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‘Ups and Down:’ Comic Book Review

I’ve been privileged to be asked to write reviews for many of my colleagues, which I hope not only means I give fair and balanced reviews, but entertaining ones, as well.  I readily admit that I do these reviews not only to get free stuff, but to learn from other creators; however, when I have to bring the hammer down, I try to do it with respect and a sincere belief that any criticism I give will only help them improve their craft or that they will at least think about what I’ve said. Fortunately, there is little not to like about Ups and Down.

I was contacted by Big Book Brotherhood Publishing out of Prague in the Czech Republic to review several of their comics, one of which is Ups and Down. Written by Tomas Prokupek and with art by Tomas Kucerovsky, these two very talented gentlemen give us an alien world fraught with danger and lust. With no dialogue or captioning, you quickly get into the action of the story.

A man falls from the sky onto a familiar, yet alien, world. Attacked by a flying beast, he is saved by a local who looks similar to him, yet different enough not to be mistaken for the same species. Who exactly is the alien here is a subject for debate.  His savior flies him to a city as a welcome guest and shows him that he is in a painting depicted as a God.  A feast is laid out in his honor, where he is feted by the king and queen who quickly over imbibe.  Soon, all this goes to his head, and the old saying, “What goes up, must come down,” quickly takes root.  I don’t know for certain, but I suspect the story may have been inspired in part by David Bowie’s The Man Who Fell to Earth.

I loved the water color and pastel art and how the panels were seemingly roughly penciled in to give us a sense that we were witnessing someone’s recollections in a scrapbook.  We are instantly immersed in a world that is as familiar as it is alien. It is interesting how all the pages are splash pages with inserts to push forward the story and expand on character. I like the tactile look and feel of the art with its muted colors. My only real criticism would be the decision to have no dialogue or captioning. It’s not absolutely necessary, but I can’t help but wonder if it would have brought the comic to another level or if it would have been superfluous. It’s hard to know at this point.

I look forward to seeing what these two dream up in the future.

Madeleine Holly-Rosing is the writer/creator of the Steampunk webcomic Boston Metaphysical Society and its companion novellas. Please visit the website to learn more.  

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