by Wynston H. S. Ross
Tree Of Skulls is a collection of Wynston H.S. Ross’ Manga style webcomic – and at 20 pages really does struggle to qualify for a Volume 1 tag – maybe issue 1 would be a better description.
It’s another lovingly well produced comic, impressive production values, striking cover. Yet nowadays I’m so used to seeing everyone in the self publishing realm pull out impressive presentation that it doesn’t really impress all that much anymore.
But, although it’s slight, although it’s the quick read you’d expect from 20 pages of Manga style artwork and storytelling techniques, it’s enjoyable stuff.
It starts oh so well with a suitably moody and mysterious bit of artwork. Well, here, see for yourself:
And from there we enter the rather attractively drawn, albeit rather miserable world of Fyodor Lyndon; insomniac, isolated “misanthropic pariah”, who’s working on something important enough to keep him up for the best part of a week:
But the rest he so needs, he’s fated not to get – a scream wakes him, a scream from the forest. A frantic search reveals a girl seemingly drowning in a lake. But the rescued girl turns into nothing but a nightmareish corpse and Fydor is left shaken, questioning just what the hell is going on.
And that’s when he sees the tree…..
Theres some very nice, albeit rough, artwork going on in Tree Of Skulls. A couple of pages made me ooooh, just as a couple made me wince. But it is a nice comic, and overall, the art shows enough to make me think Ross has enough potential to be worth a look.
The story, at least what I’ve seen so far, is a rather thinner affair though. In fact it’s pretty much summarised and covered in just those few lines and three images above. It does somewhat highlight a few of my prejudices of weekly serialised webcomics – a few months of weekly postings of a comic in this style can be read in a few moments, and that’s one reason I tend to shy away from them.
Tree Of Skulls Issue 1 may not be deeply involving, but that’s really because there’s not that much that’s happened so far. It’s a setup issue, nothing more. But as such, it does the trick. As I finished the comic I felt a flash of disappointment that it had ended quite so quickly – but a lot of that was to do with wondering where it was going to go next. Hopefully I’ll find out with issue 2.
Unfortunately Ross is taking a break from Tree Of Skulls to start a new webcomic “Every Name Taken” which started mid January. Only when this is done will he return to Tree Of Skulls. Personally I think this is a mistake – there’s just about enough so far with Tree Of Skulls to grab a reader, but stopping now to introduce something new just seems a little daft to me.
Tree Of Skulls is available from Wynston W.H. Ross at his website. Where you can also have a look at Tree Of Skulls, but be warned, it’s an earlier version of the finished comic – and as such it’s rougher, missing some pages, containing first drafts of others. The finished comic is a more rewarding experience than the 14 pages online.
And whilst you’re at his site, have a look at Every Name Taken as well. I’ve only seen a few pages, but it looks rather good….