Review: Euphorium

The great thing about indie comics is that they take chances. They can afford to do that because you never know what might catch on and push your career to new heights. I can respect that. With that comes some failures though. I spoke highly of the previous Dusk Bunnies title I reviewed, but this time around I didn’t find the same enjoyment with the material.

Euphorium is volume one of a [non]collaboration in which writer Mike Eshelman writes what he wants and then passes it over to artist DJ Hufford who then does all the art without interaction with Eshelman.

And it did not work.

The writing and art is so completely separate that you don’t need them together. You can either look at the artwork or read the story, but there’s very little gained out of doing both together, which is kind of the point of the comic medium. You can experiment, but when it’s more poetry than comics, then it doesn’t need art.

Euphorium-1The story is very confusing. I don’t think I quite get it. It’s either a dream sequence or an afterlife sequence. Whichever it is, it’s written like a dream. All those things in a dream that you remember, but when you tell people, you realize they don’t really add to the story of the dream. There’s just a strange amount of details that are just there. Not doing anything. They don’t add to the narrative; they’re just inflating the word count.

As for the artwork, it’s not a style I enjoy. And it is a style. I’ve seen so many indie books that look just like it and I’m not a fan. The line work is too think, there’s not enough detail and the overall images look one-dimensional. Everything is just very flat and lacking substance. And it’s supposed to move you along through the written portion of the comic. And it can’t. The art isn’t strong enough for this freeform storytelling. It needed to be guided and helped. There were too many single pages of art with practically nothing on them other than the grey scale, which needed a lot more work.

I hate to rip this book, but I also don’t like reading comic books that aren’t really comic books. This isn’t a comic. It was an interesting experiment that failed. There’s a reason that the writer and artist collaborate and it’s to combine to tell a visual story. The key to that is the story needs to be written for the medium, in this case comic books, and it’s not. That means the artist was doomed before they began and so I don’t blame them at all for how this turned out. Anyone can say, “hey turn this into a comic,” but creating a comic is completely different.

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Writer: Mike Eshelman
Artist: DJ Hufford
Publisher: Dusk Bunnies
Price: $3.00
Format: One-Shot