The joy of independent comic books is that it’s a place where fabulous experiments can be conducted. Artist and writers can explore new ground and fresh ideas; working out ways to tell their story in exciting ways. Often this produces interesting stuff, but just as often it can create an unreadable mess. Goshena – Queen of the Big In-Betweena is an example of the latter; it fails to take advantage of the medium, making this more of a dialogue-heavy novella with too many illustrations than a graphic novel.
The book suffers from a fundamental lack of communication between writer and artist. Comic book creation is an intensely collaborative affair and it is quite clear that the art is divorced from the narrative. Burdock’s art style is scrappy and whimsical and has plenty of potential. The page is filled with some great illustrations that do little to serve the story.
This is in part writer Chuck Bright’s fault. Each page is crammed with worlds balloons that strangle the art and bore the reader. The dialogue attempts to tell the story on its own. This would be great if Goshena was a radio drama, but as it’s a comic book it just makes each page to dense to be enjoyed. The story itself is also piecemeal and rather long for what it is. Goshena – Queen of the In-Betweena feels like it should be a series of intensely personal revelations and musings on the nature of life and death, or a silly tale about the afterlife. Sadly, it’s silly when it should be serious and vice versa; the entire work feels like it’s a couple of drafts from something truly remarkable. The book feels unfinished, which is a pity as it has quite a bit of potential. Sadly, not all experiments work, but it will be interesting to see what Bright and Burdock do next.
GOSHENA: QUEEN OF THE BIG IN-BETWEENA / WRITER: CHUCK BRIGHT / ARTIST: MAUREEN BURDOCK / PUBLISHER: DR CHUCKY PRODUCTIONS / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 15TH