It’s review time!
This week, we have Secret Broadcast Vol 1, from Oni Press. The art and story are by Arnold and Jacob Pander, colored by Grace Allison, lettered by Sean Konot, and edited by Bob Schrek.
As always, the ratings are based on Prince songs: Adore means to buy the book, Beautiful Strange is to like it or leave it, and When Doves Cry is to not buy the book.
The story is simple: a guy and two friends run a pirate radio station, because they think that regular radio panders to the masses and numbs them. The main character is trying to reach spiritual enlightenment through his actions, which put him directly at cross purposes with the FCC.
The interesting about this book is that there is also a soundtrack to it, that can be purchased. It’s called Secret Broadcast Redux, and it can be found at iTunes. There’s a preview here, and it’s interesting electronica music.
And by soundtrack, I mean just that: there are editorial notes in the book that tell you when to play certain songs. Interesting.
This Vol I is a collection of two issues from Oni Double Feature, which is where this story was spotlighted. The story issues themselves are short at 16 pages each for this reason.
The writing is uneven, to say the least. Some parts of it are good, and then other parts are nonsensical. Have you ever heard someone speak claptrap, where they say a lot of words, but no real sense is made? That’s some of the writing here. I wasn’t able to penetrate it. I think that’s on the editing.
I also believe there’s a bit of unevenness in the art. It is more than serviceable, until the artists get to character hands. Now, these characters are supposed to be young, but their hands are ancient because there are too many lines. But other than that, I have no problem with the art. It does the job well.
The colorist also knows their stuff. The colors evoked the mood of the story, and wasn’t overpowering at all. Everything looked the way it needed to. I was very, very happy with the coloring.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the lettering. Part of it was the choice of font for the broadcasts, part of it was I sometimes had trouble following the dialogue with the art. At one point, it’s actually backwards, with an answer being read before the question was asked. There was also a case of a thought balloon coming out of nowhere—only being used once—and then there was another time when there were voice-over captions that didn’t have the required quotation marks. While the letterer should have known better, this is also a fault with the editing.
In all, though, I like what the story did. Having a soundtrack for sale along with the book is a great idea, and I liked the preview of the music. This is something I’d get into, and I’d like to see how it turned out.
Final verdict: Adore.