09.12.2009: Greyduck Volume Of Roars Review

Dangs graphic novel based on his own creation, Greyduck.

Dang's graphic novel based on his own creation, Greyduck.

So while cruising around G-Fest this year, I came across an artist named DANG who not only had some cool work on his table, but his own Graphic Novel that he had made. As a comic enthusiast, I was curious and because his artwork reminded me of the “old school” tattoo style, I approached the table. If you recall, I had a brief interview with Dang in episode seven, and after the interview I gave a totally phoned in review of the comic (sorry about that). But I’m here to rectify that with a solid review of GREYDUCK: VOLUME OF ROARS.

Greyduck is a monstrous amalgamation of junk – a giraffe head atop a long biomechanical neck with a chained anchor attached to its mouth. Greyduck has spider leg-like appendages coming out of what looks like a trashbag body. Indeed, Greyduck looks like it could be made up of nothing but bits and pieces from a landfill. The story gives no origin of the beast, but rest-assured, Greyduck is the hero-kaiju of this tale. The graphic novel follows a few different character groups as their travels interact with each other and the different monsters in the story. That’s right, there are four monsters in this tale. Aside from Greyduck, readers will witness a flying Megaguirus-type bug monster, “Cadbury” a beast that hatches from an egg to terrorize the city and the deadly “Aunt-eater.”

Let me start with the good stuff. First and foremost, I am wildly supportive of self-publication. If you spend a few minutes looking at the comic book landscape of today, it is vastly different from the industry of yesteryear. With the public knowledge-base and resources available right now, anyone with the drive and focus can learn to do just about anything they want. So I give a massive “thumbs up” to Dang for having the commitment to take his vision and turn it into a reality.

Gamera...Dang-style

Gamera...Dang-style

On a technical level, Dang’s vocabulary and prose in this comic are very well written… think less on traditional storytelling and more poetic. The language is entertaining and appropriate for the subjects as they move from point a to point b and so on.  Often, I found myself impressed with the narrative alone. For the most part, that is where you’ll find these nuggets as the characters’ dialogue runs the gamut for their different “voices.”  Sometimes it can come across as a bit one-linerish, but still very cool.

The artwork itself is extremely detailed. Clearly, Dang has talent and as he stated in the interview, he has some old school tattoo thrown in with a picasso-esque vibe. This makes the pages very interesting to look at, but I believe one of the biggest drawbacks to this is that it was produced in black and white with no color at all. Normally, this would not bother me, but with Dang’s surreal compositions and scenes, it can make the page a little too chaotic. Personally, I really do like Dang’s style. His postcards and folding sketch shrines were really cool and recognizable. I know that is partly due to already knowing the characters, but I primarily feel that adding color helps distinguish the subjects from their surroundings. I’m not sure if Dang ever plans on making newer versions, or modifying the existing story, but I truly feel that coloring the pages would greatly help move the story along. As I read the book, it took me much longer to discern what was happening on a page by page basis. The last thing I’ll note about this is that I felt like I never really got a handle on what the other monsters looked like.

Dang had a 3D picture of Greyduck on display at G-Fest.

Dang had a 3D picture of Greyduck at G-Fest.

So what are my final thoughts on this graphic novel? Greyduck: Volume Of Roars is impressive. What Dang has done is not much different from what I do with my show, taking the initiative to create something and publish it for the masses – and that in itself is commendable. Clearly, the amount of work and creativity that has been put into this graphic novel is evident – this wasn’t just thrown together. Additionally, Dang has included some “special features” to this book. Greyduck portraits from other artists start and end the book, along with some behind-the-scenes stuff from Dang himself, which is a welcome addition and something that (as an artist) I always appreciate in anything I purchase. Yes, I think some of the chaos of the artwork could be better presented with the addition of color, but I do understand that cost is an issue with these things. I would love to see a color version online someday. In conclusion, if you have the $12.21 to blow on an inspirational self-published piece of work, click the link below to buy your own copy. Not only will you be adding something unique to your collection, you’ll help support the practice of self-publication and make everything just a bit more accessible than before.

Dang’s Deviantart page

Where can you get Greyduck: Volume Of Roars? Click here to go to IndyPlanet.com and get your own copy!