REVIEW: Amazing Tales #2

AMAZING TALES #2

Story & Art: Dave Dye

Reviewed by Glenn Lumsden

 

To those who are unfamiliar with the comic work of Dave Dye, his is a meat-and-potatoes, old school style of story telling.

In an age of high-end computer enhanced razzle-dazzle graphics, Dave is dedicated to doing the complete opposite. Amazing Tales #2 continues this approach, with 3 hard-boiled sci-fi fantasy tales plus one odd-ball humorous piece set in the Gold Rush era (more on that later).

By and large, Dave’s approach to story telling is this: dialogue is unadorned and utilitarian; the visuals are just the essentials and movie-storyboard clear. His focus is on clarity and economy, and there are no apologies for this stance. In fact, it fits in perfectly with the type of bare knuckled stories he tells. It also makes for an effortless and entertaining read, for which I am very thankful.

One of the greatest services a storyteller can do for their reader is to make the ride a smooth and comfortable one, and Dave does this admirably.

The unsentimental and objective handling of the characters and the actions reminds me of the early underground works of Richard Corben (Fantagore, Slow Death, Rowlf) which as a kid used to disturb me, because there was none of the overt moralising and good guy/bad guy dichotomy of a comforting superhero comic. Corben’s territory was more the murky and often brutal world of real people, and their not-so-nice behaviour. Similarly with Dave’s tales. If you are a fan of the works of SCAR and DECAY, then Dave Dye’s Amazing Tales will suit you nicely.

Which brings me back to the odd inclusion of the “Gold Rush” story. Set in the 19th century, and co-starring an Orangutan, it’s a fine story; funny, colourful and breezy….but just so out of place in this collection!

In the early days of any anthology comic, it takes a period of trying different things before figuring out what works, what feels comfortable, and what the unique “voice” of the book will be. The weight of sci-fi to humour… three stories to one… suggests that sci-fi is the way Amazing Tales wants to go. The dominance of “Dropship 15” tales… fifty percent of the book… suggests an even stronger urge to have tales set in just this one particular universe.

The “Dropship 15” stories were the ones i personally enjoyed the most, and i was kind of hoping the final future story, “Tar Pits of Doom”, would somehow shoehorn back into the world of Troopers Lee, Ocker, the Jube and Burgturdler. I have no doubt that as future issues emerge, the identity of Amazing Tales will become more defined and consistent.

Positive criticisms I would add would include:

  1. dump the hand lettering for a nice comic book font,
  2. brighten the colour palette of the book to give it some pop,
  3. and jazz up the design factor – logos, cover and inside cover layouts look pretty ordinary.
  4. Also, i would like to see sharper inking on the cover art.

I think with very little effort making these four simple adjustments would increase the “wow” factor of this book several times over.

With the meat and potatoes so well cooked, i think Dave should serve us up just a bit of fancy gravy to make his “Amazing Tales” a meal to remember.

 

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About Glenn Lumsden

Glenn Lumsden
Glenn Lumsden is a comic book creator who worked for some of the major US publishers back in the 90s. He currently does some work on the Phantom for Frew Comics, as well as his own stuff. When he’s not drawing comics, he runs “Haddo’s Hot Dogs”, because comics and hot dogs as twin careers….well, it just makes sense!

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5 comments

  1. haha thanks Glenn. I’ll see what I can do about the points you mention. haha ……..but I love hand lettering 🙂

    • glenn lumsden

      I think i’ve pretty much reiterated in the review what i emailed you a while back, with the exception of how the gold rush story struck me….didn’t bother me when i first read it as a pdf, but reading the hard copy comic you sent, i really noticed how it didn’t belong – funny how my feelings changed from digital to paper! The star ratings thing, i am not that keen on doing that sort of thing, because you can never be sure how other reviewers use it. Is my 3 stars a four stars by another reviewer? I don’t know. I go by the basis that 2.5 is the middle, so anything above is better than average. 5 stars imo has to be reserved for something that is not only very very good, but has an exceptional quality to it that is above and beyond expectation. Anyway, hope my thoughts were constructive and encouraging, looking forward to more Dye stuff 🙂

      • Glenn, I appreciate you writing the review and think you’ve been generous with your positive comments. Everybody sees different things in a comic. Some people like “this” – some people like “that”. Your view is widely respected by everyone in the Australian comic scene, so I am really glad you didn’t just give a lip-service “Oh it’s all so great!” review. I’m not sure who benefits from those. You’ve made some statements that I better work hard to maintain and live up to now haha straight reviews highlighting good and bad are far more helpful to everyone – audience and creators.
        Amazing Tales is an action and adventure comic, not limited to one genre. My desire to tell stories in many genres and my inability to fund more than one comic line forces me to cram them all into one issue. Hence you get the mix you presently see in Amazing Tales. I do believe the soon to be released “Reverie” is a mix of genres, also “Joe Kubert Presents” is a mixed genre comic (I can’t argue with Joe Kubert 🙂 ).
        When I was young I read British comics – CORR!, Beano, Valiant, etc and they were a mix of genres. Maybe that’s where I get it from. I’d like Amazing Tales to remain mixed genre because I have horror, war, space, jungle adventure, crime stories (and more) to tell. Eagle is a good example of the mixed genre comic. I’ll do a zombie story too one day haha The main ingredients are Action and Adventure, so readers can expect those elements in a copy of AT.
        I’m not sure whether I’m happy or not that you rated my writing as good as my art haha I consider myself an artist before a writer so am surprised to see them on the same level. Either my writing is better than I thought, or my drawing is worse haha A bloke always has to take the good with the bad i guess 🙂 I’m a “glass half full” sort of a fella.
        Thanks again for taking the time to do the review, I really appreciate it.

  2. Danny Nolan

    Having worked with Dave on short Sci-Fi comic I can realise why he is in such demand with writers at the moment. He brings a sense of subtlety to the story with little added extras. With my story, it was simple everyday Aussie things in a somewhat generic bunker. I’ve seen him do the same in a Decay story “The Sky’s the Limit” with his constant changing of angles in every frame to simulate movement and confusion. As for handwritten text. When Dave Evans (Bolt01) Letterer for many a publication including 2000AD and FutureQuake praises you for your work and doesn’t need to edit it for publication, I think you’re doing all right.

    • haha thanks Danny. I appreciate your comment. That story of yours was a little beauty, and it was a pleasure to Illustrate. Thanks for asking me to do it.

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