REVIEW: FIRST BORN #1 Graphic Novel – Chris R. Notarile's New Live Action Sci-Fi Photo Comic

REVIEW: FIRST BORN #1 Graphic Novel – Chris R. Notarile's New Live Action Sci-Fi Photo Comic

From creator, writer and photographer Chris R. Notarile comes a new sci-fi / horror hybrid, which uses photographs rather than the typical comic book artwork. Click on to check out my review of First Born.

I know it’s been tried a number of times before but I’ve long thought that a comic book with live-action photography rather than traditional comic book art could make for a really intriguing looking book.  Chris R. Notarile must have had the same idea as he’s recently released the first issue of his sci-fi / horror story called First Born, currently available as an Amazon Kindle e-book.

“First Born was created out of my love for films like Starman, Alien, and The Terminator.” Notarile said.  “I really loved the idea of a horror film masquerading as a sci-fi adventure.  And with First Born, that was what I wanted to do.  I wanted to create a really sinister, relentless ‘slasher’ and just set her loose on earth.”

Notarile is certainly taking his inspiration from the right places but I fear he has borrowed from his heroes a bit too literally.  I mean… do these scenes look familiar?
 

I’m sure he has a few tricks up his sleeve in this story but with only having read the first issue, I don’t yet get a sense of what originality he may have in store for the rest of the story.  The entire issue is just 35 pages… including covers.  It essentially feels like the first 10-15 minutes of a movie.  Comic books and movies are two totally different mediums so it may be a bit unfair to compare the two but with the live-action photo artwork and the story-telling style employed, it somehow feels so much more appropriate.  The story just barely feels like it is getting started before the comic comes to an end.

The dialogue has a tendency to feel a bit unnatural.  I’m not talking about the words of a murderous alien who has just learned English.  It might make sense if her speech were odd.  I’m talking about the interactions between two lovers.  Some of the things they say to each other in their early scenes are downright cringe-worthy.

I think the real originality in the First Born’s first offering is the photo-artwork.  Overall the look is very interesting.  Notarile has done a really nice job creating interest in each panel with lighting and effects.  His cinematography background is apparent.  He is let down in a number of panels by his models overacting with their facial expressions.  The word balloons and sound effects also feel a little off.  Real life photos and cartoon words feel a bit odd, especially in what is attempting to be a very serious story.

I have to give credit to Chris R. Notarile.  He had a vision for his comic and the story he wanted to tell and he executed on that vision.  I hope he is able to complete his story.  I have a feeling that there are plenty of twists and turns to come, even if this first issue doesn’t really give us much of that.  I love the idea behind the comic’s artwork and would hope that Notarile could improve on some of the deficiencies shown here.  As issue #1 stands, though, I’m not sure there’s enough here for most readers to enjoy as a stand-alone piece.
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