- an ongoing collection of comic book reviews|
by Jenni Gregory|
vol.1, #1-5 (DreamWalker Press);
Tapestry Anthology #1;
vol.2, #1-2 (Tapestry/Caliber)
Rating: , Content:
I don't like to review stories before they're finished, but in this case I'm making an exception. Creator Jenni Gregory has said that DreamWalker is going to be a novel, and numbers the pages accordingly: after the 27 pages of story in #1, the first page in #2 is numbered "28". But because DreamWalker recently changed publishers and restarted the issue-numbering with #1, I figured it was fair to look at the DreamWalker-published "volume 1" as a unit. On the other hand, I've also decided to have it both ways, by looking at the first few issues from Caliber's Tapestry line as well.
The story is about Karen Brinson, a young woman who discovers that she has the rare ability to visit people's dreams... and more. She soon finds out that this has the potential to let her do some wonderful things. But she's also advised by her unusually knowledgable neighbor Mrs. Tobias that this skill can be equally dangerous. The series follows her as she begins to learn more about this skill, and the impact it has on her life.
Gregory is an experienced inker, which gives the art a polished feel. The main shortcoming is the penciling. She often has trouble drawing facial features in the right size and place on the head, for example. There isn't a great deal of variety in the perspectives: lots of head-to-hips and head-and-shoulders shots. But the facial expressions work, and the art effectively supports the dialog in telling the story. And the frequency and severity of the anatomy problems seems to have gone down since vol.1 #1. More practise should help.
Between the different "volumes" and the short piece in the Tapestry anthology, there's an opportunity for the reader to miss a lot of "continuity". Gregory manages to provide the reader with the necessary information to understand the story, although not all of the details. I read the first couple issues of the Tapestry series before I got the original run, and had little trouble following what was happening. But vol.2 #1 is a continuation of the story, not a fresh start, so it does refer to prior events that are only really explained in vol.1. For that reason, I encourage readers to pick up those five issues, as I did. They also had a stronger emotional "hook" than the first few issues from Tapestry, and are what really sold me on this series. (They were recently resolicited as a set, so they shouldn't be too difficult to get. If you can't find them at your local comics shop, contact Gregory at JenGregory@juno.com to see if she still has them available.)
I can see why Caliber asked Gregory to join their new "Tapestry" line. This imprint is for "all ages" books, which means they can be enjoyed by adults but don't contain material inappropriate for younger folks such as teenagers or even kids. It is not a euphemism for "kids only". (Shades of Grey by Jimmy Gownley and Boondoggle by Steve Stegelin are two other Tapestry titles I recommend; Pakkins' Land and Patty Cake are highly regarded by many, but not my cuppa.) Anyway, DreamWalker is thoughtful but accessible story, and I'm eager to see how the "novel" progresses.
|Update: Dreamwalker is restarting in November 1998 with a #0 issue to bring new readers "up to speed". The new series is being published by Avatar Press, a company better known for publishing soft-core porn and violent monster books for adolescent boys, but Gregory has personal connections with the company, which is also trying to diversify its line of books.|
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