finally, there is some world building early on, but much of it is limited to off handed comments.  The last full chapter features more about the ancient history of the world than the modern era than the rest of the comic, all done in a single conversation.  Oddly, much of what's said is true (including the quote at the top here) so the major storyline is pretty well established even this early on.  I'm sure the details were still kind of nebulous at this point, but the setup for a much longer story were well settled by now.

It's a good introduction to a longer story, one that is growing from very little.  The players are introduced, the world is built, the tone is settled, and the story is moved along.  Next time, Volume Two and maybe Three, depends on how much of is there.  Until then kiddies.

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