Memoirs of a Muse #4: Akhenaten
OK, I hate to start one of these off with a complaint, but there are more than a few pages in this one where the copy cuts off words on the edge of the page. Which isn’t the worst thing in the world, granted, but by the fourth issue of a series you should really have that sort of thing figured out. That’s a lesson to everybody making comics, free of charge: get the basics right please! All kinds of people (me included) could pick this up in a comics store, notice something like that and put it right back down. Of course, these are review copies, so I didn’t have to worry about the price. Anyway! In this issue the Muse is still waiting for a Pharaoh to come along with some artistic talent so that she can join her love in the afterlife. The visuals in this one were striking, definitely the best of the series, but I must confess that I’m losing the thread of the story a bit. The Muse is taken from a guy who gets assassinated and bides her time to find the right pharaoh, so we see quite a bit of time passing. Eventually she finds her man, but he starts going blind, which complicates her plans. From there we see a conversation between her and the god who had agreed to help this blind pharaoh, which is all done against a sheer black background, which is also a chance for some of the conversation to seep out the sides of the pages. Things get a bit chaotic from there, and in theory the next issue will be set in Greece. I’m still intrigued to see where this whole thing is going, but it’s hard to escape the sense that it’s meandering a bit. As I can’t find a hint of these books online that may be a moot point, but I’m interested in seeing more if any more are forthcoming.
Memoirs of a Muse #3: Epygt
I may be dealing with an expectations problem here. These occur when I think/wish that a story was going in a different direction, but it turns out that the writer/artist had other ideas. This is entirely on me, as I’m the one passively consuming the comic while the artist is the one actively making it, but I wanted to make it clear right away that most of the problems I had with this book come from that, and through no fault of the artist. Now that that disclaimer is out of the way, I thought this was going to be a set of detailed examples of ancient Egyptian art, how it came about and who made it. Instead Gail is mostly focused on getting her muse back to Enoch. Which makes sense, as that’s the story she has been telling all along, so never mind me. Things start off with the muse getting to Egypt, and the muse helps her host gain some recognition for her skills. Once she is done there we get to see those ancient artifacts that I was so interested in, with my only complaint being that we see them too briefly. From there I don’t want to give too much away, but we do get to see some mummy action before it’s all said and done. Aesthetically I do have a few complaints, as the blacks from some of the art occasionally made text practically illegible. This issue also wins the prize for “most spelling errors in the series,” which is not a good prize to have. Not that it’s out of control, as it was still a relative few, but as it’s never been easier to make sure you’re spelling words correctly, my willingness to let stuff like that slide has been going downhill for years. It would also have helped if her asterisk system had been explained (or numbered as footnotes), as the information she was trying to direct the reader to is all piled up in the back, with no reference for which is which in case you lost track/missed an asterisk or two. All that being said, I’m still thoroughly enjoying the adventures of this muse through time. Weird, right? You’d think all those complaints would lead to a bad review, which is a testament to Gail’s abilities as a storyteller. If you’re interested in art and where it comes from (and chances are that you are if you’re reading this) then this remains a fascinating series to watch unfold.
Memoirs of a Muse Volume II: The Ancient World
The journey of the muse continues in this issue, and we all get to learn a little bit more about ancient history as it goes. The muse is still looking for Enoch, so it takes up residence in a mask made by an artist and stays there for many years until it is forced into the body of a general from Babylon. Her artistic message was garbled at this point, but the muse came up with a way to get away from this existence, and that’s where we spend the bulk of the second half of the comic. If I had one complaint about this series so far it’s that I wish that Gail would put at least ballpark figures for the years involved in these books. I know a general sense of them, but that covers a wide range of years and would love to narrow it down a bit. I loved the idea of the carrier of the muse being able to pervert the purpose of the muse itself, and think that could be carried over to cover all sorts of people. Hitler is always the ballpark analogy for worst human ever, but it could be argued that the paintings Hitler created had to come from some sort of muse. A twisted, monstrous muse, but he had to have some sort of inspiration to paint at all. Unless I’m mixing Hitler up with some other historical dirtbag who painted, in which case never mind. The next issue is all about Egypt, and I’m very intrigued to see that journey. If you have any curiosity at all about the creative process, ancient history or both, you should really be checking this series out.