Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Uncle Sam and the runaway photocopier

I like Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. I do. I really really do. It's a well written book that can stand up to several readings but I'm about ready to pitch the current mini-series. Why? Crappy, lazy artwork. Yup, I said CRAPPY LAAAAZY ARTWORK!! I do like Renato Arlem, but this man either was under one hell of a deadline or he is the laziest artist since Keith Giffen. EXPLANATION: Why I called Keith Giffen lazy is due to his work on HEX back in the day. The man would draw one freaking eyeball in a panel of black and I was supposed to try to figure out what the hell was going on. BACK TO REGULAR POST I present the following for your perusal.

Here is a nice page from issue #1 but if you look at the Human Bomb in the 1st & 4th panel, he matches. So does the Red Bee in the 1st & 2nd. Doc Midnight in the 1st & 2nd has only an arm being different and the Ray in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th panel.


Take a look at Red Bee in panel 1 and 2, exactly the same except that it has been flipped.


Compare Black Condor in panel 4 and 5. How about Director Robbins in panel 1 and 6? And then you can compare Firebrand in panel five and a panel from the prior page.
Things got a lot worse in issue #2. Almost the whole book was photocopied. Here is page 2. Director Robbins in panel 1, 2, & 3. Phantom Lady's body position is the same in the 3 panels and the face and arms match in 2 & 4


Page 4 isn't any better. Half the page is exactly the same! I understand that the action takes place in a room, but there are better, more artistic ways to display that. Like maybe drawing the scene from a different angle? Or is that too much like work?
Let's head on to page 5. Let's marvel that someone got paid good money to do this. The lady in purple in panel 1 has been flipped and placed in panel 2. Phantom Lady is exactly the same in panels 1 & 2 as well as 3, 4, & 5.Let's go to the next page. Granted this page has 5 panels and for the most part you can't see anything similar...except for panels 2 & 4. Again the purple lady has been flipped. I won't carp about the podium being the exact same, we have already established that Arlem has no eye for cinema.Next page, Arlem shows the passage of time by giving us identical poses. However it makes me think the lady in the chair is dead.

Next we have a big fight. See if you can spot things that look alike in these three panelsAnd now my head explodes with anger at the closing pages. Let's make this easy. Howabout we find a panel that DOESN'T have artwork copied somewhere else? Hmm, let's see, panel 1 has the same Uncle Sam as panels 2, 6, & 7. Human Bomb is the same in panels 1, 4, 5, 6, flipped in 7. Dollman is the same in panel 1, 5, & 11. The lady in blue is the same in 1, 5, flipped in 7, and in 11. Stormy is the same in 1, 2, 4, 5, & 6 with only minor changes to the face or arms. Stormy in panel 7 matches 8 & 9. And Uncle Sam is the same in panels 11, 12, & 13 and Human Bomb is identical in 11 & 12. And to finish everything off lets' have the first and last panels be mirror images of each other. But wait, isn't panel 3 familiar? Well it will be when you flip the page and see the exact same face again. I would scan it for you, but why? It's identical.I'm sorry, DC, but if I'm gonna shell out $2.99 for a book, I would like a good story AND good art. If this happens in issue #3, I'm dropping the book and not buying anything that has Arlem's handiwork in it ever again.

16 comments:

SallyP said...

Good Grief! I haven't been reading this, and I'm glad. It is as though he drew four or five people, and then just enlarged or flipped them to fill out each panel.

Now THAT'S lazy.

H said...

Well argued counselor.

I still admire Arlen's detail work, but it seems obvious the price of the fine detail was the lack of effort on the main characters.

Let's talk about this again after we see how he does next issue.

H

Brandon Bragg said...

I really enjoyed Acuna's art from the first mini and was somewhat disappointed when I found out he wasn't gonna be around for this. I enjoyed his exagerations because they helped add to the sense of wackiness.

It'd be awesome if they could get John Severin for the art chores. Or at least someone else who can get that slightly silly, cartoonish look across without losing the realism.

Michael Jones said...

It's like those old Hanna Barbera cartoons, where they keep repeating backgrounds over and over and over...

Phill said...

When this happens in Get Your War On or Red Meat, it's not that big a deal. Maybe if they knocked a buck off the price or something...

Your Ol' Pal Rob said...

Wow. And my mom told me that I could never make a living playing with colorforms.

Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

I've heard that issue 3 is even worse.

I'll flip through it & if I can find even ONE photocopy, I'm dropping it. Why waste my time?

M.D. said...

If you want some more Xeroxing fun, check out his Hawkgirl run. I'm looking at the last issue of the series before it was cancelled a few months ago (#66), and I swear the same face was identically cloned 16 times throughout the issue. Sometimes he would rotate it at slightly different angles in an effort to fool you.

Oh and most of his backgrounds are stock photos that he disguises with Photoshop filters to match the rest of the art. Real high-class draftsman.

Rich said...

I'm almost expecting those crazy reptiles from Dinosaur Comics to show up.

Redmond said...

LOL Clip Art Comics.

Matthew J. Brady said...

Damn, it's like watching an episode of Sealab 2021.

the4thpip said...

Yeah, those lazy short cuts have bugged me often. Who was it that did Secret War? Del Otto? Same problem. And the first few issues of New Avengers. For some reasons, Bendis books seem to invite that kind of laziness.

Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

This sort of reminds me of the old Clutch Cargo cartoons.

I just wonder why in this day and age we tolerate this sort of work?

zc said...

It's weird--his art has been stupid like this for his DC work, but I don't remember having any problem with his art on the Annihilation: Silver Surfer series a year ago. Hell, I thought it was the best of the four mini-series.

What the hell happened?

Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

I think the problem is that DC keeps paying him for 'work' like this.

Odkin said...

This isn't the 80's - those aren't photocopies, the whole thing is a Photoshop production. As for the characters, at least at some point he actually creates an original drawing before re-using it. As M.D. said in an earlier post, the backgrounds and other objects are not drawings at all and never were! They are just photos altered with Photoshop. That's why the backgrounds are so static- he CAN'T change the camera angle unless he has a differnt angle photo of the object or the room! It literally IS ColorForms!