Graphic Novel Of The Month
Wasteland: Book 04: Dog Tribe (Oni Press): Book 04 of Wasteland reaches a creative pinnacle associated with the notion of world building. Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten make us feel, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that The Big Wet Universe expands far beyond the confines of the printed page. This effect is best evidenced by the wonderful bonus material that explains how thoroughly thought out the Dog Tribe arc was; look how much work and preparation was behind it all that never even ended up on the printed page. Whether it was the original town of Providens, the city of Newbegin and its inhabitants, Artisians or Sunners, the people of Sultan Ameer’s Caravan, The Dog Tribes, Ruin Runners like Michael, or the in-between issues about the children and the founding of Newbegin, or the fleshing out of relatively minor characters in Carla Speed McNeil’s issue, Johnston is methodically building a world and its various people. And it’s not just their simple introduction, but the presentations of their languages, looks, customs, and social hierarchy. These amazing detours are established and explored momentarily, while the overall story still progresses forward. And what to say about Christopher Mitten that hasn't already been confessed dozens of times? He’s capable of rendering anything thrown at him in the scripts with quiet confidence. His pencils are not just convincing shots of people and their emotion or the clarity of the rousing action sequences, but joyous there in the little detailed flourishes found in the clothing, weapons, backgrounds, jewelry, and baubles. Simply put, I’m brimming with excitement about the impending 25th issue and hardcover Apocalyptic Edition, hoping for more discovery of the universe and more special behind the scenes material. Wasteland began as an exciting mash up of some accepted genre conventions which quickly coalesced into something greater than the sum of its parts, it then grew to be a cautionary tale that allowed us to examine ourselves like all great art does, and has now added the ongoing seminar in writing and art that both those in the field, and those hoping to be, can aspire to. The word that springs to mind with this book is commitment to craft. Perhaps the most heartfelt compliment I can pay is that Antony Johnston is the kind of writer I want to be; not what he writes per se, but how he writes it, how he approaches his craft. Here it is folks... the best book you're not reading. Grade A+.