Another FPI writer at Thought Bubble – another best 5 of the festival. This time it’s James Bacon…
This is exactly what comics need, some decent strong Science Fiction containing interesting characters, a clever story set up and inventive world creation. I loved Universal War One, and cannot wait for Hawken; Genesis, I like the genre and we do not have enough SF. The artwork on this comic is stunningly good and Hine does a superb job. They were both at Thought Bubble promoting the comic with Image and Zainab gave it a full review here.
Deserves to be in the top five for me. Apart from all the obvious positive connotations, publishing winners of a Northern Sequential Art Competition, published under the auspices of the convention, money going to charity etc, yet it is the actual product that makes it bloody brilliant. It is newspaper sized and contains some twenty one stories which cover a nice range of genres, and I must say some seriously fantastic contributors. My favourites were Elephentmen and Strontium Dog, by Richard Starkings and some pretty classy art by Boo Cook, Stephen Mooney’s Half Past Danger, Due Returns by Matthew Sherret and Kristina Baczynski, and Kate Beaton’s ‘Get me off this Freaking Moor’ which was hilarious. Yet Emma Vieceli, Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay made making these choices hard. I liked that some stories were allowed space, and I got a lot of good reads out of this single comic.
Celebrity Homes by Lydia Wysocki
A book of words and pictures about awesome houses and the legendary people who lived in them by Lydia Wysocki was another real find. This self published book has a wonderful selection of illustrations and writings all by the very talented Lydia Wysocki. First there is a focus on musicians, so The Band, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, then its writers, with William S Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. It’s wonderful I adore how Wysocki has tracked down the fourteen homes that George Orwell has lived in. Each home has a very fine line drawing of the building, and it is accurate and detailed, while obviously freehand. I liked that she includes a FAQ at the end of her book. There is even a preview available online.
The Arrival by Corey Brotherson, Jennie Gyllblad, Yomi Ayeni
From the Transmedia studio, that is Clockwork Watch (www.clockworkwatch.com), I found the graphic novel The Arrival which is set in India. The Arrival is refreshing in that it gives a particular non-colonial angle on steam punk, as Queen Victoria ends up finding and using an Indian kinetic engineer. The artwork by Jennie Gyllblad is delightful, with strong inked lines but very nice watercolour vivid colouring, Yomi Ayeni and Corey Brotherson give a really nice sense of place to the comic, it seems to have been well researched and also lacks the clumsy ignorance that one might fret about, in such a project. The Arrival was crowd-funded, but is just one of a variety of activities that is emanating from Clockwork Watch.
The Crimson Blade by Robert Curley and David O’Sullivan
The Crimson Blade a lovely historical adventure feeling to it. The comic is set in Ireland in 1778, a boy is orphaned but taken on by a wealthy aristocrat as his own. The youth grows into a decent young man who goes to Trinity College Dublin and is soon of a politically motivated mindset. As France revolts against the monarchy he is drawn with a friend to go and fight the good fight, and this is how we meet a character who later, I assume will become the Dublin hero, The Crimson Blade. Zorro meets Batman with some serious historical research here while O’Sullivan captures drama quite nicely and there is a good flow to the tight black and white line work.
Can I say, there were also 3 books on my ‘To get’ list that I failed to pick up, for various reasons, and I think it would be unfair not to mention them. Francis Bergèse’s Ghost Squadron, from the Buck Danny series, with this one set in Bosnia, Nowhere by Nate Bellegarde and Eric Stephenson staring a scientific super group where ‘Science is the new Rock n Roll’ from Image and there was a limited edition variant, just for the con, and Bryan Talbot’s latest Grandville book, Bete Noir.