Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Wayne Osborne's FX at IDW: A Comic for All Ages

I first learned of FX over at the John Byrne Forum back in February 2007 (see thread). At the time, however, I did not know of it as FX. All I knew was that a fan, later revealed to be Wayne Osborne, had commissioned Byrne to draw an entire comicbook for him. An exciting prospect in and of itself to many of us at the forum.

In fact, more than a few of the regulars at the JBF felt a genuine anticipation for the project. We kept wondering; would this be made available in any way? Even published?

Throughout the project, Byrne posted occasional sneak peeks; the first one being this non-spoiler page in pencils:

I, for one, was not disappointed.

Eventually, the news came that Osborne had taken a so-called ashcan version of the comicbook to a comics convention, where he (not by any means surprisingly) had gained the interest of a few companies. It was IDW who ended up as the takers and not only would FX be released, it would be a six issue limited series by Osborne and Byrne. Spirits among us early fans in the making were high, I can tell you.

So, work began on FX the series (as opposed to the original commission that would be issue #1 in the series). As work progressed, the forum members were treated to more beautiful sneak peeks. All good. All mouth watering. All leaving at least yours truly wanting more, ever more.

When I eventually had the chance to read the b/w ash can version of what would become issue #1, I was more than delighted. I felt an almost giddy feeling that the project had been inducing me with since that first sneak peek. This first issue, even in b/w and in smaller format read as the comics I grew up on as a kid. And I mean that in the best sense of that phrase. It was ever so clear that this here was a comic which both adults and kids could enjoy, separately or together.

Soon (though hardly soon enough) the comics started hitting the market monthly. There was an annoying delay for me on account of being situated across the pond, so to speak. A delay which wasn't helped by the fact that my local comic shop didn't get a delivery for the second or third issue (memory fails me to the exact details). Since I didn't want to read the series out of sequence, I held out, waiting for the missing issue to turn up, and while it did do so eventually, it wasn't until around issue 5 or even 6. So, frustration and anticipation were both high... and I admit that I did take a few sneak peeks in the issues I had on hand while waiting.

I eventually got to read the rest of the issues though, and I absolutely loved them. The final issue, beautiful as it is, could well have been longer for my taste. There are some points in that issue where the story is moved along a little bit too quickly for my taste. As if Osborne wanted to put in a little bit more than he could fit in there and I can feel that I'd like to see some of that a bit more in depth. But in a day and age where decompressed storytelling makes you feel as if you rarely get much story at all for your entrance fare, well, this is almost a luxury complaint one might argue.

And now there is the TPB (see my review at Goodreads), with very nice cover art by A. J. Jothikumar (whom I think would make an excellent potential artist for some future FX mini-series). I bought this more or less right away when it was released, but I've had it on my shelf for quite some time... until this summer. The volume collects all of the six issues as well as some sketches and character designs by Byrne with comments by Osborne, and there is also an introductory "Cause & FX" page (the intended name for any future letter page), where Osborne presents his ideas behind the project, his inspirations, etc. And the series itself, as my review should make clear, certainly holds up well in this format too.

So what is the future of FX then? Well, word from writer-creator Osborne is there is a second mini-series planned. This time with artist Uko Smith on art duty. As to exactly when this will hit the market, I don't know, but I'll be sure to keep you posted when I do.

And I can still feel that giddy anticipation.

All images and artwork © Wayne Osborne. Published here with the kind permission of Wayne Osborne.

The JBF threads on FX (well most of them at the very least):
2007-02-26, Topic: Commission Drought
2007-04-10, Topic: W.O. Commission Status?
2007-07-17, Topic: FX (Wayne’s Comic) Preview
2007-08-15, Topic: FX is AWESOME!!!
2007-09-27, Topic: FX2 - SneekPeek
2007-11-03, Topic: FX3 - SneekPeek
2007-11-13, Topic: Wayne Osborne says "Merry Christmas!"
2007-12-02, Topic: FX4 - SneekPeek
2007-12-07, Topic: On Drawing FX
2007-12-22, Topic: Frickin’ cool (FX Cover 1)
2007-12-26, Topic: FX4 - Cover
2008-01-04, Topic: FX5 - Sneek Peek
2008-01-11, Topic: Another Glimpse at FX5
2008-01-28, Topic: FX5 Cover Peek
2008-03-18, Topic: FX #1 - in hand and loving it !!
2008-04-10, Topic: FX #2 - in hand and loving it
2008-05-14, Topic: FX #3 - in hand and lovin’ it
2008-06-06, Topic: fx #4 - in hand and lovin’ it
2008-07-01, Topic: FX #5 - in hand and lovin’ it
2008-08-07, Topic: FX # 6
2008-09-05, Topic: FX

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