Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Link du Jour: Josh Ortega

It's not uncommon to find a story where the execution isn't as good as the concept. It's much more rare to find one where the execution exceeds the expectations set by the concept.

When Top Cow announced a new comic called Necromancer, I got to read a preview of it in a sampler book they put out. Unfortunately, the preview was just enough to get across the concept, which sounded like a demon-hunting version of Buffy, only where Buffy wears a cheesy costume with lots of unnecessary buckles and stuff. Reviewing the preview, I wrote, "It's a tired concept and there doesn't seem to be anything new about it here."
Thankfully, writer Josh Ortega didn't take offense, but wrote me and candidly asked me to take another look at the actual comic when it came out. He arranged a review copy for me, and sure enough, I liked it a lot better in context. Josh had taken a tired concept (not one he'd come up with, if I understand correctly) and made gold out of it. My reviews of the actual series said stuff like, “A story that’s genuine, both in its portrayal of teens and in its horror... Ortega’s building an epic here. You can see it in his pacing. The book doesn’t drag at all – each issue I read had important revelations and plenty of action – but there’s an ease about the way the story unfolds. It’s taking its time, yet doing so in a very entertaining way, if that makes sense. It’s kind of like LOST that way.”
Unfortunately, I don't think enough people got past the concept to actually try the book, and it was cancelled. Last I heard, Top Cow was trying to figure out a way to build an audience for it so that they could relaunch it. I hope they succeed, as long as Josh gets to write it.
In the meantime, Josh is working on a comic about Frank Frazetta's classic Death Dealer character, as well as a Battlestar Galactica mini-series for Dynamite Entertainment.

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