I had no illusions of quality or even basic competence as I began to read FAME: Taylor Swift. I’ve read too many comics by Bluewater Productions to expect anything but the worst. What else could one expect from a publishing company that has no editors or – at the very least – does not credit them in their books? (Perhaps the editors of Bluewater Productions have pulled a collective Alan Smithe and refused credit for their work?) In any case, Bluewater Productions has a reputation for dirty-dealing with freelancers and for hiring anyone willing to draw in exchange for a “professional” credit. Note the quotes around the word professional and that I am using a definition of the word so loosely as to be inappropriate.
In my previous review of the FAME: The Cast of Glee (unauthorized) biography comic, I said that the artwork looked as if it had been created by taking photos from a Google Image search and running them several times through a Photoshop filter, or had been traced over a printed photograph. Judging by other reviews I’ve read, I am not alone in this assessment and this is a frequent complaint regarding other Bluewater Productions illustrated biographies. Thankfully, I can make no such accusation regarding the artwork of Erick Adrian Marquez. Traced images or Photoshopped pictures would look far better.
Marquez’s penciling is, in a word, awful. There is no craft, no character and no design at all in Marquez’s scribbling. The people depicted are all misshapen and deformed. There are whole panels of this comic that appear to have gone uninked, save for a black outline around the individual characters. This outline, it should be noted, appears to have been applied with either a Crayola black marker or the largest paintbrush setting in MS Paint. To describe the artwork in this book as amateurish would be to insult every amateur artist in the world. Indeed, to call the graphics in this book artwork may be an insult to Art itself. For that, I apologize.
The script for this book was written by C.W. Cooke and P.R. McCormack – the same team behind The Cast of Glee (unauthorized). I mention this only so that I can relate that I discovered – while confirming that the same team wrote both books –that McCormack’s last name is misspelled on the title page of the Glee comic. As in that book, there are numerous other spelling errors and tense-troubles in the language of FAME: Taylor Swift, along with several awkward, run-on sentences. (“She became a member of a kid’s comedy group where her comedy blossomed and shined through, something the world would get to see later on when she hosts Saturday Night Live.”)
FAME: Taylor Swift has no place in any quality library collection. The artwork transcends mere putridness to become something truly anathema. The script, while teaching me far more about Taylor Swift’s life than I ever wanted to know, is rife with grammatical mistakes and I keep wanting to pull out a red marker to start making corrections. If you must have a Taylor Swift biography for your collection, please, find something else.
FAME: Taylor Swift
by CW Cooke, PR McCormack
Art by Erick Adrian Marquez
Bluewater Productions, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: All Ages