WEBCOMIC REVIEW: Shivering

Writer: Josh Eure
Pencils and Inks: Gleb Melnikov
Colors: Stanislav Leonov
Lettering: Micah Myers

 Synopsis:

What happens when god-like powers are given to ordinary people with ordinary hopes and dreams?  The first installment of the graphic novel Shivering introduces us to Brandon, as he goes to visit his backwoods North Carolina drug dealer and friend named Jake.  Recently, Jake discovered he has the power to wish for things and have them come to pass.  We start to learn what the source of these powers are and what they are capable of, and end with an interesting thought on the nature of man and a hook into a larger story.

Currently available as a webcomic, the team is trying to shop the novel to a publisher.

What I Liked:

First off, the art is professionally done.  I can’t find any links on the website to Melnikov or Leonov, but they are to commended for their work.  The composition and details of each page is excellent, character’s anatomy and design are great, the colors feel natural.  The art as a whole does a very good job of making the story depicted feel real.

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I also greatly enjoyed the concept of normal people getting access to supernatural powers, and then using them for normal, ordinary, boring things.  Jake cleans up his son’s messes, wishes himself a stereo system and a big screen tv, and etc.  There are some indications that he might try for something bigger, but it seems equally likely that he will continue to use his new-found abilities for petty wishes, an interesting change to the classic “superhero” story.

What I Didn’t:

There are a couple of things that I didn’t enjoy about my reading experience of Shivered.  Most have simple fixes.

  1. The comic is NSFW for language and nudity.  That by itself isn’t bad, but it IS bad that it lacked any sort of NSFW rating or warning.  I finished reading it out of a duty to review it as a whole after accepting my assignment, but I was annoyed because I would have passed it off to someone else to review if I’d known.  It’s polite and common courtesy to have some sort of warning label/message at the beginning of a comic to let readers know what they can expect from the comic instead of being unpleasantly surprised by it.
  2. I’m glad that the artists and letterer got credited, but would have liked to see some sort of link to their portfolio/way of contacting them.  This could easily be added to the website (as could Josh Eure actually naming himself as the blog owner instead of only always saying “I”).
  3. I know that Eure has hopes to get Shivering printed/picked up by a publisher, and that a physical copy is probably his ideal for how Shivering should be read.  But currently, it is a webcomic, and the reading experience is plagued by slow page load times, difficult navigation (no “First” or “Last” buttons or comic archive), an overly large site page header that pushes the comic almost below the fold each time you load a new page, etc.  If Eure plans to continue to publish Shivering digitally or wants to create an enjoyable webcomic reading experience he should consider updating his site to make it more comic-friendly, or even hosting Shivering on a comic host site like SmackJeeves.

Hopefully those technical issues can be easily fixed.

On the story itself, I had a hard time personally caring about Brandon and identifying with him.  He is apparently the protagonist, or at least the narrator of the story, but I had difficulty following his narration, as it didn’t always make sense to me.  This could have been just an aspect of his character, but it did make it hard for me to understand or care about what he was doing.

In fact, none of the characters were really that interesting to me, because they are all (I believe intentionally) kind of despicable people.  One the one hand, this is excellent storytelling, because many people in real life are despicable, but I didn’t have much interest personally in reading about their lives because of it.

Summary:

Shivering shows a lot of promise as a story.  The art is excellent and professionally done, I am intrigued to learn more about the world and what is going on.  I personally had a hard time getting invested in the characters.  The website also has some technical issues that need repairing to provide a better reading experience.

I would not be surprised to see Shivering get picked up by someone and appear in print on comic book shelves.  Until then, you can read and follow it online.

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