Topic: Comic Books - New
TODAY'S FEATURE - Blog #3168:
Today I am blogging a review on a publication that was sent to me by Amy Ratcliffe, on behalf of Travis Hanson of BeanLeaf Press.
That would be the 1st issue of 'the Bean'. I was not familar with this publication or the project itself before receiving this copy, even though it would appear that BeanLeaf Press had a booth at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con, (SDCC), as pictured at the above left. (Hey! I can't see all of the Con, you know how large it is?! LOL.)
So what's this publication about? Here is the promo blurb from Amy:
"The Bean comic is about:
So what's 'My Take' on this publication? I keep calling it a publication, because to me it is not a comic book, even though the creator / publisher calls it a "landscaped comic book" in this published format.Front Cover: The front cover is actually the first half of a wrap-around cover presentation. It's kinda cool looking when you look at the full cover. The front cover is something that should appeal to younger readers, as well as those like me that are 'big kids'!
Inside Front Cover: It's an illustration of the Bean in Black & White. Still doesn't look like a comic book to me...
Splash Page: Not a comic book splash page presentation. More like an illustrated book with this opening page.
The Rest of the Pages: Turning over the 'splash page', there is another page with the credits and publishing info.
The story gets going right away. I already started liking the art style from the cover itself, which was in color. The interior pages I find are all in black & white. But the lack of color does not affect my enjoyment of the story, as I find myself drawn into the storyline right away.
I find the unusual print format to be the size and shape of the web comic, which is where this project started. Having read web comics before, the odd sized publication doesn't affect my continued reading of the storyline, although I don't 'feel' like I'm reading a 'comic'.
Last Page: Is the first time I feel like I'm reading a comic book, as there is a 'To Be Continued' box! LOL! However, I for one am so caught up in this storyline, I would be more than inclined to seek out issue #2!
Inside Back Cover: Was left blank...Why, I don't know. Even a 'house ad' could have been used here, to entice me to go immediately to the web comic itself to see the next storyline. Yeah, the story thus far is on the web, and could be read for free. But I am a 'tactile' reader, and would prefer to read it in print.
Back Cover: Is the second part of the wrap-around cover, with just a little bit of inhouse advertising for the rest of the adventure.
So, after all of the above...what is 'My Take' on all of this?
Well...First of all, I thought I was receiving a comic book in the mail. Everything that I ask for from a creator / publisher / publicist as shown at: How to Submit Your Publication for Possible Review link was there. (BTW, Amy, that was a great package you sent me!)
But the odd shaped publication wasn't in the form of what is considered a 'comic book' sized publication by the comic book rading public, nor comics fan base.
I didn't let that stop me from enjoying the issue.
I definitely found that the B&W illustrated artwork to be perfect for this genre of story. The storyline itself flowed. I was drawn into this adventure, and would have been sad to see it end, but for the 'To Be Continued' box. So there is more to the main character's adventure!
That is good! I look forward to checking this out further, now that I know about it. In fact, I'll let Vinnie take a look at it, and see if he wants to blog about any future issues. (Click here for Vinnie's guest review blogs.)
I would grade this first issue of 'the Bean #1" as a 'Very Fine / Near Mint' (VF/NM) 9.0 out of the 10.0 Grading Scale. That's because even though I enjoyed the storyline and art, the printed format of this publication is a little tough to 'bag & board' it as a 'comic'. That is the only thing I believe that the creator / publisher has to deal with here, as the project is an entertaining one! Matter of fact, take a look at the following bio, where he himself discusses the format publishing problem he has run into. Still, I believe that this issue, in this format, would be a great introduction to someone that doesn't read comics, and would enjoy it just for the story and art. It's almost a 'mini-graphic novelette', in this presentation format!
As a Note: I mentioned that 'the Bean' started as a web comic. Amy tells me the following: "As a webcomic, it is published biweekly (on Mondays and Thursdays), but the printed comic is farther ahead. For example, though Hanson just sent issue 5 to press, the webcomic is only at Issue 2".
Here's the publisher's site so you can read additional pages and introduce YOUR friends to this project: BeanLeafPress.com
How to purchase: Readers can keep up with the webcomic and purchase all issues of The Bean (up to 4 issues now, the 5th issue to be released soon) at http://beanleafpress.com. It is a self published comic, so as of right now, that's the only place to get it, UNLESS you see Travis at a comic con.
Talking about Travis, here is a brief bio / message from him:
I am an artist and storyteller. I have been illustrating stories for several years now and have finally come back into my own with the comic “the Bean”.
The bean is a story I developed over 12 years ago as a struggling cartoonist. I started posting it as a web comic and was finally convinced to take it to press as a regular comic book. After 2 issue my dream fell apart. So what I do I picked up the pieces and tried again this time as a written illustrated novel, with the help of the very talented Aimee Duncan. It too fell apart before book 3 and so once again I was left with a huge debt and a lot of pieces to pick up. After a year of brooding and a lot of frustration I realized that for this dream to happen I would have to return to my roots.
So I picked up my pencil and re-scripted the books into the format that I had originally envisioned so many years ago. I am now on issue 4 and going very strong. There are some minor changes since the comics are an adaptation of my novels, but the story is still very much the same. Of the major differences is the format, which is a landscaped comic book (I know an uphill battle) but I have a vision and I know it will work.
I am also posting it online as a comic, for the world to see. I felt this was needed, in part, for all those that were expecting book 3. I apologize for the novel being shelved, sometimes things do not work the way you planned. Yet, I believe in my story and I want to get it out and so this is the format that it will be in. I will finish it in this format as well and one day I will revisit the novels, but honestly my passion has always been and always will be comic books.
It has been a story that has stuck with me for many years and changed very little. I am already finishing issue 4 (meaning I better pay attention to this blog and update the issues as I move along) and have started issue 5. The web comic is far behind yet updates twice a week. So please sit back and enjoy.
Until then the publisher also has a Facebook Group Page, which I am suggesting YOU click on and 'join' as a member. I just did!
My thanks to Amy Ratcliffe, who's also known as "geek with curves" as seen at: http://geekfemme.blogspot.com.
She can be followed at Twitter at: http://twitter.com/amy_geek!
Amy is shown to the left with Travis Hanson at the BeanLeaf Press booth during the 2009 Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC / CCI)!
AND My thanks again to all of YOU reading this blog and our archived blog posts, now over the 3,165 total posts in number!
~ Michael D Hamersky @ ComicBookCollectorsBlog.com
Note: Our online comic book store carries many different genres of comics, magazines and graphic novels at: