Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bloody Cold Nights

30 Days of Night
by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith
When the movie came out I remembered that I had been meaning to read 30 Days of Night for a while now.  I finally got around to it after not going to watch the movie.


In many ways I feel this is a dark coffee table art book with some words attached.  I really like Templesmith's artwork and it really does fit the genre.  It's always dark, it's unclear at points but it's frightening on a core level.  The somewhat unfinished, unpolished look helps it terrify the reader.  I'm using unpolished here to mean that there isn't a lot of tight linework with colouring precisely defined by those lines.  Nope, here colours, textures and art materials are used to bleed into one another making things beautifully muddled.  The bones are loose but the colour is tight.  I really love what he manages with such a limited palette of colour.


Sadly, I found that it was the art to be partly problematic to the actual plot.  While the art is so bloody cool the plotting and characterization needs to be next to perfect.  With the art being kinetic and emotional I found that jumps in story and characterization to be slightly confusing.  In fact I got lost a few times.  It starts out strong but by the time the plot is halfway through there seems to be one too many massive jumps in plot that were kind of frustrating to read while remaining artistically strong.


It starts strong, the idea is sound, the art suits it perfectly, the pacing and narrative sort of falls off.  I guess that's the sum up.
I hate criticizing works that I actually enjoy, for the most part.  I think I'm getting slightly more curmudgeonly as the snow continues to pile up here in Ottawa and I'm suffering from sleep deprivation because of the stupid hour change being moved.  Reading about a bunch of vicious beasts on a murderous winter rampage is a little too close to home as people are starting to crack because their sidewalks aren't cleared and pedestrians are forced to fight traffic in the streets.  Winter madness is setting in with the approach of Spring and 30 Days of Night captures the feeling of it a bit too precisely in that respect.
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