Friday, 29 September 2017

We believe as a result of a traumatic event in his past

Merrick the Sensational Elephantman (2015)
Chosen by me at thought Bubble, though I guess I should mention I know the sister of the artist, after all, as Jon Polito in the great Miller's Crossing is fond of saying - "It's all about ethics".

As you may see from the cover it is probably impossible to write a review of this book without mentioning the spirit of Mike Mignola.
I've always thought it strange that Mignola did not have a more obvious following of artists trying his idiosyncratic style, but that could be my ignorance showing, and maybe pulling it off is quite hard.
In either case kudos to Luke Parker who manages to capture that mood and tone very well, his face work is not quite as good, lacking some definition that keeps the characters from becoming iconic but the panel layouts feel pulpy in an interesting way and whilst it might not exactly have forged it's own unique voice at this point it feels on it's way to something special.
I saw the David Lynch film of Merrick's life many years ago but dont recall much detail, I have some concerns over choosing a real life figure to create a pulp-hero origin tale around but the first issue mostly plays it straight and it may be fascinating to learn what true events Tom Ward has constructed his narrative around.
An unusual comic, playing with some old tropes given a distinctive look.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Everything happened slowly and awkwardly

Nicholas & Edith (2014)
Chosen by me whilst at Thought Bubble.

A sad short story with some lovely art.
The painted style gives the whole thing a washed out, dreamy look that marries well with the fable-esque tale of selfishness coming back to haunt you. Or how you can let grief destroy you.
It's stinger may be obvious to anyone with a passing ghost story knowledge but it's effectively told, both charming and morose.

More work by Dan Berry can be found at

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

She does not know her place

Skies of Fire (2016)
Chosen by me at Thought Bubble. Because it has blimps. Blimps are cool

Achingly beautiful each panel is constructed with great care.
Unfortunately that is not always the case with the pages as a whole. Sometimes the flow of action is a little hard to decipher and the narrative logic of a panel placement does not always seem natural.
This is the first Thought Bubble book I've looked at that is not a complete story, and it is a bit of a slow burn, spending a few pages just delivering some coffee.
But, oh boy, it is pretty.
The story is not much in the first issue, a pirate, an undervalued Captain who does things their own way, a complacent military. But reasonably interesting in a sketched in way and some cool Alan Moore style back up material fleshing out the world.
Did I mention how gorgeous it was?

You can find details of the comic and it's creators at

Tuesday, 26 September 2017


The Fox (2015)
Another Thought Bubble purchase made on a whim from walking around the stalls.

A 'silent' comic. Being a comic with no dialogue (there is the odd sound effect here and there).
The story-telling is clear and concise with only one moment where it seems to lack confidence in it's visuals being enough and cheats a couple of speech bubbles (with an image and question mark inside) but otherwise is strong and interesting enough to sustain it's 30 or so pages without overly anthropomorphiseing  the lead creatures.
The art is very sweet even when dealing with the viciousness of nature and the story takes an unexpected turn in it's last act that manages to give a sense of conclusion to a slight tale.
Rather adorable.

You can find Joe Latham's work at

Monday, 25 September 2017

There are no right sounds. There are no wrong sounds.

Soundimals (2014)
Chosen by me from the fine selection of interesting creative types 
to be found at the UKs best comic convention Thought Bubble.

A rather charming book of simple illustrations of many animals and the onomatopoeic words we give to them in differing countries.
It begins as a straightforward whimsical delight aimed at children (there is even a reading comprehension quiz at the end) but there is an interesting sub-text (well it basically spells it out by the conclusion so hardly 'sub') of imparting that our differences as humans in various countries should not need to divide us and instead we can find joy in celebrating the ways we perceive the world. 

James Chapman's work can be found at

Oh wow, look at this sudden display of masculinity

The Feminist Superheroes vs The Meninists
Chosen by me at Thought Bubble by just wandering around 
and picking up things that caught my eye.

I find reviewing comics much harder than films. My critical faculties seem less sharp, I'm never sure how to talk about the art and writing as a piece together. This doubles down for small press stuff. 
So I dont really have much to say on this.
It's jokey on the nose title made me pick it up and it continues in that vein through the small 10 pages or so.
It's funny, filled with hot button issues and silly gags.
The art is simple but sometimes the crammed panel layout reduces the impact of a joke.
Still, a slight but fun comic.

You can find work by the creator here

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The 100% true story about the time I did (not) have a threesome

Let's Watch Gremlins (2016)
Chosen by me, picked up from Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival

Honestly I saw this cover and just had to buy it. Who doesn't want to watch Gremlins?
The answer may shock and surprise you.
I wanted to make a concerted effort to pick up some small press stuff from T-Bubs (as almost certainly no-one actually cool calls it). I havent been for years, but it was my favourite UK con. The atmosphere just felt a bit more refreshing from say the Bristol or Birmingham ones I had been too. But mostly my anxiety would get the better of me, and I'd always end up not going. 
This year a friend basically went "this is the coach, this is the hotel. Book it and come". So clearly I just need a social secretary. 

Gremlins (and especially Gremlins 2) is a favourite of mine. So that did the job of getting me to pick this up without knowing anything about it.
Of course the first panel had the dialogue "You hate Gremlins?!" given by someone to the author of the piece (it's an autobiographical tale). 
You would think this would not put them in my good books.
But the slim book is a charming, funny tale about how Joe Dante's masterpieces just keep getting in the way of a hookup with an attractive couple.
It is more of an anecdote than anything substantial, the person the tale is being told to is not named and has little depth but the coda still manages to be sweetly comedic.
There is a real sense of great comic timing, repeated panels are well used to sell the joke and an image of the attractive couple high-fiving is massively funny.

You can find Capitalette's work here