BlackAcre by Duffy Boudreau
13 January 2013
I’m always pleased when my friends do cool things, and so I am jazzed to report that the first two issues of Duffy Boudreau’s comic BlackAcre are now out from Image Comics.
I am enjoying BlackAcre a lot. It’s post-apolcalyptic speculative fiction that, true to the oldest traditions, asks What if questions and answers them through the choices of individual characters struggling in a world of brutal contrasts. It’s 2114, and the US is… pretty awful. The people in the walled city of BlackAcre live a secure — and highly controlled — life; outside the walls, it’s chaos, violence, and ruin, where small societies cling to (or slip over) the edge. The story thus far follows the characters of Hull (a BlackAcre soldier) and Lee (a girl surviving on the outside), and I can’t wait to see what threads Duffy spins and how he will weave them all together over the course of many issues. I particularly like that he’s doing a lot of efficient and interesting worldbuilding: this isn’t just about explosions (although there are!) and corporate conspiracy (although there is!) and quasi-religious social fanaticism (ditto). It’s not like a lot of comics I’ve read that skimp on backstory or character in order to get right to the fight scenes. BlackAcre has political points to make as well as a genre to explore.
It’s been fascinating to learn more from Duffy about the art and craft of creating comics. There are issues of structure: how should the panels flow in order to best pace the reading experience? How do you structure the sotry so that the reader is compelled to turn the page? There are writing constraints: you can only get so many words in one of those captions, you know? There are POV issues: what characters do we follow, and when are we “close in” to their experience versus seeing the action at the omniscient level? How do the writer and art team work together to develop the story within the each issue and build the overall arc of the longer story as well? Really interesting to me as a reader and as a writer to see how much all the individual choices matter — how much “story weight” each decision has to carry.
Next time you’re at the comic store, pick up an issue of BlackAcre. And connect with Duffy on Twitter @duffyboudreau.
Enjoy your day. Please, no apocalypse.