This will likely be a short review, but it’s a short comic. And that’s the major setback that hurts Curse of the Thirteenth Baktun, by writer Marta Tanrikulu and artist Adrian Sibar: it’s just too short. There’s nothing inherently wrong with short stories, but I think there’s a problem with format here. If this comic is being sold – it’s available from DriveThruComics for 99 cents – then I think it needs to be packaged either as one tale in a collection of shorts, or extended into a more subtantial oneshot. As it currently stands, an 8-page document – only 5 of which are story, with the rest taken up with a cover, blurb and credits – is just too slight.
And even as a short story, Marta Tanrikulu’s narrative falls short. There’s nothing wrong with the story. Marta’s storytelling is sound, and seems to be grounded in a considerable degree of factual knowledge about Mayan history and theories of the supposed apocalypse which give the local experts and the archeologists an air of credibility. But it doesn’t really have that set-up/twist structure that a good short will typically be based on. It’s just stuff happening for a few pages, then it ends. Not that every comic needs a twist, but in short comics a punchline really helps establish a sense of purpose. With a longer narrative, and more time for characters to build up and the plot as it is to have impact, this wouldn’t have been an issue.
Adrian Sibar’s art is fine, with a nice, sketchy energy to it, but his flat-tone coloring is pretty poor, and detracts from much of the vibrancy of the visuals. But ever-dependable lettering bedrock E.T. Dollman is on hand to once again do his job without fault.
As a story, Curse of the Thirteenth Baktun works well enough, and is a nice showcase for all involved. But I think it would have been better served included in an anthology, or distributed for free on the creators’ website, rather than packaged as a traditional comic.
Curse of the Thirteenth Baktun is available to buy from DriveThruComics.