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Review by James W. Powell

F-Stop Review: Cover Image

Antony Johnston
Matthew Loux
Marshall Dillon

Oni Press
Softcover Original
Publish Date
May 18, 2005
Cover Price
When I think of a romantic comedy, I think of being stuck on the couch watching Julia Roberts or Hugh Grant make fools of themselves in the name of love. Because of this, I’ve always felt there was really nowhere new to take the genre. But after reading F-Stop, I might have to change my tune.

Written by Antony Johnston (Three Days in Europe, Long Haul), F-Stop follows the unlikely exploits of Nick, a struggling photographer who is introduced to a spunky supermodel under false pretenses. Naturally, Nick not only falls in love with the gorgeous Chantel (the romance), but he also gets swept into the limelight and must deal with accidentally becoming the smash sensation in the world of fashion photography (the humor).

While F-Stop doesn’t divert too far from the typical outline for a romantic comedy — boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy grows in some way, boy tries to get girl back — Johnston does manage to keep it fresh. He does this in two ways which seem to be conflicting, but turn out to mesh very well.

First, Johnston grounds the lead character in reality. Nick’s in a rut and bills are due. And just like the rest of us, his friends cheer him up by laughing at/with him. And the way Nick meets Chantel is classic. Any guy who’s gone to the bar with college buddies knows this scene is taken straight from reality.

Second, the situations Nick is thrust into get more and more outlandish. The events portrayed in F-Stop are pretty far fetched, but that’s where the fun lies. Watching Nick dig himself further into a hole is rather entertaining.

Like many comedies, however, F-Stop does fall into the trap of going on a little longer then it should. Nick’s rise and fall goes on one or two scenes too long, which takes some of the kick out of the climax. The end does wrap up a little too nicely, but it feels right for a feel good romantic comedy.

On a side note, for those out in the audience who are trying to get a female acquaintance interested in reading graphic novels or comic books, F-Stop could fit the bill nicely. Not only are the relationship themes something many women can relate to, but it’s also told in a clear, concise way that should help new readers understand how to read books from panel to panel.

F-Stop Review: Interior ImageAt first glance, Matthew Loux’s artistic style may appear overly simplistic or cartoony. Yet while his characters may have exaggerated features, it’s a style that seems as if it were made for this story and none other. The amplified facial gestures and body movements add just the right balance between emotion and humor, which goes hand in hand with the thematic elements of the plot.

There’s a strong sense of style in Loux’s images. The bold lines. The extended torsos. The contorted forms. It certainly isn’t realistic, but it’s perfect representation of the fashion industry. In other words, it just feels right. The moment I stepped into this story, I felt a part of this high-glamour lifestyle. There’s really nothing more you can ask for.

Final Words

F-Stop is a solid romantic comedy that many should be able to relate to. Johnston’s story features some unbelievable moments that are grounded in reality at the same time. Loux’s artistic style is a breath of fresh air and is perfect for this type of story. All in all, it’s a great book that shouldn’t be overlooked.


James has written for such fine web sites as DVDtalk, Broken Frontier, and Paperback Reader. He lives in Denver with his lovely wife and two cats who wake him up at 3 a.m.
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