Blood Stain, volume 1, from Linda Sejic was a fantastic read. Very rarely does a creator that can do both the art and writing hit the ground running like this. The narrative was concise, clear, and powerful. Her dialogue was filled with voice, opinion, and bias unique to each cast member. As for Linda’s art, well it was simply stunning. Every page was filled to the brim. Each panel, with the exception of Doctor Stein’s scenes, had a fully detailed background. An impressive feat.
Linda starts with a clever introduction: Elly searching for jobs and getting frustrated. This is something every adult can relate to. This, coupled with the ominous introduction of Doctor Stein, was a perfect lure into Linda’s world. Furthermore, she hypnotize’s the reader deeper with these hilarious anecdotal tales of Elly’s previous employment, each more clever than the last.
As far as the rest of the story goes, I was completely blindsided. Linda did a great job not following the obvious path that most writers would take. Instead she takes her time, sets the stage and just as you get comfortable, and think you know what is coming, BAM! She takes you down the path less traveled, but not in a forced way. Each twist and turn is organic to who Elly is, building on the character’s weaknesses so she can achieve her goals. Good job Linda, the shock factor is way too derivative these days. So this is a breath of fresh air.
Regarding the writing, man can she write some mean dialogue. Short and sweet, but packed full of information. Every single thing that came out of a character’s mouth gave the reader more information about who that character is, what their goals are, and how they need to achieve them. Honestly, some of the best scenes in the book were just ‘talking heads’. Linda just makes it so easy for you to want for more from her characters, that big explosions, burglars, and invading aliens were just icing on the cake.
So now she has all these unique characters running through this carefully plotted out maze with amazing voices, right? Well she treats us even further with her art. I am not exactly sure how to describe what she did, but I will give it my best shot. Imagine a mix between: photo realism, American cartoons, and Japanese anime. It sounds crazy, but the way she did it was beautiful and fun.
The realism was in the background, and inanimate objects. These were gorgeously painted and it was almost a shame that most of it was blurred to push it out of the readers focus. Which ended up being fine since her characters were even more impressive. Linda gave every person a mannerism about them, a certain feel of movement, that really brought each character to life. This was more like American cartoons in the way that she mainly used the traditional two-tone cut and shade technique for coloring them. She did use gradients, but they were way more subtle, which made the book feel not so over-rendered like most of the work coming from Marvel and DC. Lastly, the anime side of things came with exaggerated emotions that the characters showed during some climactic events, or humorous dialogue. All of it together was enchanting.
To sum it all, Blood Stain volume 1 was fantastic. Everyone, creators and fans alike, needs to pick this book up. This is the direction comic books should tend to. A planned narrative, with no turgid dialogue, cross-genre line work and not overly rendered color. It is inspiring to see a book without the kickstand of violence, and a strong female lead that does not have to hold a bitchy and impatient attitude to be taken seriously. Thank you Linda for the great read. 5 out of 5 stars.
STORY/ART/COVER BY Linda Sejic
PUBLISHER Top Cow Productions