Taking the title a bit too seriously.

Stargazer Vol. 2

Von Allan Studio (2011)

WRITER/ARTIST: Von Allan
 
http://stargazer.vonallan.com

Interesting note: This came out a week before ComiXology reported it would be.

Stargazer continues the story of Marni, Elora, and Sophie. See my review of volume one for more. While this was originally announced as a three-volume graphic novel series (or not, see Von Allan’s reply in the comments section below), the most recent solicits say that this is actually the last volume, confirmed by the author in the comments of the first volume review. (Always cool to get the creators to comment in my reviews.) That’s too bad, for a few different reasons.

This volume continues where the previous one left off, as our heroines and their robot companion find a tower while still trying to escape from the unseen monster, who finally makes his appearance. While I won’t ruin the story for you guys, I can tell you that not all of our heroes will make it out, but will they make it home?

The art is still good. Von Allan creates a rather interesting world. The story was also well done and I enjoyed it, but not without a few minor nitpicks this round. We learn basically how this world works (think Magic Knights Rayearth) and I rather like the idea. However, I would like to have learned more about the strange aliens, the origin of the “artifacts”, who the “shadow” really was, and just what happened to the aforementioned aliens (unless this is their home reality). The girls find a bit more about them, but it only leads to more questions. Also, I kind of wanted a happy ending for everyone, since they’ve been written so well that I really care about them and wanted them to get the good ending, but that didn’t happen. I’d like to think that had the announced volume 3 occurred, at least some of these questions would have been answered. I have to admit the ending was slightly disappointing, but this is as a reader, not as a critic, and it’s only because I’ve become attached to these girls.

(I also like the continued addition of “behind the scenes” as to the creative process making the GNs.)

The story itself, however, wasn’t disappointing and I would still very much recommend these two GNs to anyone who asked about it. It’s worth picking up. Hopefully, Von Allan will make that third volume, or a sequel series that will tie up the loose ends and maybe even give that one character a better ending.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

3 responses »

  1. Von Allan says:

    Hey there,

    First, thanks for the review and I’m really glad to hear you enjoyed it. I did want to make a quick correction. You wrote, “While this was originally announced as a three-volume graphic novel series…” That’s actually not correct. It was never solicited as a three volume series. I had hopes to do three…and maybe four…and so on, but it was originally planned to have the first two come out and see what happens. I wrote the script for the first two before doing anything else and then set about drawing volume one. I had some hopes that certain questions could be tackled in future volumes, but the story was deliberately planned to be somewhat ambiguous and have some unanswered questions. Mainly because I think good fiction allows each reader to come to their own conclusions regarding what the answers are.

    I figured (correctly, as it turns out) that doing two was probably the most realistic and then I’d see where I stood. Sadly, the odds of doing a third one are pretty long now. This is a bigger discussion that’s too big to go into here, but the viability of indy publishing in the Direct Market is pretty tough. Never say never and all that, but at least for the short term that’s that.

    • I thought Comic Shop News had claimed it as a three-volume set, but I’ve long since thrown that issue out. (Too many periodicals around here as it is.) Thank you for the correction. I hope you do find some way to continue the world of Stargazer whether as a webcomic, through something like Indy Planet, or getting picked up by a larger distributor. It’s a good series and I’d like to see more from that continuity.

      (By the way, WordPress’ Zemanta service wants to make a connection to the city of Elora, Ontario. Was that an inspiration for her name?)

      • Von Allan says:

        I don’t have the Comic Shop News piece in front of me, but I think it was pretty much the same thing – hoping for three or more volumes but fully planning on two.

        It’s a tricky time in publishing right now. I actually have far better distribution than something like Indy Planet could ever offer. Diamond is carrying it along with major distributors like Ingram. Plus, on the library side of things, Follett and Brodart. Distribution isn’t a problem. What is a problem, a big one, is awareness. It’s always tough for small presses and indies and I’m no different, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m not frustrated. It’s very difficult to break through. That said, I knew it going in and it’s part of the challenge. It’s certainly been educational. What I’ve learned, I guess, is just to approach future publishing very carefully. The effort to write, draw and publish a project like this is immense and it has to be balanced with pesky details like sales and revenue. In other words, it hasn’t sold nearly as well as I would have hoped, especially in places like libraries (despite being well reviewed, but as I’ve learned, the “right” reviews (i.e: Library Journal, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, etc…) are the important ones and Stargazer hasn’t received those). All this means is that it’s time to move on. I’m proud of the two books and I stand by them very passionately, but continuing right now would not be a good idea for multiple reasons. I’m really glad to hear that you enjoyed them, though.

        Elora: In a round about way, yes! She’s actually named for the Elora Gorge very close by (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elora_Gorge).

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