Wasted Talent: Welcome to the Real World
As I mentioned in a previous review, one of the things that appeals to me about webcomics, is that it’s given a rise to a great number of autobiographical comic artists. These comic artists tend to be primarily young writers and artists, and webcomics allow them a chance to share the highlight of their day or those split-second funny moments with the rest of the world. And I always love discovering new comics, so I was excited when I discovered Angela’s Wasted Talent, from a Friday strip she did for the webcomic, Unshelved. Angela brings a somewhat different twist to the autobiographical comic genre in that her comics typically show moments from her work day as an an engineer, although she also does show moments from home life with her husband Trevor. The other thing that makes her comic stand out is that her primary medium is markers vs. drawing with computers. This book, Welcome to the Real World, is the second volume that Angela has published and contains the comics she has created since she graduated from university, her adventures in job hunting, and moments from her job.
One thing that is different about Angela’s comic compared to some of the other autobiographical comic, such as Between Gears, is that her comic isn’t a daily comic and the moments that she chooses to share have a different vibe to them. It’s a bit difficult to describe to be honest, but I think seeing a daily strip allows the reader to see the boring moments, the low moments, the high moments and everything in between whereas Angela does a once a week comic that shares aspects of her life that she thinks that we’ll find interesting. And while Angela does share moments with us where she’s feeling down, she makes them a bit more lighthearted and give us a chance to smile, while nodding and going “yep, yep I remember something like that.” I really enjoy the moments she does share with us, as she us give us a nice glimpse into her life–what it’s like to work an engineer, to go travel to different companies and advise them and then those moments that we can all relate to–trying to find a place to live, the job search, and those moments that she shares with her husband Trevor as they have fun learning new things such as mountain biking. And it always brings a smile to my face to see what she’s chosen to share that day.
I really like Angela’s artwork and I like that almost all of the strips are done in markers, which is a nice change of pace. While some folks might think that markers don’t allow an artist to generate as much depth in their work as say computer generated artwork, Angela is a master at layering and building up the colors so that it has good depth and detail to the scenes, which create for some really enjoyable panels–like the one that she did of Trevor proposing to her. The other thing that I like about Angela’s work is that she can vary her style so that it matches the mood of the comic. Some of the styles that regularly uses are: chibi style artwork where the characters really small, extra cute, and look more like paper cutouts; an anime style; video game style; and her normal style which is slightly cartoony but really well done. The other thing that I find helpful with her style, is that if she’s depicting real people in the comic , such as her parents or friends, she puts their name on the shirt so that we can identify them. It’s a nice little touch that lets readers know who’s who. And before folks ask yes she does have a cast page but it’s annoying to go to that when reading the comic and having the names doesn’t detract from the art at all.
When Angela announced that she was planning on releasing book 2 she came up with all kinds of cool little packages to entice folks, such as “The Extreme Underwater Basket Weaving Edition” (which is the one that I went with.) It came with an awesome sketch in the book (see to the left), a print, a sticker, and a mug! And while yes you can read the entire comic online, it’s nice to have the printed edition. Not only to support the artist but because of the bonus features in the back of the book, such as her marker tutorial which shows how she layers and builds the colors up (like I mentioned above.) It really illustrates just how much she does to create the comic that readers enjoy each week.
I also had a chance to meet Angela at Emeraldcity Comicon and she’s one of the nicest people I think I’ve met in person, which makes reading her comics even more awesome. If you like autobiographical comics or just enjoy a comic that will give you a smile, then this is the comic for you. I’m an unabashed fan of Angela’s work and I look forward to seeing her future adventures and what she shares with us next.