I realized the other day I talked about the how my autograph copy of the True Blood: All Together Now is my prized Trubie possession, but I haven’t talked about my feelings on the comic book itself, so today I look to rectify that.

I could talk about how the storylines are interesting and give us scenarios that we’d never see on the show. I could talk about how the dialogue feels true to the characters and how there’s some particularly snappy little scenes (especially with Pam) but I feel like there’s no point in doing so for one very glaring reason: the art.

There are just so many things wrong with the art and I could up a dozen pages that have problems to demonstrate why I have problems with it, but I ultimately chose this panel because I think it shows all the problems neatly. Does that look like Sam to you? If he wasn’t standing behind the bar and if Tara didn’t say “Thanks, Sam” would you have been able to figure that out? And look at Lafayette! Even without the odd emphasis on the lips, the shading on his neck doesn’t quite work and makes his head look weird. Tara and Sookie are somewhat recognizable here, though there are plenty of places where it can be incredibly difficult to tell Sookie and Pam apart. I also have some gripes with the lettering (and that odd sound effect) but they really do pale in comparison to the character models.

It’s clear that the artists were given a mandate the the characters had to look like the actors on the show (each issue usually has a cover variant that uses a still from the show with the actor on it) but that the artists still wanted to create a unique look for the series. This is definitely an instance where going for a stylized look worked against them. When you sit there and try to read the comic but constantly have to stop and remind yourself whose talking you lose all sense of immersion, it’s a distraction and not a pleasant one.

Personally speaking, when I read comics art is a big deal for me because for me a good part of the point of reading a comic is to enjoy the art. I can (and do) read comics whose style may not be to my taste, but in those cases the art still has to work and the story has to be strong enough for me to overlook it. I also have to look whether the books are better than the titles already on my pull list at my current store. On average I buy around a dozen books a month, maybe more. And when I look at True Blood and I look at the other titles, it can’t compete.

But maybe art doesn’t bother you as it does me and you still want to give it a go. If you do, I strongly recommend checking out Amazon. You can buy a new copy of All Together Now for as little as $0.41 new or $0.01 used. You simply can’t beat $3.00 for a hardback. It’s definitely worth a look at that price.

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