By Oliver Gerlach
Emmanuel Filteau’s Tales from the Interface is a strange piece, both in terms of creative content and production. The blurb for it promised giant crabs and weird adventure, so I felt I had to check it out. I suppose it delivered both of those, and the crabs were excellent, but I still didn’t love it.
Let’s start by talking about the art. It’s beautifully detailed, and the colours are delightfully weird and eyecatching. Plus, Filteau draws excellent crabs. They’re really good, even by the standards of other good crabs in comics. It’s a very European style of weirdness, with a lot of small panels and a great deal of silence. That’s not reliably used, though; SFX gradually creep in, and then dialogue, and that feels like it cheapens and diminishes the good, clean storytelling of the silent sections. Unfortunately, the translation is also very European: it’s not great. This feels like a translated book, which is a shame, as if it had stayed silent it would not have been an issue.
Narratively, this is even stranger; it’s a selection of different bizarre adventures, linked together by a framing story that manages to make them all slightly less interesting than they would be as stand-alone shorts. Particularly given the lack of clear information available about just what Tales from the Interface is really meant to be, I found myself confused by the frequent non-sequiturs that the story hangs on. By the time I got my head around it comfortably, the issue had ended. Half way through the page count. That’s something of an issue.
The PDF available for review was approximately 50 pages of story and another 30 of “Bonus art”, seemingly everything Filteau had lying around on his desktop with no sensible home. That’s fine, if a little bit of a dubious use of space. The problem came when I had to look up some information on the creator. Filteau’s name is somewhat hard to find attached to this book. There’s no indication on the cover or title page, or indeed seemingly anywhere in the book, as to who is behind Tales from the Interface. I had to look this information up online, at which point I discovered that the RRP for this is $16. And it’s being marketed as “100 pages”, when you may notice that the pagecount mentioned above does not add up to 100 total, let alone 100 of any real interest. As such, $16 seems ridiculously steep for a collection that doesn’t even form a complete story or satisfying unit of story.
So. Tales from the Interface #1 is a very pretty compilation of short vignettes that has been compiled together really very badly, and it doesn’t really feel like it offers anything to make it worth buying. Filteau is clearly a very good artist, especially when it comes to crabs, but the way that this feels like a teaser for something longer that’s been marketed for $16 is something of a problem. A larger collected edition of the material could see it all hanging together in some coherent story, but what’s available here just doesn’t manage that.
Tales from the Interface #1
Writer/Artist: Emmanuel Filteau