Shatter

Mike Saenz, Author, Peter Gillis, Illustrator . AIT/Planet Lar $14.95 (156p) ISBN 978-1-932051-44-5

The story content of this reprint from the mid-1980s is still interesting, but the art looks stiff and awkward. However, the art is what makes it really worth reprinting: Shatter was the first comic to be drawn on a computer, a Macintosh that could produce art at 72 dots per inch vs. today's typical 1,300 per inch. Pioneering artist Saenz was learning how to control this new tool and simultaneously demonstrating that a computer could be a valid creative platform. Appropriately, Gillis's script echoed Blade Runner by following an alienated detective's investigation of the scary but intriguing possibilities of new technology. The eponymous hero is a freelance cop for hire who tries to maintain his own integrity while solving RNA thefts that threaten to compromise individual identity. The art sometimes reinforces the story's mood by its dazzling complexity, sometimes distracts by its low-resolution gawkiness. At their best, though, the episodes in this collection do communicate the excitement of discovering new possibilities. Each page seems to be saying, "Maybe this experiment doesn't work, so we'll just try something else—and we can do it better next time!" In fact, the current crop of comics artists has learned to do it better. But Shatter did it first. (July)

Reviewed on: 07/17/2006
Release date: 07/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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