Point Pleasant #1
Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2005
By: Steve Saville
Writer(s): Chad Lambert
Artist(s): Ryan Scott, Jason Moser, Michael Gray, Dan Barlow and Denis Murphy
Publishers: Ape Entertainment
>Now this a damned well-written comic. Dark, sinister and scary, it is a chilling read both visually and verbally. Point Pleasant is a serious comic that deals with historical events and is based on the actual accounts of people who lived through these events. As a result there has too be a certain amount of dignity maintained throughout. In fact the comic is dedicated to 46 people who actually died in one of the events depicted adds to this need for reverence. Lambert manages this with considerable skill and he deserves accolades for accomplishing this task. The story revolves around time travelling scientists who journey to Point Pleasant in search of the mythical? Mothman.
What we are presented with is a brooding tale bordering on the paranoid. It is voyage into the "Twilight Zone" world, the "X- Files" kingdom, the domain of the Men In Black [without the humour]. It is a comic populated by ghosts both literal and metaphorical.
One of the most impressive aspects of this comic is the fact that each of the three chapters plus introduction and conclusion are drawn by different artists and they complement each other perfectly. Part of the credit here must go to the writing of Lambert, which remains strong throughout.
The opening page sets up a feeling of mystery and intrigue as we begin with an extreme close up and then pan back over successive frames to reveal the actual location [in this case a futuristic laboratory]. From here on the pace picks up as we journey back in time with the Men In Black scientists to confront and comprehend the story of the Mothman.
Chapter One sends us back to the American West and the story of Chief Cornstalk. The computer-enhanced artwork adds to the sense of dislocation and feeling of two time zones colliding. An impressive opening.
My personal favourite is the second chapter, Monsters in Mason Country, here one of the scientists journeys to 1966 only to find out a little more than was necessarily healthy for him. The sketchbook style employed here is highly effective. It is a beautifully constructed tale and artistically very satisfying. The focus on symbolic detail and the careful selection of image and word are combined and integrated with considerable skill.
Chapter Three deals with the role of the time traveller and the whole question of intrusion into events from the past. Then the roller coaster rides propels us back to the future for the final confrontation.
The comic concludes with a prose transcript of an interview of one of those who lived through some of the events depicted. It adds a full stop to the comic and provides me with yet another example of why Point Pleasant feels complete, feels good, feels whole.
Everything about this comic works hard to form a cohesive whole, to the extent that in the end the sum of the parts is greater than the individual elements. The muted colours of the cover is a good example of this, the three key symbolic elements that feature [the bridge, the Moth and the spirit figure] all combine to produce a satisfying cover visually but one that arouses reader curiosity and invites one to delve into the darkness within.
Not that I want to convey the impression that Point Pleasant is perfect. The static almost stylised representation of the characters in the first chapter means that the emotion that features in the storyline at this point is largely absent from the visuals. But hey I'm probably being picky. This is a comic crafted by people who know the game. The pages are designed with care and the devices both artistic and verbal are carefully selected for maximum affect. Nice one.
In a Word: Tingling.
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