I have a soft spot for indie comics. At least a third of everything I order from Previews is from relatively small self-publishers. Two things struck me about this book; the gloomy yet intriguing cover and the fact that it’s from a Xeric Award winner. Published by Passenger Pigeon Publishing, Chronicles is a simple, black and white 96 page one-shot. Writer/artist Felix Tannenbaum clearly has some skills. However, what is also clear is that he’s a far better writer than an artist. Judging by the work onhis web-site, Tannenbaum shows quality with his sketches and paintings. He’s not a bad artist, but just not a superb one when it comes to sequential art. Reading Chronicles made me realise that not every great artist can necessarily translate their talent to storytelling on the printed page. Every eager fanboy clutching pages of superheroes posing who face disinterest at conventions know this.
Chronicles has some good art in on its pages, but most of it is lacking. There’s no real texture and the majority of its pages are filled with blank space. Tannenbaum shows promise though and with further work he could really develop his pencilling abilities. His book has been praised by several reviewers, but few mention the minimalist art, as it is the story itself saves this book. There are two short stories, both of which concern robots. Such things as sub-plots and even character’s names aren’t really vital, but I must admit that the simple tales are rather enchanting. The first one is set in a war torn nation, where 3 robots discover friendship, spare parts and a desire to overcome their destructive programming. The second story, entitled , Why Doesn’t My Robot Love Me? involves the endearing love between a robot and a snowman (or woman). It’s well told, and charming really, and Tennenbaum’s one page explanation of his motivations behind the story will find sympathy in anyone who’s loved, or lost. I look forward to more that Tennenbaum offers in the future, as Chronicles is a sweet, easy to read book, but hopefully he puts as much effort in his visuals as he does with his writing.
The curious can read the whole first chapter of Chronicles, here.