Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Stopover at Fallen Angels Used Books: Making sure you know it's there

Back in my early Keenspace days, (HA! Look at the way I just said that. As if I'm not still very much on Keenspace...)

Erm, like I was saying, back in my early Keenspace days, new comics came in batches as signups were approved in batches. Add to the fact that signups had been disabled for months and we were on a very long waiting list, it made for a very large batch of comics. Now to get to the point, I was from the (around) June 2003 batch, and among my batch were several comics, but the ones I remember the most clearly are Adrian Ramos' Count Your Sheep and John Fortman's Fallen Angels Used Books.

The latter is what I want to talk about today.

This is the first page of Fallen Angels Used Books. I knew of John's work from his presence in forums, but on actually checking it out, I was incredibly impressed, blown away, and even (only now will I admit this) envious of his ability. The first issue of Fallen Angel Used Books was as ideal a beginning as anyone could hope for, and everything simply promised so much more.

Almost two years down the road now and seven issues later, rereading the archives of FAUB I see lot of things I missed the first time around. I'd thought this was a simple story about prejudice and conflict. As it turns out, there is a lot lot more. This is a very complex story, deceptively straightforward at first, then everything simply gets wierder and wierder.

More than anything, FAUB is a webcomic that makes you feel like you're reading a storybook, not a comic. Even the distinctive art style serves to enhance the urban fairy tale feel. It meanders and takes its own sweet time at telling the story. You feel like you're sitting by a fireside listening to the storyteller spin his tale. For a moment... perhaps a brief moment, you forget yourself and world beyond your computer screen.

The only problem with these kind of stories is that you tend to stay where you are until the story is finished, afraid that if you move you will break the spell. For an ongoing webcomic this is a bad thing, because the story is one of those that needs to be told in entiriety to have an effect on the reader, enough for that reader to go and recommend it to someone else. And as far as I can tell, this story still has a long way to go.

There was a snark not too long ago on websnark where Wednesday White debated whether links and connections are everything. I remember there were some lively comments to that post, in which I mentioned the direct opposite to that school of thought:
People who think if they slave away and produce good work, people will magically find out about their good work, even if said good work is never shown to anyone or displayed outside of the studio and they never tell anyone about it. Then they whine about how it's not fair someone less skilled gets accliam when they can do better. (Well duh!)

Which eventually got distilled down to:
They can't care if they don't bloody know it's there

John's been chafing at the slow growth of FAUB lately. So for the record, this is me making sure a few more people know it's there.

ps: For those interested, here is a guest cover I did for issue 4 of FAUB.

1 comment:

  1. Y'know, it took me until late last year before I finally say down and actually read FAUB. I knew it was good stuff--I'd seen his work, I'd heard excellent things about it, but I'd never bothered to sit down and read it all the way through. I'm glad I did.

    I can feel his frustration at slow growth, though. Monkey and I have been wondering about how to get our numbers up, especially since they slipped over November and Decemeber (and still haven't really ever recovered to our peak).

    There really were a lot of us in that June 2003 batch, weren't there? That group (on the now-defunct YDK Server) saw not only The Jaded, FAUB, CYS, and Dim Bulb, but also Star Bored and Feyenne (among others). Quite a diverse group, really.