Monday, March 27, 2006

Entanglement - Simpler Than Tom Beland

Awhile back, Tom Beland had a chat at Comic Book Resources. The topic of how sometimes, descriptions of his work SOUND like insults, but really are not, came up, like how the idea of calling a work "precious" or "simplistic" is seen as an insult, when it is not intended to be one. Writer/Artist Brandon Hanvey stated, "I don't take offense when people call my work simple since that is what I'm going for."

Well, Brandon's latest release, Entanglement (which he was so kind as to send me a copy) is simpler than Tom Beland's True Story, Swear to God.

And that's a compliment.

Entanglement tells the story of two high school students, Riley and Petra, who come from different sides of town, but find themselves entangled with each other. Like Beland's work, the story is both soothing and charming, or as I like to say, choothing.

The best part of the book, by far, is Hanvey's art. It is cartoonish, while still conveying a good deal of emotion. I am quite fond of that particular style of artwork, and Hanvey is as good at that style as anyone. Here's a sample page from the book.

The plot of the book is just as simple as you might think - Riley and Petra travel in different circles, and their friends and family do not necessarily agree with them getting together.

Some of the plot is just soooo stupid that it rings true, like the whole idea of the "Art" kids hating the "Preppy" kids. Sooo stupid, but well, people are sometimes pretty stupid. Some of the other pieces of the plot don't work as well (I can't tell for sure if the scene of the dude chasing Riley on a moped is meant to be played for laughs or taken seriously. If it it the former, it works...but it really doesn't come across like the former), like the plot by Petra's ex-boyfriend along with Riley's sister. Seems a bit TOO afterschool special-y.

However, the charming nature of the book overcomes any plot obstacles, as Hanvey makes sure that we not only LIKE these characters, but that we are rooting for them to get together. A true sign of a good romantic comedy.

There are plenty of little character moments where, perhaps the dialogue is not the smoothest, but I think that is probably an accurate read by Hanvey, as let's be honesty, high school kids are not like on Dawson's Creek. So while the Riley/Petra discussion about how her friends only liked a band (the Stereos, Hanvey's last project, making a nice cameo in this project) when they weren't as good, but were more "indie" is not the smoothest, in terms of dialogue, it is EXACTLY the type of conversation people have in high school. I don't know if that was intentional or not, but I am giving Brandon the benefit of the doubt, and presuming it was.

So, Entanglement features a charming story of two engaging characters who go through a familiar, yet interestingly told, courtship. Sounds like a winner to me! Honestly, I do not know why no independent studio has snatched Brandon up yet. Not only is the book fun to read, but it is quite marketable. So, you studios out there, what are you waiting for?!!?

Click here to see about purchasing a copy of Entanglement (and here for more sample pages)!

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Anonymous Brandon Hanvey said...

Thanks for the nice words about my book, Brian.

I know dialogue isn't my strongest suit. But I think I am getting better at it with each book.

For my next book, I'm doing a slightly different process to try and improve my dialogue.

3/28/2006 07:17:00 PM  

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