The GeeksverseIt Tells a Story Without Words (but they are there too) in Night Craft #1

It Tells a Story Without Words (but they are there too) in Night Craft #1
Published on Saturday, June 4, 2011 by

Night Craft #1 caught my eye at HeroCon this weekend. The first pass looked like a typical indie book based on a slasher genre. Night Craft #1, “Terror Lake,” by writer/artist Jesse Thomas is more than that. I flipped through the familiar looking book while Jesse was sketching me a dinosaur. He gives preference to dinosaurs, cavewomen, spacemen, and garbage pail kids. The second time I stopped by his table, so a friend could get a sketch from the North Carolina based artist, I looked at the book again, differently.

Uncolored Night Craft #1 Cover

The first time I flipped through the finished comic book Night Craft #1. The second time I was joined by a graphic designer friend and we flipped through the portfolio of finished comic pages. These pages were wordless and in order as they appeared in the comic. Looking at the large pages my graphic design friend started commenting on the motion and facial features. The layouts carried the entire story without words. It works as a silent issue. If he ever reprints the 24 page story it would be interesting as a silent issue next time around. Perhaps then the other 4 pages from his original concept would fit in. Although that is moot speculation on my part.

Night Craft #1 is a book that takes a few looks to appreciate. It is more subtle than it first appears.

Night Craft #1 is a stand alone story about a young woman, in a bikini, discovering that a mad man has butchered her friends. The rest of her camping trip is her trying to escape the mad man. I remarked that seeing a teenager running for her life near a lake always reminded me of Crystal Lake. Thomas thought that the image of Crystal Lake was iconic enough to make that possible. That spurred us into a discussion of slasher films and American International Pictures, good and bad, that we both knew. Reading Night Craft #1 does not require an immersion into cult cinema but it doesn’t hurt the experience. Like minded Thomas would also recommend Trip with Teacher.

Terror Lake Sample page

The story in Night Craft #1, “Terror Lake,” is a 24 black and white comic. The amount of detail in the background is well used. Black and white sometimes allows for more details. In this case Jesse Thomas has used it well.

Night Craft can be found on IndyPlanet and Comics Monkey. The comic, which debuted in 2010, is still available. Night Craft #2, also available online, tells another stand alone story in a different genre. Still black and white #2 is a space robot story. It is cute and well drawn as well. #2 did not speak to me automatically as a silent issue, although my friend could follow it but he likes robots more than I. My taste of genre did not entice me to pick up #2, but it is worth checking out.

Jesse Thomas does the covers as well as the interiors to these books. The art work is consistent throughout from cover to interior, however the interiors link together into a story telling pattern.

Jesse Thomas get should bonus points for having a sketch book with a great title: Spare Parts.

The colored #2 cover sans logo.

We complimented Thomas on his dinosaurs. He replied, “I like drawing dinosaurs.” Thomas told us that dino-fans pre-Jurrassic Park tended to ask for a T-Rex while younger (post-JP) dino-fans asked for the Velociraptors. Thomas had told me during my first sketch that he preferred dinosaurs with grass on the ground but that grass was a later evolutionary occurrence. The knowledgeable artist drew a nice fern on my grassless sketch. Flipping through his portfolio we complimented his bikini clad women. He smiled, “I like drawing girls in bikinis.” While Night Craft #1 dinosaurs are absent but bikini clad women bounce around. The soft spoken sketched my buddy a nice robotic dinosaur chasing a space woman. It is nice when like minded people find each other at a comic con.

As a fellow Frank Frazetta fan, it will be interesting to see where Jesse Thomas goes from here in issue #3 and other projects.

On an unrelated note, Jesse Thomas also has a nice drawing of my favorite Dark Horse 90s Superhero Universe:

Thomas' Barb Wire is not very Pam Anderson

He didn’t feel the need to make the Comics Greatest World character overly movie oriented. He keeps the important parts of the bounty hunter to keep the attitude.

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