Pieter Coudyzer, Outburst (SelfMadeHero, 2017). $22.95, hc.
This is one of the most visually arresting books I have read in some time. Sadly the script doesn’t come close to keeping pace with the art, in what ends up being a fairly trite story of alienation and isolation (and unfortunate “inadvertant” revenge) that fails to connect us to the characters nearly as powerfully as it does to the art. Coudyzer is an animator, and certainly it is often the case that the transition from animation to comics doesn’t always go well for debut books. But his sense of the visual rhythms and unique affordances of graphic narrative is strong, so the problems lie not with the medium but wholly with the script. One can’t help feeling that we are getting here a story idea that was wisely rejected by the collaborators necessary to bring animations to life, with the graphic novel being a stubborn declaration—one worthy of the protagonist of Outburst—of “I’ll show you!”
What he showed is wholly worth looking at, and for a long time. However, I am not convinced, in the end, it is worth the reading.
Jared Gardner teaches comics, film, and American literature and popular culture film at the Ohio State University. He was the founding editor of Inks and now helps out the amazing new editor, Qiana Whitted, and edits Extra Inks for Qiana and the Comics Studies Society. He has been nominated four times for the Eisners for books he has written or edited, which is a bit weird since his own comics are pretty terrible.