A Darkness So Deep It's Crimson

Whoever said you can only survive 30 seconds in space was not taking into consideration human ingenuity. Augment your respiratory system and you can bump that up till someone rescues you outside the realm of probability. That's how this new web comic enters the world. Crimson Dark, by David C. Simon, is the first web comic to take advantage of the new advertising campaign and I couldn't have been happier. It's a science fiction graphic novel form strip which centers on the female character Commander Kari, a hero who has retired herself away from the front lines to patrol runs is just beginning to find out heroes are not so easily shelved.

The most phenomenal attribute of the strip is the artwork. When you start at the beginning it looks like any other 3D strip. I have to admit I was slightly disappointed when starting from the beginning. The colors are flat and even a little unnatural, just like those old superhero comics where colors were new and everyone was still trying to figure out there was more then three colors. The characters looked ungainly thin as if David were trying to copy Aeon Flux but failed to realize only Peter Chung can pull that off. This only applied to the prologue though. In chapter one you can see a clear metamorphosis of color, lighting and the overall look. About five pages in the colors start to blend much better and there is even some shading. In two more pages there is another close up of Kari that's so vastly different then the first few pages as be to almost two different artists.

From this page on everything improves. The proportions of the people look more realistic while all the time figuring out the real answer to making realistic 3D is not the color but the lighting. Just take a look at some of the more recent games such as Doom 3. It was so acclaimed for looking good when all it really did was figure out it's a lot easier to make things look real if there is less light. On the ninth page of chapter one you can really see the evolution in the lighting. The last three panels are easily the best rendered in the strip and they barely show anything more then silhouettes.

Looking past the artwork is the plot. I'll be the first one to admit that it reminds me quite a bit of firefly with the band of misfits running on the edge of space as pirates but the Kari character throws a whole wrench in that idea. She is not the hopeless person on the run but a full fledge law abiding hero. There is potential here in the obvious conflict between seemingly benevolent earth government protecting itself from an alien race and this crew of the converted warship Niobe. Those who know who Kari is are reluctant to tell her something about what they are doing while at the same time want to return her to safety and not cause any real trouble.

Being only 12 pages into chapter 2 it is definitely hard to see exactly where this story will take us. I look forward to reading more and seeing how far the artwork can evolve.

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3 thoughts on “A Darkness So Deep It's Crimson

  1. Thanks Daku, this is a very helpful and encouraging review. I’m glad that you like the artwork, it’s been a tremendous learning process so far and I hope it will continue to improve. As you may have gathered, I’m more than happy for CD to be compared to Firefly – in fact I can’t think of a greater honour 😀

    A minor correction: It’s not Earth versus aliens, it’s two human governments beyond the reach of Earth’s influence settling a centuries-old grudge. There are no aliens in Crimson Dark 🙂

  2. I must say that I agree with the post from Whedonesque in that I tend to avoid CG art because it's usually kind of clunky but, David C Simon pulled it off! Congratulations! Another reader just signed up.

  3. Another strip successfully added to the RSS pull-list, thanks to Digital Strips! Keep up the great work, David; I’m really interested to see the evolution of both the artwork and the storyline from week to week.

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