Brenton Nichol's Reviews > Iron West

Iron West by Doug TenNapel
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Sep 13, 09

bookshelves: speculative-fiction, comics-graphic-novels
Read in July, 2006

Doug TenNapel seems to be one of those artists who drives himself to "improve" his output each year by way of slowly whittling away at what made his work so endearing in the first place. In our time-and-efficiency enslaved society, I can understand why one would seek to enhance their work ethic in such ways, but applying such means to art is travesty. Iron West reads like a Reader's Digest abridged version of a tale; as I read, I couldn't help but feel as though every other page of the full story had been taken out and that the book should have been twice as thick. Doug speeds his tale along at such a clip that, yes, it is fun, but you feel cheated once you finish, as though the tale would have been far more rich and enthralling had Doug chosen to explore his settings (and his characters) a bit more. It felt like watching a movie at 1.5x speed; you still get the thrust of the story, but as it zips by you miss the finer texture of it, the small details and nuances that really pull you in and make you feel like you're there. I'm sure one could argue that this suits the graphic novel medium just fine, but I'm the last person who will concede that a comic must necessarily be written as shallow pulp. I will never attempt to put such constraints on the medium.
All of that being said, I can state that Doug continues to improve his drawing chops, demonstrating even finer control over his ink with each new project.
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