Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Two from Brian Clopper
B.O.F.A. is a twenty-eight page mini-comic created over the course of twelve hours. While that sounds like a ton of work in twelve hours, each page is only one panel. They’re fairly meticulous panels too; not the sort of a rush job you typically think about when considering a timed comic. In B.O.F.A. we follow a little goblin on a journey to deliver a scroll to its intended destination. He’s a plucky little fellow, especially when you consider the terrain and dangerous beasts that he meets on the way. The reader doesn’t learn what B.O.F.A. stands for until the final page, but when you do learn the secret it will put a huge smile on your face – unless your heart is full of sand that is. This is one of those short stories that remind you of the magic and power of childhood.
Clopper has taken the art and production in B.O.F.A. seriously. The figures and backgrounds are nuanced with grey dot shading, and his line is very assured throughout. This gives each panel a fleshed-out look and feel that adds to the depth of this simple story. The pages are alternately yellow or red and the cover is slightly thicker purple. B.O.F.A. is a charming all ages mini-comic with a wonderful ending. It was the first thing I pulled out of the envelope last night and it gave me a very favorable impression of Clopper’s work.

The art in Coming of MAGE looks and feels similar to B.O.F.A., but MAGE is in a larger format that lets the art breathe a bit more than its smaller cousin. The panels are twice as large and there are two per page rather than a single one. In MAGE a goblin leads eleven-year old Brandon through a rocky desert landscape, as they search for Brandon’s power stone. The boy is tired of walking around and asks, “So, when am I gonna find it? It feels like we’ve been wandering around for hours.” The goblin replies, “It’s been three minutes.” This is a cute story in a genre that I’m not a big fan of, but it’s done in a manner that makes it accessible to non-fantasy readers. The quest for the stone is also an opportunity for Brandon to discover more about what awaits him, and Wimmer, his goblin guide (or familiar), is a patient teacher. When they finally do find Brandon’s stone, Clopper pauses to make the most of the scene. Several panels stretch into a few pages as Wimmer and Brandon try to comprehend what the stone means about the boy’s power as a young wizard.

There are a few more minis in the Clopper envelope as well as a longer project that he’s just started. B.O.F.A. and The Coming of MAGE are both from 2002, so I’m not sure about availability. You can email Brian at bclopper@nc.rr.com. I’ve also got his mailing address if you’re interested.


TomD. said...

Man, these look gorgeous! I hope I can get my hands on some copies.

Matt Butcher said...

Where do you get copies? Are there any more samples online?