Reviewed by Steven Shipley, Chairman of the United Fanzine Organization And Owner of Budget Comics."CONVICT #1, from Larry DuCheny. The first U.F.O. publication from our newest member was in many ways quite impressive. Larry shows near genius in some places, like the cover and much of the panel sequence and layout. I even liked the all pencil graphics. This works because Larry's pencils are so tight and clean. But, on the other hand, there are some places for improvement. The storyline lost me about halfway through and I found myself looking back and re-reading pages to try to figure out what was going on. And, some of the production values were poor; like drawing on notebook paper and using the exact illustration more than once in the story. These things may seem picky, but they are a distraction from an otherwise excellent work. But this is Larry DuCheny's first effort and I'm pretty sure his second will be much improved. He is young and talented and will soon surpass the senior U.F.O. members in his creative endeavors."
This next review is from Rob Imes, creator and publisher of DitkoMania."CONVICT # 1 (Laurence DuCheny): This comic was rough, looking more like an ashcan or demo than a finished comic. It's probably not a good idea to write on the comic. My copy had my name written in pen on the front, then a personalized message from Larry on page 1, and later a penned note about one of the UFO Checklists inside being a place holder. I will sometimes print up a mock-up copy of an upcoming issue of DM on my home printer, with blank pages on some not-yet-done-ones, just to get a feel of what a finished issue will look like, and I go through with a pen and circle any typos, make notes to myself. etc. Convict # 1 reminded me of a mock-up copy, not the finished product. The faint pencil style artwork not being inked added to this impression. I wondered at first why the spine felt funny and then I saw that Larry had stapled the spine three times. A digest-size comic should only be stapled twice: once near the top and again near the bottom--not in the middle.
Another jarring thing I noticed as I began reading the comic was that some of it was being repeated throughout the issue. The side-view of James Douglas smoking appears on the cover, and again on page one inside, and again on page three. Another side-view, with his hand on his chin in a contemplative pose, appears on pages three and five. This makes it look like a cut and paste job, which is distracting unless it's being done deliberately in a humor strip like Doonesbury or Peanuts. For dramatic comics, it just looks like a short-cut to fill panels without having to draw more. Some of the drawings were very good (such as the aforementioned smoking of a cigarette, particularly in the positioning of the fingers), but others were less so (like the last two pages). The level of skill lacked a consistency that I would have expected, since (as I say) some panels looked great and some didn't. I would have been interested in reading an editorial introduction about how precisely this comic was produced, to explain to the reader what exactly he's looking at here. How much was drawn by the artist, and how much was manipulated by the computer? As for the storyline, it started out in an intriguingly dreamlike fashion (what with the nudity and general strangeness), but the last half with the gunfight was more conventional, less intriguing to me. Some of the content is perhaps more adult in nature than an all-ages sensibility of most UFO 'zines.
It looked like some of the panels were drawn on notebook paper because the lines were still visible. Also, the size of the lettering was inconsistent, sometimes large or small depending on the space available. But space shouldn't determine the size of the letters because in comics, the size of the lettering indicates sound. Letters that are big indicate loudness, small letters are quieter (like when a character mumbles something under their breath). With that in mind, it makes no sense for the lettering in Jame's thought balloon on page three, panel one, to be bigger than the actual spoken dialogue that follows. The comic's cover price of $2.95 seems a bit high. Does that price include the postage of mailing it? Larry's contact info does not appear in the issue, and I understand that he does not want his home address to be published. This may make it more difficult for some readers to contact Larry to obtain a copy of this issue. Anyway, we all have to start somewhere, and this is Larry's first UFO publication, so hopefully the next one will benefit from his experience with this one."
- Thank you all for your reviews! More to come in the near future. -"Keep publishing those comics!"