Bryan Hitch’s Ultimate Comics Studio, from Impact Press, is a 128 page book detailing Hitch’s artistic process in creating comic art. Now, immediately, the 128 page count is of mild interest to me. As a reader of Target Doctor Who novelisations at an early age as well as having a slight understanding of the printing process, I know that 128 pages is related to folds of a larger sheet of paper and there are cost implications in going over this count. I’d like to say that the limitation doesn’t affect the book, but I do feel that there are places that content is compromised by the constraint.
For the most part the book is well presented and attractive, but there are a couple of places where the typesetting and layout looks a little clumsy. The real problem, apart from the aforementioned brevity, is the lack of a decent proofreader or copy editor. There are words used incorrectly and factual inaccuracies that mar the book. These don’t really affect the main thrust of the work, but they are annoying and distract from the subject matter as well as detracting from the overall experience of reading it.
What subject matter there is is brilliant, with some pieces created specially for the tome, some rarities and some great examples. The problem is there doesn’t seem to be enough of anything. As good as the material presented is, as well thought out as some of the examples are, as revealing as it is to see the process, I want more. I want more examples, step by step walkthroughs and more comparison pieces. I can’t help but feel I got the summarised version of a truly great work. With a poor editor.