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John Henry, Steel-Driving Man
posted July 8, 2008


Creator: Dmitri Jackson
Publishing Information: Self-Published, mini-comic, 36 pages, 2008, $4
Ordering Numbers:

There's a lot to celebrate in the creative choices made by Dmitri Jackson in bringing the legend of John Henry into comics form. It's a fine a work to adapt -- simple, straight-forward and stuffed full of visual opportunity. Jackson employs a blue shading that allows the art to pop a bit and is generally, uniquely attractive. The story is told with a minimum of fuss, hitting both the physical highlights and the general sadness with which the end result unfolds. All that's really missing is a level of craft necessary to make a perfunctory re-telling an attractive one. In other words, this would have been quite nice if the narrative had been set-up for a visual talent like Brian Ralph to execute, but Jackson 's figure drawing is still rudimentary and his craft chops when it comes to drawing the physical vista limits their impact. A tasteful, straight-forward adaptation like this one demands powerful follow through, and it's just not here. Hopefully, Jackson 's chops will one day match his good taste and ability to conceive of a story on a project to project basis. He's simply not there right now.