Occasionally an indie book comes along and makes you stand up and take notice. And I’m not talking about a book at Image, which is hardly considered indie. The Trials and Tribulations of Ms. Tilney could have been a hit, but only if a few things were changed.
David Doub, the writer, sets up the book nicely. The reader understands the era and the basic points of the plot. The plot, while fairly mundane, is written well enough and is an interesting one. The character work leaves something to be desired though. We learn next to nothing about Ms. Tilney, besides that she is a woman in London and she has a little bit of spunk. What is she about? Why does she all of a sudden want to interview a murderer? It’s not exactly explained and leaves the reader a tad cheated. She is the main character, our window into the world that Doub is creating, and we can’t relate to her. It’s frustrating, considering that the reader can see that Doub loves the little world that’s being created in front of us. Doub needs to figure out how to go from panel to panel though, as there are a few leaps of logic and the reader is a little lost. How are characters getting from place to place and figuring this stuff out?
But near the end of the issue, we switch to prose form. It’s an interesting change, and one for the better. Doub’s writing becomes very descriptive, giving the reader a great idea of everything going on. The reader is hooked, even before we know that it ties into the original story. After reading the prose part, Doub might want to consider turning this into a book. It seems more of a novel instead of a comic book.
Sarah Elkins pencils the issue, and her pencils have a distance look. They are very cartoony, which give the comic an almost Sherlock Holmes feel. That’s the ones with Robert Downey Jr. The characters are expressive, but much like Doub’s script, she lacks any personality. After reading the issue, I had trouble remembering what she looked like. The other characters have distinct looks, and were easy to remember. Vicondesa Joamette Gil, who did the lettering, needs to work on it more. The connections for the bubbles are constantly hidden by other connections or one of the character’s hand, making some of the conversations confusing. Multiple times, I would read a few pages, not understand how we got there, then have to go back and realize that a certain bubble wasn’t spoken by the character I thought originally spoke. Now, this could either be a problem on Elkins part, or Gil, is not apparent. But for future issues, the two of them need to communicate more.
But the biggest mistake of all has nothing to do with the writing, penciling, or lettering. It’s that at no point in this issue, does it tell us there is going to be another issue to this. It just says “End.” This greatly affected how I read the issue, as I felt short changed on every aspect of the story. It was short, had no resolve of any kind, and made me think I wasted the half an hour that it took to read the issue. Yes, I read this for free, but it still angered me. After doing some research, I found out that it was the beginning of a new comic series. That’s comic book making 101. Make sure your reader knows that they need to come back next month. What if someone had picked this up on the shelf based on cover alone? They would have been furious. Considering the issue is $4.99 on Amazon, that would leave any reader questing whether their money was well spent.
The Trials and Tribulations of Ms. Tileny gets 2.5/5.