Review: Chum: Ashcan Preview

>While the idea of an Ashcan Preview is welcome and the Chum story is an original mix of elements, the layouts in this comic are all over the place and the preview itself moves too fast for its own good. [Full Disclosure: I write stuff at Loser City, where the author of this comic, Ryan K. Lindsay, also has a column]

Surf noir.  That's the grabbiest part about Chum, and I think it's great.  Any fan of Point Break knows that crime and surfing go together like Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze (I happen to think that's a good thing).  There's something charming about the combo that also leaves a ton of room for the sinister.  I suppose the ever-ominous presence of the ocean has something to do with that.  Taking things in a little more of a noir/crime direction is a promising idea, and one that feels original from the beginning of Chum.

Chum-Ashcan-Preview-1Here's the thing: doing an Ashcan Preview is a risk.  Essentially this creative team is putting themselves out there by putting out an advanced snippet of their product.  The challenge here is that the snippet cannot give too much away, but if it's too conservative, it will mask some appealing parts of the story's identity.  Pretty much there are a lot of issues with balancing the favorable features of the work to the point that some of the bad things may stick out more than they would in a full and finished product.

The Ashcan Preview of Chum suffers from this lack of balance.  I love the surf noir idea, but other than a detective being present and a lean on narration, there's not much room to cultivate a noir feel in the preview.  I like the character designs, but the intentionally bite-sized peeks into their relationships and identities are far too small to be satisfying.  I like Dale's colors on the title, but the gloominess endemic to the scene doesn't allow me to see what he can really do.

I don't have enough time in this preview to figure out what I like.  Unfortunately, I have plenty of time to see that Kivela's layouts are all over the place and, at times, appear half-finished.  I don't think the layouts are sloppy necessarily; the problem is he keeps switching up the layouts in a way that makes page transitions choppy.  The rhythm of the story constantly feels like it's being arbitrarily throttled, and in such a small story space, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Will I like Chum?  *Shoulder shrug*.  Hopefully those frantic layouts feel a little more at home among a full issue that isn't full of them.

Score: 2/5

Chum: Ashcan Preview Writer: Ryan K. Lindsay Artist: Sami Kivela Publisher: Comix Tribe Price: Free Format: Digital Website