Comic Review – Ill Conceived

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Writer: T.J. May | Artist: Shelton Bryant
Publisher: Summ Publications

It takes a lot of guts to publish a comic with a name that could so easily backfire on the creators as Ill Conceived. I mean, if the comic is terrible, you’re screwed, because the jokes just write themselves.

So it’s lucky for creators T.J. May and Shelton Bryant that Ill Conceived doesn’t suck. However, it’s not a breakthrough, either.

Ill Conceived tells the story of an infertile woman who chooses to help an alien invasion in order to get the child she so desperately wants. It’s a strong idea, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

The writing is jumbled, the dialogue chunky, and the characters not well-defined. At least one character who doesn’t seem to have appeared before is treated as if we’ve seen her previously.

It may be that she did appear and I just couldn’t recognize her because of the art. The art is an unusual, interesting pencil-shaded style that obscures almost everything in each scene. This style makes for a dreamy presentation which should aid a horror comic. Unfortunately, it doesn’t play well in Ill Conceived.

Maybe that’s because the style is used for the whole comic, rather than just the horrific scenes. If a straight style were used for normal scenes with the shaded style employed to highlight the scenes of horror, the contrast between the events in the characters’ lives would be more stark and effective. But as it is, all the scenes have the same pitch.

Bryant’s art, which looks as if it may not have been inked, is different enough that it would be great to see him develop it further. He has promise.

But his style also makes the characters hard to make out: the main character sometimes looks like a black woman, sometimes like a white woman. Many other characters can’t be clearly seen at all.

May and Bryant should feel good about themselves for putting out a professional-looking comic. That’s more than most aspiring comic creators ever do. But both need to work more on developing their respective crafts.

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