Oct 21, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 239: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #10, September 1989

Moving right along in the "Catspaw Quartet" story line. Timoth's been captured by "Jinxikins," an AD&D creature I've never heard of, Onyx is being manipulated into the sewers beneath Waterdeep, and Vajra and Kyriani are laughing it up at the bar.

This issue is basically just moving things along. There's an interesting balance to be maintained when telling a story in arcs rather than in single issues. In the single issue, one has to have a beginning, middle, and end all within the space of 22 pages. It forces a creator to consider what can be left in and what can be left out in a way that the longer format of the four-part series does not. What an extended story line does require is that, though one is ostensibly not giving the concrete beginning/middle/ending format in a single issue, the comic still needs to feel like a satisfying read. This particular issue only achieves that with the final page. Having never written or illustrated a work like this, I'm not entirely sure what one would have to do differently for this comic to have had that satisfaction more prevalently than simply in the final reveal. There's certainly action, and there's certainly intrigue, but because it's happening in what is part two of a four part story, the action is somewhat lacking in its climactic feel, and the intrigue smacks of simply being the surface of what will undoubtedly (and hopefully) become deeper as the story progresses. There's a difference between writing an 80-page graphic novel and a four-part monthly story. This issue doesn't quite make the transition smoothly.

That said, perhaps things will pick up with tomorrow's comic. I'm kicking around the idea of filling in the rest of my AD&D run on the weekend, but now I'm wondering if the stories work better as collected editions. I'll reserve my judgment until regular writer Dan Mishkin returns in the next story arc. See you tomorrow.

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