Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Borrowed Time

Thank you, Caveman Robot! Thank you for letting Joe Infurnari out to play, and thanks for letting him work on Borrowed Time with Neal Shaffer. Infurnari was one of the winners of the 2005 Oni Press Talent Search, and that success led to his working on this Lost-style fantasy/sci-fi/mystery.

In this first 80-page digest, all we really get is setup. Taylor Devlin is a writer who's been assigned a magazine article on the Bermuda Triangle. While it's mainly a research piece, his editor wants him to get on a ship for some "first hand experience". While on board the ship ... something* happens, and Taylor needs to figure it out. He meets a few exposition delivery machines, then we hit the end of the digest.

It's hard to make a judgment at this point, as this initial volume doesn't do much beyond setting up the premise. Unlike it's format brother Northwest Passage, there's no complete arc here. There's no real sense of where the story will be going, or even who these characters really are. It certainly has a lot of potential, with a unique setup and some interesting insights into how people's mindset could change if the world was just a bit ... different**. This is all plot, all the time and even the character traits that do come to the surface seem puzzling - Taylor quickly turns to alcohol and fists, and it's unclear whether this is a reaction to stressful events or an innate character trait.

I'm not sure where Borrowed Time is headed as a series, but I am sure that this is going to be a big, well-deserved step for Joe Infurnari. It's human, detailed work that is a complete departure from his Caveman Robot style, and should attract a lot of attention from fans and publishers alike. He really steals the show with realistic characters full of emotion, and it's all in a subtle, naturalistic style that completely suits the tone of a book where everything is almost normal.***

It will take at least another volume to make up my mind about Borrowed Time. I would have liked to see the infodump spread out a bit more so that this first book contained a felt like more than an appetizer. But due to an interesting premise and some stunning artwork, I am interested enough to pick up that second volume .... but only just.

* Discussing this book sans spoilers is not easy task.
** Again ... I suck at being coy about plot.
*** ..... and yet again ....



Joe Infurnari said...

Thanks for taking the time to write about Borrowed Time and thanks so much for your praise, Mark! This book was a real treat for me and I'm glad that you took such pleasure in the artwork. Cheers!

Mark Fossen said...

I hope the fame and success doesn't mean we've seen the last of Caveman Robot!

Joe Infurnari said...

My apologies for the long delay in posting again. No, I don't think you've seen the last of Caveman Robot. I may not be doing any comics but I will be doing some set paintings for the Caveman Robot animated pilot! You can also check out mandala, a full color mini I recently finished as well as the upcoming Borrowed Time volume 2 due out next February. I'll have some pencils, inks and finished pages up on my site, joeinfurnari.com, soon. Thanks, Mark.