Saturday, 24 March 2018
Wednesday, 21 March 2018
By John Tucker.
‘My scalp was so smooth, I fell clean out of my mother while she did the weekly shopping!’
The Story - Essentially this is the story of one man and his male patterned baldness. This is no ordinary baldness and the story takes a surprising turn. Observe the extreme reactions he gets and the tests that are performed on him. Oh.... and the effect the moon has on his head....
The Review - This was a nice surprise. Sometimes you receive something that you hadn’t heard of before. Something a bit different. The works of John Tucker tick all those boxes, idiosyncratic and funny. Especially his most recent comic ‘Bald’.
This comic takes the everyday, the hum drum and (literally) turns them on their head. The baldness that we see all around us is taken one, then two, then a number of steps away from the ordinary and into the extraordinary. But all the time his characters, no matter how wacky their situations, manage to remain familiar and are people that you can relate to. Even while the main character is communicating with the moon through his bald head you sense a little of the suburban and a little of the kitchen sink drama. He could be a guy you see down the pub or work next to - except that his head is see-through and he has begun leading a strange Working Mans Club cult.
The panels are bold and bright and easily read. They combine simplistic iconic panels with a little dash here of colourful style.
Another favourite is Night Watch where a lighthouse worker spots villains dumping bags of pubic hair into the sea and takes violent revenge! (Yup, you read that right!)
This put a smile on my face during the morning commute. All of John’s comics are free to read at www.johntucker.co.uk When this book isreleased as a physical product I fully intend to purchase a copy.
John Tucker is a comics creator from Swansea. He is influenced by horror comics and TV series. Bald will be available shorty to buy and hold in your actual hands.
Many thanks for reading.
Monday, 19 March 2018
Created by Nir Levie.
Published by Markosia.
This is not a normal reading experience.
This summary of the plot is both true and misleading...
The Story - ‘Khalek is a teenage boy who lives in an underground city, the denizens of which manufacture their food from roots that penetrate downwards from above ground. When he discovers a disease inflicting their main food source a series of events leads to the merging of his mind with that of Laura - A vehicle designer from present day earth.
The population in Khalek's world are barred from visiting the planet's surface, which is controlled by A xenophobic race of humanoids. The Humanoids communicate amongst themselves non-verbally and are constantly moving from place to place, using their legs as their only means of transportation. Khalek and Laura's newly merged consciousness embarks on a journey to understand the interrelation of their respective worlds during which they find themselves attempting to communicate with the Humanoids in order to stop the disease decimating Khalek's world.
Mycelium Seep is a science fiction story that deals with questions arising from the implementation of new technology- Is it possible to curb the rise of technology when it seems to lead down a dangerous path? A critical stance is taken regarding transportation, focusing on personal motorized vehicles.’
The Review - ‘The themes of this book are many and complex. It does not in many ways make total sense to me and I love that it shakes it’s head as I search for reasoning to explain what I have just read. As I read the whole book I can taste the themes of imprisonment and escape, of conforming and rebellion, of mental illness and paranoia, of the creeping flesh of a life lived long and ultimately of life and death both metaphorical and true.
‘I am a multidimensional being. I am a manifold of awareness. I am all their pasts, I am all their presents.’
A book that plays with my senses and on occasion my stomach. The story initially pulls you in to a straight and regimented world. You see a section of the ant farm of humanity counting each step and mile as they grind away their failing business. But then you reach beyond that ordinary and banal world to something underneath, something strangely disturbing. A nightmare world in pretty much every sense.
I posted a couple of images that I found sudden and weird and shocking on a facebook chat page I am a member of. A fellow artist Sara Dunkerton whose opinion I value said the following:
‘I’m both fascinated and horrified, intrigued and unsettled.’
This statement encapsulates my feelings for the whole book. It is on occasion not an easy read. It on occasion feels a little rough around the edges in a way that many underground comix should always feel. It has an unorthodox structure and flow that seems to take you places and return you without explanation.
I would argue that we never need that explanation. Especially in a comic like Mycelium Seep.
There is also a subversive satire to the story. We see the organised industrial world at odds with the lysergic craziness of the alien world. It shows us creatures that are disfigured but at once easily that mutated state that we will find ourselves one day with a torch at the bottom of this seeping hole. It plays with the abnormalities of sex and body horror in some exceptionally originally ways. I’ll be honest in saying that my head is still whirling from this fucked up reading experience.
It’s not perfect. I’m kind of glad that it isn’t. The story and art could do with some empirical changes. The art itself has moments of roughness and the words translated (the creator is from Israel) are on occasion a little stiff. But these are small quibbles.
125 pages of a comic that I did not understand fully.
125 pages of a comic that is gloriously unhinged.
125 pages that got me thinking.
What more do you want from a comic.
This comic is released by Markosia on the 9th of April 2018.
Find out more about this and other books at www.markosia.com or follow them on Twitter @Markosia
Nir Levie is a comics creator, artist and architect from Israaael. Find out more about him at www.nirlevie.com or follow him on Twitter @nirlevie
Many thanks for reading.
Saturday, 17 March 2018
Monday, 12 March 2018
Hollow Monsters - A Graphic Novel in Six Parts.
Created by Monty Nero.
The Story - This story deals with our lives as young people. The events of political and social upheaval that surround us as we mature, the relationships that we form, falling in love, being faced with the realities of life and a strange creature that may or may not have sinister motives....
The Review- I backed this book on Kickstarter and genuinely wasn’t sure what I would be getting. I’m not keen on previews but couldn’t but fail to notice the images of pages and the cover that were essential to the mood and narrative of this book.
