Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: Haiku Comics....

Hm. More zombies. Am I witnessing a trend here? Nah, zombies have been around for ages, but they seem to be having a rise in popularity once again. Haiku Comics, by brothers Nathan and Robert Olsen, incorporates zombies, vampires, and all sorts of various grotesque goings on into once comic, the catch being that the stories are told via haiku, a rhymeless form of poetry, usually consisting of three lines. Interesting, no? Haiku seems to be on a once a week schedule right now, but I couldn't find any schedule on the site. Anyway, on to the gruesome review.
ART: 9
That about says it all, right? Great black and white, AND recently great color art. I can't even say I prefer one over the other. The chunky characters are pretty distinct from other comics, and the stylized violence and over the top gore add to the charm. There isn't really any bad to talk about, so I'll just say that it can be very mean spirited at times, with lots of punctured skulls and eaten brains, but that's what the comic is, so if you can't take it, don't read it.
Poetry isn't usually my thing, because I'm not a very poetic person, and I think I can say whatever I have to in normal sentences, without trying to make it sound like something more meaningful than it really is. So with that said, the main premise behind Haiku Comics can get a little tiresome after reading a bunch of them in one sitting. The haiku doesn't do a whole lot for the comic, except give it a gimmick. They could have left out the poems, called it Silent Comics, and still had a hit on their hands, because they are that easy to follow. Oh well, haikus are still a pretty original idea, and they are easy to read, and decent enough.
Originality: 8
Like I said upstairs, haikus are a pretty original idea for a comic strip, and they are put to good use, even though the comic flows pretty easily with or without words. The haiku idea did draw me in, and the comics are short and to the point. Vamps, zombies, and serial killers aren't a new idea, but when combined with poetry, it's pretty different, in a sick and twisted way. Cool.
Some may say the site is minimal by design, but I beg to differ. It's got the right idea by being black and white, but it needs something. Maybe some haiku's in the background, and a page where fans can submit their own haiku's that could possibly be made into comics if good enough. Right now there are Facebook and Twitter links, and a store featuring a Haiku Comics book, a coffee mug, and a cool zombie buffet tshirt. Functional, but not great. Needs to be more eyecatching for the casual reader, and the fan.
I've liked Haiku Comics from the first time I saw it months ago, and it's well deserving of at least a once-through. You may tire of the haiku theme after a while, but the comics are so short and easy to read, I don't really see that happening too soon. Something pretty unique and a fresh take on horror(with the occasional foray into slapstick), you will do no wrong by trying it out. I'm going to go ahead and round up my rating a wee bit.


Nathan Olsen said...

That was a nice review, thanks Jack!

It's a pretty fair review, although I guess my one quibble would be that I would (obviously) have to disagree about the haikus. You mention that you think that it's hard to read a bunch of them in one sitting, but I would point out that is sort of the point of haiku. They are to be meditated on and digested. The haiku allow us to condense and compress some pretty big premises into single strips. While I agree that the art often tells it's own story, I think it's that other story that is communicated through the haiku lend the comic an "epic" quality.

Additionally, the art for many of the comics is actually inspired by the haiku. No haiku, no comic.

But to each his own, right? I can't fault you for having a different opinion.

And, yes, our website is barely passable. Hopefully we'll have some time to address that at some point here. :D

Unknown said...

You have a point about the art coming from the haiku, I just meant that some people who aren't the meditative type may not care for the type of storytelling that the haiku provides. Some people aren't that deep, yknow?

Unknown said...

Well, now that my brother has talked me down from the building ledge, I guess I can speak up about the review.

Good job! No seriously, I think you hit a lot of things on the head. Of course I disagree about the haikus not adding a lot to the comics, but that is my opinion as I know what is going on behind the scenes. Thanks for taking the time to review our little corner of the Internet.