Tuesday, June 12, 2007

INDY SPOTLIGHT: Paradigm Shift

Today's book I'm focusing on is PARADIGM SHIFT Part One: Equilibrium, by Dirk Tiede and from his Dynamanga.net imprint.

I met and know Dirk from my days on Graphic Smash, when we both used to have comics on that webcomic collective. A couple years ago Modern Tales (the sister website that Graphic Smash was a part of) hosted a booth at San Diego Con, and I spent a little time there, and I remember meeting Dirk especially, because his Paradigm Shift had caught my eye on Graphic Smash, with it's competent old school manga/anime style. Since I'm loathe to actually read comics on the web, my only experience with the title were the catchy art and graphics.

Well, when I did the recent Pittsburgh Comic-Con, I ran into Dirk while out to dinner with a large group of comic people, and after talking a bit later that night, we'd vowed to swap books the next day. So, I was sure to make the rounds on the last day of the show and take him up on the offer. Although he was kind enough to offer both trade collections of Paradigm Shift he's printed to date, I only kept volume one (since I only had 4 comics to offer in return).

On the long flight home from the east coast, I made my way through volume 1 of Sentinels (see yesterday's feature), but since I came into town mid day, and had caught a ride to the airport, I was taking the new light rail train home from the airport (they'd somewhat recently extended the train line to the airport, but I'd never used it). Now, the train is really convenient from the airport (except for all my giant bags packed with books and displays etc), but it does take about twice as long, an hour instead of about 30 minutes. That meant I still had time on my hands to read, and read I did, Paradigm Shift Part one!

The book is about 100 pages, black and white tones, manga trim size, and $9.95. The first 2/3rds of the book are story, with a healthy "bonus" section at the back, which I'll speak of in a bit, but first, the story...

Paradigm Shift is a skilled blend of police procedural and horror/fantasy/sci-fi, that is to say, Dirk creates a detailed real life world, filled with true-to-life characters, but offsets that with a story that takes a turn into the supernatural. The scripting is solid, his characters feel as genuine as his artwork is detailed. PS is set in downtown Chicago, and Dirk doesn't shy away from showing us every nook of the city, from it's gleaming skyscrapers to it's back alleys. His art would fit comfortably with any manga on the bookstore shelf, with it's hallmark stylized characters and ultra real/detailed backgrounds.

As the story unfolds during the course of one day, detectives Kate and Mike slowly realize things are taking them on a bigger journey, and the reader goes along for the ride. Paradigm shift reads well, looks great, and builds towards a large involving story filled with mystery and Chicago PD action. I can't wait to meet up with Dirk again and pick up the second volume.

Now on to the extras, along with character profiles and footnotes, there's a lengthy and very comprehensive process breakdown. Dirk outlines every step of the process in the creation of the comic, which as a fellow creator is always fun to see, but for those looking find their way in the medium, it's an even more beneficial tool.


You can check out the book online via Webcomicsnation.com or pick up the books via it's website HERE

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