I don’t think that any review of this book can be complete without the description of it’s very iconic cover. It has a touch of the modern, maybe the Banksy iconography of the couple kissing and that they are also surrounded by the whirling winds of their lives that contain little motifs of pop culture. A car that features is strikingly like James Bond’s underwater Lotus or a Rubik’s Cube mid completion. A representation of the historical events we see inside the comic.
‘So...who smashed up your go-kart...’
Monty has taken a very careful and distinctive stylistic approach to this book. The interiors feature multiple panel grids that in turn in each carefully selected frame feature the stories of the day. They show the news events of those days. War and strikes and glitzy stars of music and television. These pages act as a packed prologue before we get a title that tells us;
‘1982: The Year we Buried Ourselves.’
The period is established as the UK in the early 1980s and the narrative then focuses on the young boy growing up and finding out about the harsh realities of life. The family suffer a particularly horrid burglary and life all around is described through the growth to manhood of this young boy.
I felt at this point that I was reading something that was purely pseudo autobiographical. But Monty then throws a spanner in the works. He adds a little of the sinister, the magical, the disturbing, the fox in the story’s hen house. What will happen...
I won’t spoil too much because I think this is a comic that is well worth a look. Monty ran a very successful Kickstarter campaign and this book is just getting sent out now.
The art style has a certain photo realistic feel but seems stripped down to what is required for the panel. It jumps about a little in layouts but I can see that this is intentional to create that flavour of a suburban horror with an added documentary style. It’s not what you’ll find on the regular comic shelves and I am looking forward to seeing how it develops.
If you missed out on the campaign feel free to have a look at www.montynero.wordpress.com for more information. You can also find and follow him in the woods or on Twitter @montynero
The Kickstarter for issue 2 launches on the 20th of April.
Many thanks for reading.
Wednesday, 7 March 2018
The Times I Knew I was Gay.
By Eleanor Crewes.
Published by Good Comics.
This is not going to be an average review.
I usually take notes about a comic as I read. I have a terrible memory and I find that I remember the moments and story beats better this way. This time I didn’t.
I’ll be honest that I found writing a review a challenge in this case. For those that don’t know me I am a forty something man. I am heterosexual. I can’t draw a stick figure and I didn’t go to University. So this world that Eleanor describes are completely alien to me. The world I grew up in was a very different experience. The events, affairs, fashions and feelings are often unfamiliar to me, a man who grew up in a less diverse and altogether more judgemental period.
So as I read I purposely put my pen down and concentrated on what was in front of me and figuring out what the creator was really communicating.
But. I came away having learned a lot. I came away with an understanding of the life that Eleanor so cleverly describes and that of gay women in general. I also found this comic a hugely heart warming experience.
Suddenly I am struck by the feeling that I am walking on egg shells. I feel like some people might say that I am not allowed to describe my old grumpy bastard feelings about this comic. But I remind myself that the creator has made a comic for everyone. For those who feel the same way possibly as she does and for those who need to understand how others may feel. And that is me. And yes, I think I do understand a bit better.
Not fully understanding this lifestyle has not stopped me realising that this is a very well executed comic. It has smart and real dialogue. It has moments of really touching drama and moments of fun. (I’m not a hundred percent sure how Tinder works but that did make me laugh as Eleanor turned it off!)
The art has a sketchbook quality that seems to be done with a purpose stylistically. The time passes in the narrative with cunning as you jump along and occasionally back and forth in the creators life. She makes use of white stark backgrounds on a lot of the pages to emphasise the loneliness of the situation. The faces and movements of the characters are done with a smile that rises up off the page to the reader.
This is a highly recommended read.
Do you know what I am most proud of? I’m most proud that comics exist. And amongst these comics are books that will educate us. Like this one.
Nicely done Eleanor and nicely done Good Comics.
Find out more about this comic by heading to www.goodshop.bigcartel.com or follow them on Twitter @Goo_Comics
Tuesday, 6 March 2018
(Untitled) by Bob Turner.
An unconventional preview for an unconventional comic.
I’ve been following the artistic antics of Bob for a few years now and been lucky enough to chat to him at conventions and the like. He creates comics that are often wordless and whilst not what could be described as totally abstract they do deal with the strange and wonderful and often creepy worlds of his imagination.
This slice of gold dropped into my emails over the weekend. I put aside what I was reading to have a look. Bob described it to me in a brief message as ‘The creation myth that comes from the DTHRTL and FLD Universe’. This references his previous two releases that I had really enjoyed.
So, remembering that this is still a preview and not a post release review, how am I going to go about describing this comic?
Yes. It does in deed deal with a mythical creature that seems by interpretation to be from back in the mists of time. The time before the eye ball geezer and the figure of the Grim Reaper that pursue him in the marvellous DTHRTL. This is an all together different prospect of a story. It deals with what to my eye looks like a pre history demon, a head of a creature that looks like some archaeologist would find it’s design scratched into a gold coin or on the handle of a warriors axe. The archaeologist would hold it aloft to show his colleagues and suddenly be cursed.
But this head is conscious and weirdly active. It constructs itself and deconstructs itself as you turn the pages. It creates magic and beauty and violence through a number of transformative visual tricks. In a way I feel it exists and dances and has a sinister and at the same time quirkily funny being. I find it hypnotic to watch as I push my illuminated tablet screen back and forth.
It is also strangely haunting....
Bob has changed up his style slightly for this new book. He makes use of space and texture more than I have seen from him before. He uses colour as a narrative guide at moments and moves about on a white stark page to great effect.
Bob exists in this comics world in a space all on his own. A strange and often psychedelic space and one that I wholeheartedly recommend.
Find out more about this over at www.castlerockcomic.bigcartel.com or follow him on Twitter @castlerockcomic
Many thanks for reading.