Curse Sword (#1) – Ryan Browne

2 out of 5

Ryan Browne rewrites all of the dialogue for the Charles Soule-scripted / Ryan Browne-drawn Curse Words #1.

Given Browne’s penchant for random and juvenile humor, here’s what I was expecting from Curse Sword: a poop- and pee-referencing Madlibs style jam comic. That’s… mostly what we got, and this was also done on a Kickstarter-funded lark, so I’m not faulting Browne for false promises of anything greater than that (he’d pretty much forewarned that it would likely be nonsense), and I’m happy to have funded the creator to keep on creating. But that doesn’t change that I’m not likely to reread this, and that it will sit bagged and boarded as a collector’s thing.

To be fair – this particular book / issue was a tall order. It’s very jam-packed, with lots of storytelling in the original, and lots of dialogue, making any plans of trying to string randomness into a semi-comprehensible new story a tough job. …That Browne almost does for half the book! It’s actually pretty amazing, and contrary to what my offhand take above suggests, fairly amusing. It takes a few pages for the references Ryan uses to add up so that he can start riffing on them, but once they’re in place (Pringles; Cheddar & Broccoli; the Magic Johnson show…), he manages to turn the comic into a brain-fried “narrative” concerning those references. However, woof, it definitely hits a point where he runs out of steam – about halfway through – and he starts turning up that Madlibs vibe to the extreme, then falling back on what most of us do when we start running out of ideas: talking about how we’re running out of ideas. Ryan starts commenting on the artwork; has Soule show up (in the dialogue) and comment on the comic; and starts building up and endless list of new references that he tosses away, one after another, until the last few pages he tries to bring it back around to the original references, but we’re all pretty exhausted by that point.

So the latter half of the book is about what was expected, and the art- and word-cramped nature of the title amps the negative effects of that approach to an extreme.

But again, I don’t think the majority of us were buying / reading this expecting a masterpiece.