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Indie Comic Review: The Curse

It was only a matter of time before I had an AI illustrated comic submitted for review. The technique of using AI to assist with any creative process is met with controversy for a number of reasons. For the sake of this review, I will push all those reasons aside and focus on the work itself. And when considering how to use AI, The Curse has the right mindset. It's a dark, gothic, esoteric story with a very poetic narrative. These types of stories seem perfect for the type of imagery AI is able to invoke. However, the technology is still not ready to create a smooth sequential story without any hiccups. There are also some other technical issues with the comic that could have made the read a bit more fluid. 

 

The Curse is a long work broken up into acts that spans well over 200 pages. For the sake of this review, I read about 80% of it. The story follows an enigmatic character named Drakko as he must contend with darkness all around him and what appears to be a destiny he is trying to avoid. Other than that, the story's poetic nature makes a lot of the plot and characterization difficult to follow. The story shines for the most part when it doesn't try to balance the obscure and abstract with a sequential story. It either needs to lean in one direction or the other, and when accompanied by the AI art, the obscure and abstract is when the story works best.

 

My big takeaway is that the technology just isn't ready for coherent sequential storytelling. I was fairly impressed with the consistency of the character designs. It was far better than other AI made comics I've seen, but the style sometimes varied from panel to panel, which threw off the flow. Plus, artist signatures appeared in some of the panels, which is a really bad look. As mentioned above, the AI art works best in some of the comic's more abstract images, especially when accompanied by some haunting prose. But even disregarding the AI art, the narrative side of the book still needed some work. The lettering wasn't cohesive and the language danced back and forth between rhyming verse and standard dialogue, which didn't work in practice. Overall, the book is a valiant attempt to create a darkly poetic, foreboding tale. However, some editorial oversight could have gone a long way.

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