Cover – Alan Nolan
Really nice ensemble piece for the front cover from Alan Nolan, strong design and a great logo/title from Mike Carroll (I never realised Mike was 16 feet tall and could fly, he could make a fortune cleaning windows). The back cover of a wasted Slaine is class and I couldn’t help but notice that the front and back covers both feature a man of Irish origin holding a drink, most atypical.
Really nice cover that plays to the strengths of the black and white format and… well hell, you can see it up there can’t you? Nice innit?
Should use this to make a quick note about the format of this comic. Being a 2000AD fanzine (is that a cool term? Am I offending anyone?) the obvious comparison to this is Zarjaz . Whereas Zarjaz has the nice glossy cover and is almost pocket size, this is black and white, A4 and feels fan produced whereas Zarjaz to me feels half way between fan and pro a lot of the time. But thats no slight against this as I really liked the underground feel of it and the oversize pages really show off the artwork.
Muties on the Bounty
Script – Matthew McLaughlin
Art & Letters – Bryan Coyle
A dark and moving work that extends the recent events surrounding Mega City 1 out into the wider world of Dredd. Matt McLaughlin does a fine job of weaving a tale of displacement and woe which echoes many current stories in our own reality. My only one gripe would be that I think some of the accent is a tad off but that’s probably more in the way I’m reading it. Bryan Coyle has done a lovely job on the artwork, brilliantly atmospheric exterior scenes and shadowy interiors. Great strip.
FOUR PAGES! I’m re-reading this to write the review and can’t believe the story I remembered in my head from this was told in only four pages. A really nice little companion piece to the recent Dredd arc and packs a real emotional punch. Impressive stuff with suitably moody artwork.
Strontium Dog interlude by Johnny McMonagle
Bwah-ha-ha-haaa! Johnny McMonagle, you da man. Made me laugh like a “feckin’ eejit”.
A one page, single panel funny which like the best comedy is surprisingly poignant.
Sinister Dexter – All Malone Again
Script – Dirk Van Dom
Art – David Blankley
Letters – David Withers
Nice. I’m a big fan of Sinister/Dexter so this was right up my street. Top job of taking us back into Finnegan’s past to the world of Generica when he was known as Malone (ace story!). Van Dom gets the dialogue just so and is ably assisted on crayon duties by David Blankly. More Sin/Dex on holiday please.
Is it bad if I say this is the Sinister Dexter story I’ve enjoyed the most ANYWHERE in the last few months? Not the biggest fan of the duo, but this was a fun tale which rattled along and I really enjoyed the art style. Now I just need someone to explain the “Magee” joke to me. No… seriously. Anyone?
Words – Richmond Clements
Art – Johnny McMonagle
A tasty little tale from the mighty pen of Richmond Clements (with a rather excellent illustration from Mr.McMonagle). I’ll freely admit to not having read any Harlem Heroes for donkey’s years but this was a cracker. Rich has a fine turn of phrase and this is a fair demonstration of his ability to create a sense of character and location. I can’t quite believe that a gentleman from the fair city of Belfast would need to have that many expletives deleted, I’d have thought it would have been far far more. Excellent story.
Oi! Who snuck real writing in my goddamn picture book? This isnt an Eagle annual from the 70s you know. That said, a nice bit of prose work from Mr Clements with a really nice plate illustration by McMonagle. Liked the bit of graphic design on the stories background as well.
Maeve the Many Armed – Grazing of the Dead
Script – Shaun Avery
Art – James Newell
Letters – Meanwhile TV
A twisty time travelling tale from the Doghouse. Pretty dour in tone but involving nonetheless, I had to reread several bits to fully follow the track of the story but that’s just me being a tad slow. Love the artwork’s sketch like qualities, nice work James, though there were a couple of panels which I really did have trouble deciphering what was being depicted. Smart ship design.
Two panels into this I was loving the art as I’m a huge fan of the old Rampaging Hulk magazine I used to get the UK version of as a kid. Seriously, go buy the “Essential” its awesome. Anyway, the style totally reminded me of that and I’m guessing the artist knows it too as one ship shown in the strip was totally swip…. I mean drawn in homage to that comic. Again, this is the kind of art you dont see in comics any more, or actually saw anywhere other than that old Hulk title, so seeing it in here was all kinds of cool. The one panel of the heroine riding her bike over a settlement is gorgeous and the alien designs are also very well done. I’ll admit the story lost me a little bit in places but overall I really enjoyed this.
Slough Feg – Coming of Phage
by David Withers
A cracking Slaine prequel featuring everybody’s favourite stinky demigod. David withers puts on a hell of a one man show with this strip and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The pivot point of the story when the neophyte Knut emerges from the stenchful grotto is done really well and the change from one half of the story to the next is superb. A worthy addition to the mythos of the warped one. well done sir.
Nice, nasty story with slightly cartoony art which weirdly really suits the strip. Slough Feg looks just as f***ed up as I remembered and I think the best compliment I can give this is that its really made me want to go back and re-read all the old Slaine strips featuring the character. A really well done prequel.
Overall a really enjoyable read and an impressive first issue. Any 2000AD fans should add this to their list of unofficial swag and here’s hoping future issues continue the high standards of the first.
To get your own copy of this mag, go over to the Hirbernia Comics website where you’ll find contact details and further information.
Theres a breakdown of the cover’s creation over on the 2000AD covers blog. Go check it out