Saturday, 3 February 2018

Moving Pictures Review (Kathryn Immonen, Stuart Immonen)


The Nazis looted a buncha art from France during the Occupation. Museum Curator Ila, along with others, hides as many pieces as she can – “Moving Pitchers” around, oooohhh, I gets the title now!! – before she’s caught and interrogated by her German Nazi boyfriend - or someone anyway. And then the book’s over… ?

I didn’t rate Kathryn Immonen as even a halfway-decent writer before and she hasn’t changed my mind with her badly-written comic drawn by her hubby Stuart, Moving Pictures. This book is poo. 

I love history and know quite a bit about WW2 but if you’re someone who doesn’t you might be lost with this one as Immonen provides zero context to her dull story. Simple things like captions indicating time and place are missing which would’ve helped, particularly as the narrative confusingly jumps around in time unnecessarily and ineffectually. WW2 and the Nazis aren’t mentioned, we have to assume Ila is French and her boyfriend is a Gestapo officer or one of the French collaborators – but what’s gained from such pretentious obfuscation? Absolutely nothing.

In fact, combine the incompetent storytelling with the black and white panels full of moody French people smoking and wittering on melodramatically about relationships against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower and the effect is like watching a clich├ęd avant-garde film!

I couldn’t tell you what the story was, let alone its point. There’s some lady who looks like Ila that Ila is seeing off at the train station and they’ve swapped identities – don’t know why! I get that Ila is being interrogated to find out the location of valuable artwork but then she’s just allowed to walk free – don’t know why either! The relationship with her interrogator was at best forced and completely unconvincing and none of the characters were at all compelling.

Stuart Immonen’s art is deliberately less sophisticated than his more mainstream output for seemingly no other reason than because this is an indie comic. But he’s made his style too simplistic in adopting this contrived approach – it’s far too difficult to tell the characters apart! One male character looks like the boyfriend but I think they’re actually two separate characters? The jumps between past, present and future don’t help as characters age and look slightly different but still quite similar. It’s so pointlessly frustrating.

Still, the level of cartooning on a technical level is fairly competent and Stuart Immonen occasionally dazzles with some artistic flourishes. Overall though I was wholly unimpressed with Moving Pictures. I like historical stories but Kathryn Immonen is too much of a garbage writer to make even WW2 remotely exciting! A boring, uninformative and forgettable comic, Moving Pictures is like a less interesting Monuments Men – and the Monuments Men wasn’t the least bit interesting!

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