Mathew J Pallets' Stir Fried Product is a comic magazine consisting of three separate stories; The new dope, a kind of Star Wars esque spoof comic; The Kawakiri which seems totally original in concept; and the Phantom Syndrome, a sort of mish mash that lands somewhere in between Naruto, and Comic Party.
To sum up, New Dope, seems to be based very much on the first few scenes in the Original Star Wars movie, although the characters themselves hardly act or resemble the original Star Wars, if anything the Old desert man looks more like Dooku than Obi Wan. There are also minor differences in most of the events portrayed, but there is still enough Star Wars in there to stand out. It's obviously a spoof, although not as unoriginal as Space Balls.
The Kawakiri starts with some guys getting shot, and afterwards a guy in a stereotypical fascist uniform, tries to take over the government. Meanwhile some bloke in a lab coat is sneaking around trying to get to a plane.
The Phantom Syndrome is seems to have some elements I've seen before in manga, notably ninjas' but also people drawing comics; which lead to me likening it with Naruto and comic party. There is a phantom in it though, which seems to come from a damaged mannequin which one of the characters was messing around with earlier.
Art & Design
Mathew's artwork has a nice neat and quite distinctive take on the manga look. On the whole most aspects of the artwork is very good, there are however some bad bits of anatomy occasionally, generally the hands. The line art could also use some variation.
There are obvious influences from American style comics in there too; most notably the generous use of plain black backgrounds and the non existent use of screen tone in New Dope, although it's used quite a bit in the other stories.
On the whole things look pretty good art wise.
It's the storytelling itself that lets the magazine down a bit. Let me explain why.
The frame layouts themselves are fine; it's what's in the frames.
In ever single story without fail, there are frames which seem to jump too far ahead of the previous ones, meaning I get a sense of "have I just missed something. I then get confused; I look back and wonder how I got from A to B. Or in other cases there is not enough information for me to decide what happened. Like who the skeleton guy is in Kawakiri; or how the Man from the desert manages to kill the barkeeper. He doesn't look to be holding a weapon. You can however make out what's going on even without this information though; it just takes a lot longer for it to register. In Phantom Syndrome, there are some areas that I couldn't make sense of, like what happened to the guy who thinks he is a ninja at first I though he got stabbed through the head, but then I though he came back as a Zombie, but no it was a completely different character. I had to read it quite a few times to feel sure I knew what was happening.
Overall this is not a bad comic, the art is more than good enough in most cases, as good as most of the best people making UK manga today. Its weak spot from my point of view is the storytelling. With less cut out, and some things made a bit more obvious the comic would be as good to read as it to look at.
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF MATHEW J PALLETT.
Review by Wayne Hallows
All images and artwork are copyright of their respective owners, UKMANGAXL and all written reviews and are © Wayne Hallows 2006 - 2018