This week I'm taking a look at Tokyopop's OEL manga, as there are a lot of creator's projects in the line that I'm anxious to check out!
I was fortunate enough to have my special order of MBQ volume 2 come in yesterday, so I can include my review of that much anticipated work as well, but first, I had to revisit volume 1!
So here's my revisited review of that:
Creator: Felipe Smith
STORY: MBQ is a look at the lives of a diverse group of young Angelino's, centered on Omario, an aspiring comic creator/manga-ka. Volume one first introduces us briefly to the cast, then spends a chapter or so on each character. Along the way were treated to Felipe Smith's brand of raw, in your face, real world characterization blended with hyper-exaggerated (at times) visuals to make everything come across electrically. There's more than one clever set up to be had, and the book is a hilarious romp of cussing, sex, and of course, violence!
ART: Felipe is perhaps the greatest new talent working in comics today. He blends a firm grasp on manga craft and technique with a mix of cartooning, all tempered with a rock solid understanding of illustration and art. Characters come to life, scenes play out like real life, and action is emphasized perfectly. There's no confusion over the large cast, the settings, or what's being shown on the page, ever. He's a stud. MBQ is a visual drug that often times explodes off the page, but it's also coherent enough to never lose touch with reality. The perfect compliment to the explosive true to life story!
OVERALL: Although the book may be extreme, anyone can relate to it's core character Omario, and his struggles to make it. That he's a struggling artist, or comic creator, just makes things that much more appealing to the target audience. One of the things that's perhaps so engaging about MBQ is that Omario is essentially Felipe, and his views and personality is what's being put to page. It's that something true and pure that makes this type of story worth following, you never feel as if things are stretched too far, because they're likely all extrapolations from the creators experiences, or at least, just wild extentions of ideas born from his surroundings. Meanwhile, there's also an actual story to be had, and a solid one at that, leaving us in crisis, right as we close this volume. I can't wait to pick up volume 2 and see where Omario and the cast of MBQ, and more importantly, Felipe Smith, go from here!
You can also check out my previous TPop OEL reviews, A MIDNIGHT OPERA, EAST COAST RISING, or THE ABANDONED