Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Portent #1 - Comic Opera

In a piece by Gary Cole, Jr., Peter Bergting, writer/artist of The Portent, described his comic as thus, "The story, and the way it’s told, is a bit different from most comics. It’s a sweeping story and I have quite few surprises planned. I believe it doesn’t look or read quite like any other comic, it's certainly more verbal and brainy, I see it more like an opera played out on the printed page. It has all the action of an action film and all the melodrama and tragedy of a great stageplay as well. Some would describe it as Shakespeare with Kung Fu I guess. I’m very into Tsui Hark and you can certainly pick up on a few things that have inspired me from his films. I would best call it melancholic but there is a lot of humor in there as well." While this description may be a bit high-falutin', it is also fairly accurate. I think that The Portent #1 (you'll love this) is a portent of more good work to come in this series.

First off, any fans of Hellboy should be advised to pick this series up, as it is clear that Bergting and Mike Mignola share a lot of the same visual influences (I cannot speak to whether Bergting was influenced by Mignola, as well). Check out these samples from issue #1.



and



As you can see, Bergting's work flows with a very moody, shadowy style that works for stories steeped in fantasy.

These two pages also include the most striking lines of dialogue from the series. The first page includes the phrase, "Between Heaven and Earth exists no place where there isn't also good and evil." And the second page includes the line of dialogue from a dead spirit, “It’s not right that the living should fear their ancestors, men and spirits should live together as they always have. But that time is no more."

That is the world of The Portent, a world where a young man named Milo may or may not be a hero who must save all of mankind against the forces of evil. It does not help that Milo does not seem to believe in his mission, nor that, even if he DID, he does not seem to be all that inclined to very much CARE. However, when it comes down to being killed by the forces of evil or being a hero, the option is fairly clear.

The story is only beginning, and I do not yet have much of a read on where Bergting is going with the plot, and his hero is still basically a blank slate, but the basic concept is interesting, and I especially love the throwback that Bergting does to classic adventure literature where he is very willing to have comic relief mixed in the book.

The art, on the other hand, as you saw above, is excellent.

If the story continues well, and the art continues its excellence, The Portent could be a very fun book to follow.

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9 Comments:

Blogger AFKAP of Darkness said...

looks interesting... is it out this week?

2/23/2006 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Yep.

From Image Comics.

2/23/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Mo Soar said...

The premise is pretty interesting (though somewhat standard at this point - reluctant hero, beautiful sorceress, wise old man, great danger, a plague of evil upon the land, yada yada), but the dialog and narration are very clunky in places.

The scantily clad heroine talks as though he found her at the Valley 7-11, not a great stone tower of mystery, and you spend a bit wondering why some of the characters are bothering to do what they are doing. I'll keep going with it for a few issues to see how it unfolds (I hate to judge books on first issues) because the premise and art are good.

Now I need one of you to talk up AMERICAN WAY so we can try to figure out whether it's an "ehhh?", good or great comic.

2/23/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Bergting's had a Mignola-esque style for a while, and he in fact illustrated the Hellboy role playing game in Mignola's absence.

2/23/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Bergting said...

Hey!

Thanks for the comments!

Hope you all stay with the book for a while. It's only beginning and I think #2 is better in all aspects since I can get on with the story and into the characters heads.

Cheers

Peter

3/01/2006 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Hey Peter!

It's interesting...you bring up a point that, while accurate, perhaps demonstrates a slight weakness present in many books these days, in that you have to wait for the second issue to "get on with the story and into the characters heads."

The first issues that manage to get on with the story AND set-up the plots...those are the ones, I think, that stand out the most.

Books like Fell, Fear Agent, Powers, Alias, L.E.G.I.O.N., Ultimate X-Men, The Goon, Street Angel, Adam Strange: Planet Heist...these leap out at the reader BECAUSE of that feature.

However, plenty of fine books do it differently, like Walking Dead and Ultimates, so it's certainly not that big of a deal.

3/01/2006 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger Bergting said...

Hi Brian,

Yeah, you are absolutely right. The thing with The Portent is that it was conceived as a graphic novel. I love the comic book format but the story should be read in one piece. However cranking out a graphic novel would be impossible - money wise - for me. Even a comic book is hard enough. Given the fact that I have to eat on occassion, a bi-monthly comic is the only way I can bring out a book at all since I can work on other things during the daylight hours =).

Cheers

Peter

3/01/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Ah, that makes perfect sense.

In that case, yep, I agree!!!

3/01/2006 08:09:00 PM  
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