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Sin Titulo
posted November 3, 2007


Creator: Cameron Stewart
Publishing Information: Transmission-X, web comic, landscape format, ongoing
Ordering Numbers: Free

imageThere's a lot to admire in what's been seen to date in Cameron Stewart's Transmission-X effort Sin Titulo but if you're like me you won't be able to get over how damn slick it is. If you've been tracking on-line discussion about comics for the last 10 years -- and I'm sorry for that, first and foremost -- you'll probably recall chats whereby people have argued that the future of the industry depends on accessible entertainments recognizable to non-comics fans who enjoy a wide array of genres and approaches in their television watching and book reading. I don't know if that's true, but it was for a very long time an argument with a lot of adherents and I imagine it still is. Well: here's the kind of comic those people have been talking about. An attractively drawn, easy to understand, slightly Lynchian mystery, Sin Titulo is the kind of thing that could be optioned for a film and ably serve as a potential vehicle for just about any level of star and size of production you'd care to name. Young man discovers mysterious elements to his grandfather's death that includes an intriguing woman: that works for just about any actor aged 18-42 you'd care to name. Except for a false element that creeps into one scene regarding an overly blunt depiction of corruption and abuse at the nursing home, Stewart sets an admirable tone.

The downside is that the story thus far feels a bit like eating dinner in your slippers and bathrobe: maybe a bit too comfortable. There's a fine line between communicating motivation by presenting a believable character, revealing a belief system, and then setting that character in motion, and having the fact that we're submerged into this comfortable fictional construct kind of do that for the reader. We may better be able to impress ourselves onto the character for his cipher-like personality, but because the world presented proves comfortable and bland, even with the hints of majorly weird goings-on, one never stops hoping that the character will emerge and direct our interest somehow. We need to root for him, too, and he doesn't feel real enough for that to be worth our time. A lot of what will become valuable or will fail to reach that summit with this project is going to depend on how things develop from here on out. The floor could drop from the whole affair at any time; the story could change on a dime. And yes, that makes it a fun serial reading experience, too. But twenty pages in, I'm beginning to have my doubts this will transcend its accomplished execution to date, and I'm not certain I'd be on it becoming the kind of a longer work that not only demands our attention but rewards it.