Publisher: IDW Publishing
Story: Izar Lunacek and Nejc Juren
Artwork: Izar Lunacek
Release Date: 29th March 2017
It’s not often that I dislike a book just from the first few pages, but that’s exactly what happened with IDW Publishing’s Animal Noir.
The basic premise is that in a world where all animals, carnivores and herbivores alike, live together in harmony, certain things are taboo. One of the most popular taboos is “Prey Porn” where the carnivores get their blood lust fix by watching a zebra, antelope or similar pretending to get ripped apart, while consuming meat. In Animal Noir, a tape featuring a high profile judge’s wife being caught in this comprising position is out in the wild and it is up to our giraffe private eye to find it.
The basic premise of the series is interesting in and of itself, but it is sadly let down by scatty pacing and criminally underdeveloped characters. I know that they are anthropomorphic animals, but given the genre they should definitely have a lot more depth and be far less one-dimensional. I found it difficult to engage with the characters as it left that they were rushing from scene to scene. At times it felt that the scenes were key part of the book rather than the characters themselves, and honestly, I’ve yet to see a successful series in which the story itself is the sole reason for the success.
As lackluster as the characterization undoubtedly was, the main thing that made this book such an unpleasant read for me was the art style. Izar and Nejc would appear to be fans of Fritz the Cat, and when used in animation this style of cartoon is tolerable but in the printed form it makes for a difficult and messy read. I personally struggled to read this in one sitting due to the artwork. It strained my eyes trying to make sense of what was happening in the panel, which doesn’t exactly make for an enjoyable experience, to say the least.
Honestly, Animal Noir is clearly a passion project for its creators, and I don’t like dismissing others’ work out of hand, but in my opinion this is simply not an enjoyable book. The story has some nuggets of potential, sure, and I’d perhaps be open to reading it again providing it included an entirely different art style. As it stands however, this is most definitely not for me.
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The writer of this piece was: David Gladman
David Tweets from @the_gladrags