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Female Force William Moulton Marston

williammoultonmarstonLoyd Gant
Gabriele Valenza
Price unknown

Wonder Woman’s famous creator William Moulton Marston receives Bluewater’s notorious treatment in this soon to be published Female Force specialty title. I hear you asking the question “why?” and only one answer come to mind: someone thought this was a good idea. I am not a religious person in the Christian tradition, I am reminded of the sayng about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. As the writer and artist of this story, Mr Gant and Ms Valenza have undoubtedly given their best. The end results, provided in a comp PDF copy by the publiser, provide ample evidence that Bluewater as a publisher has maintained its standards.

Allow me to elaborate.

Gant’s script is a list of events and accomplishments in Martston’s life easily gleaned from any number of sources. The writer constructs a dull set of sequences of conversations between FBI Chief Director Hoover and one Agent Smith on the day of Marston’s death; the reason for the FBI connection being a file maintained on Marston because he was considered a “sexual deviant” due to his polyamorous relationship. A flashback to a conversation between a young Marston and his father observing caterpillars and coccoons segues into a talk about ancient Greek dieties and being the best you can become in life via the cliche of said caterpillar’s incredibly time lapsed transformation into a butterfly. The information about Marston’s life can easily be gleaned from any number of sources including the default Wikipedia. The poorly executed dialog between the two FBI officers does little to embellish in an entertaining or meaningful manner. Likewisewith other scenes directly involving Marston and principal characters close to him, but I simply can’t keep my eyes fixed long enough to pick other examples to cite.

Valenza’s art is consistent and she has a basic sense of anatomy. Unfortunately, starting with the skewed propotion of the FBI building followed by its interiors which are uncharacteristically decrepit, people not always drawn to scale, and the presence of two cars seemingly from decades later indicate that the consistency will be aesthetically jarring. And by basic sense of anatomy, I mean just that. People are easily recognizable as people but poses are extremely stiff, heads or hands are often out of proportion to the torso, and occasionally lips seem to be glued on rather than an organic facial feature. One panel on page 9 still bears easily discernible traces of the original sketch. Someone, starting with the artist on through the colorist to production and the editor should have caught this rather obvious oversight. There is a prelude to a sex scene between Marston, his wife Elizabeth and poly lover Olive Byrne that makes me regret having looked at it not once, but at least twice. It’s like seeing your grandparents having sex if they were poly and into cosplay and bondage.
Now I realize the charge of being unnecessarily cruel can be leveled at me. I wish neither Gant nor Valenza ill will, but I believe they’ve been taken advantage of. Ms Valenza may be able to draw illustrations or paint portraits quite capably for all I know. What I do know is that making sequential art requires a few other skills that aren’t required in other art forms. If she is to continue in this area, and I am not saying she shouldn’t, she has three options before here: stay the course; take some classes that will benefit her basic storytelling and practice, practice, practice; or abandon trying to adhere to realism and explore and embrace a style akin to Ted McKeever’s in Plastic Forks. Regarding the script, after reading several other Bluewater bio comics it becomes clear the outsider as narrator is a formula the publisher likes, rather than sharing my opinion that it is an annoying contrivance.

My thoughts regarding this comic can best be summed up in this way: Oh god! Oh god! The ugly is so much it hurt my head!

Please take the money you might otherwise spend for this book and use it to donate some non perishable food items to your local food bank or make a small contribution to a woman’s shelter.

March 7, 2015
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