Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dungeons and Dragons Comic Book: Back on Track?

Just over a year ago— on January 1, 2011— I posted a positive review of the new Dungeons & Dragons comic book by IDW.  It had been years since I purchased a comic, but as I reviewed the first three issues (including Issue #0) of the newest D&D comic book, I tried to convey the excitement I felt looking forward to another issue each month.

The comic book’s five main characters (a human fighter, dwarf paladin, halfling rogue, elf ranger, and tiefling warlock) could have all too easily been portrayed as stale adventuring stereotypes, but with John Rogers capably and creatively guiding the ongoing story, the party instead comes to life in a refreshing, entertaining way.  The clever, witty writing in each issue always brings a smile to my face and at some point I invariably find myself thinking, “That is so exactly what one of the guys at my D&D game would say!”  And, at least for the first five issues, the art of Andrea Di Vito was the perfect complement to Rogers’ story.  Like I said, it had been a long time since I’d purchased a comic book, but I still knew good art when I saw it.

But then, with Issue #6, things started to get a bit screwy with the art.  In that issue, according to the credits, Di Vito only did the art for one page and some other guy did the rest of the comic.  With Issue #7, Di Vito again only did one page, and the rest of the art was split between two other fellows.  And in both of those issues, it must be said, the other guys’ art didn’t compare favorably to Di Vito’s superb work.

Things were happily back to normal in Issue #8, with Di Vito being the sole artist.  The art in the next four issues was confusing and disappointing, though.  In Issue #9, there were three different artists.  Issue #10 was the low point of the whole affair, with four guys doing the art.  Issues #11 and 12 had three guys doing the art in each issue.  It had been years since I faithfully followed a comic book, and the new Dungeons & Dragons comic was the only one I now bought each month, but I couldn’t imagine this use of multiple artists within a single issue had somehow become standard practice in the industry.  The different styles in each issue were an annoying distraction from the story, especially since— as I mentioned earlier— none of the other art was even close to being as good as Di Vito’s.  I kept buying the D&D comic during this time, but I was becoming steadily more disillusioned with handing over $3.99 each month for subpar and confusing work by the IDW art department.

But with Issue #13, things seemed to (thankfully) get back on track!  Starting with that issue, Andrea Di Vito has again been the sole artist.  The art in Issues #13, 14, and 15 has once again been a joy to behold.  And speaking of beholding, the full-page drawing of the fearsome beholder that closes Issue #14 is worth the price of admission all by itself.

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