Last one of these reviews of this book as it’s obviously not 2000AD related.
Orlok was good enough to get stuck into it in his normal brutal style but as the review contains SERIOUS spoilers for the entire thing I’ve hidden it behind a link. More details on this book can be found HERE
Click the link below to check out the review… and big thanks to Orlok for taking the time to write this up
I like small press comics and don’t support them nearly as much as I should.
This is mainly as I live in Mordor and the highlight of my week was watching burly men (one of whom looked and dressed uncannily like Freddie Mercury) hurling axes at target. I shit you not.
The difference between small press and mainstream is like the difference between professional and amateur porn.
Sure, the professional stuff has the big hitters and high production values and looks all big and sexy but amateur stuff has much more enthusiasm and sometimes has the weird stuff that makes you sit up and take notice/ring the RSPCA. With that in mind I am much more forgiving on the amateur stuff as it is often where people cut their teeth before moving on to the big leagues. There’s a rawness here that appeals.
Not that I am accusing any of the people involved in this book of being involved in amateur scud films.
Except maybe Whittle. I mean she’s a Geordie and we all know they are morally corrupt to being with. There’s probably a filthy version of “When The Boat Comes In” out there somewhere.
So, with that unfounded character assassination out of the way let’s get to it.
Fairy Tales are interesting because they are considered as childish parables and yet they are often quite disturbing in their basis.
Hansel and Gretel is a terrifying tale of wayward kids who get lost through their own incompetence and stumble into a gingerbread house that they proceed to eat. They compound trespassing, freeloading and stealing with the murder of their hostess and swan theft.
And there was that Snow White lass who was kidnapped and gang banged by those midgets. That’s really no pleasant.
Also, was it the same Prince Charming who was nailing Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty? It’s like a fucking Jeremy Kyle special.
There is therefore a genuine darkness to build upon and exploit if left to a skilled exponent. Now, this isn’t exactly a bold move considering the current film and TV climate (which seems to be raiding every fairy tale out there) but definitely is a great opportunity for writers and artists to flex their creativity to bring us something we haven’t seen before.
Bloody loved it. There’s a superb use of the lights, branches and shadow to create the wolf head and Red Riding Hood looks suitable inscrutable. Is she the victim or is she the thing we need to fear?
Personally I’m terrified of anything in a red hood after Don’t Look Now so this did my bowels no favours.
Anyway, eye catching work that would make me pick this up and thumb through before being asked to leave unless I buy something.
The internal one off art pages were pretty evocative too. There’s lots of talent on show here.
Red Riding Hood
This opens with our heroine turning 18 and being promised a special gift. Yeah, I have something for you, Red…
Sorry…where was I?
Oh, the gift in question appears to be a hereditary one as it is revealed that instead of the grandmother being eaten by the wolf, she actually is the wolf. At the end the woodsman is aware of this bloodline curse and is going to free Red from it once and for all.
Scriptwise this reads just fine and the twist is one that I had not considered before however it doesn’t have a “bang” aspect to it that I would expect from an opener but it does give a hint at what is promised.
The art is very basic and the linework is too heavy for my tastes. The perspective too seemed a little off in one or two panels.
What was well done, however, is detail. Whether it was the cocked head as Red quizzically addresses her granny or the wall decoration, this stood out as an excellent aspect.
On a quibble note, the woodsman put his shirt on very quickly and had to be right outside to get in and do some chopping after hearing the scream.
Also, the eyes in the decapitated noggin appear to have moved post mortem.
The final panel was well done and it is not the first time that a bloody chopper has seen the end of someone’s fun.
Still, we’ve all had the “barber’s pole” at one time or another so we have to deal with it and move on.
A Time For Change
Teletubbies meets Kung Fu.
I’m not really a fan of scratchy style artwork and the story didn’t really go anywhere for me.
Essentially this seems to end with the giant in people’s memories only as a story. He gets this outcome through no choice of his own, but rather through his inaction.
It did remind me of the giant in Hellboy 2 but apart from that, where was the meat of the story?
The Madness Of The Sea
This had some great perspective and intelligent use of black and white to convey some genuine suspense and good effects.
The human shadow over the box as well as the changing writing on the McGuffin was all well realised and the ending (unlike the story before it) was open to interpretation.
Was he now in the box’s service? Was he out to protect people from it? What was the nature of this mania? Was it really just a crate of Stella Artois?
Not bad and it reinforces my understanding that gypsies are always harbingers of doom.
Ok, first off I didn’t like the lettering but the rest of the art and story wasn’t too bad. The little pixie shits up to no good on virtually every panel was an inspired touch which I liked. I especially like the imp whispering in the kids ear near the end so it looks like they have manipulated the whole thing from start to finish. I might try the “pixies made me do it” defence in court one day…
I like the way that the phantom woman’s death (and subsequently the death of one of the characters) was a direct result of a Dido CD. For that reason alone we should have them all burned in a giant wicker man with her at the centre.
Jenny (Greenteeth, I assume) was particularly well crafted and she could easily have stepped out of the Yates in Leeds.
I was dismayed by the asshats torching the car considering they are the middle of fucking nowhere but as they were thieving scrotes I couldn’t have cared less for their wellbeing.
The Lang Pack
That’s a Golem if ever I saw one.
The premise was actually quite creepy but it just didn’t seem to go anywhere.
At the end I was thinking I had just been watching Gosford Park as it was so bereft of point. Maybe I am missing something, I dunno.
The art is simple but the details smack of maturity and experience, especially in framing and poses. This was the best thing about the whole tale.
Blood And Sacrifice
Nazis. I hate them.
I sometimes stick Call Of Duty: World At War on so I can shoot thousands of them at the Reichstag before my ammo runs dry.
So, I thought I was going to like this and wasn’t that disappointed.
The Squarehead at the start was the only downside, looking and sounding like an Inglourious Basterds knock off.
The spirit of the green man getting stuck in after the old guy makes his blood sacrifice is excellent and it was intelligently thought out.
The art reminded me a little of Dave D’Antiquis’s stuff.
I loved the art, which was consistently good except the baby looking like the unholy offspring of Matt Lucas and Susan Boyle. I’d have got the knife on it too.
The blur on page 2 was particularly good and the whole thing had an otherworldly appearance. A bit like The Others, really.
As for the woman’s descent into madness and infanticide…had the kid been swapped? Is she going mad with the stress of it all? Will she blame it all on an American nanny?
Clever, clever stuff and the best of the bunch.
(Totally agree btw with Blood and Sacrifice a close second. So as someone with a story in the book can I just take this opportunity to call the creative team on both of these total bastards. Not that the artist on mine didnt knock it out of the park. Thank you – RMc)
The Black Shoes
Poor art that did nothing for the story, which itself was a largely pointless and had a lousy dénouement and unlikeable characters.
The Saw like ending I didn’t care for and it had me wondering why she didn’t just boot the demon in the nuts. I mean she walked home so there must be some measure of control.
Plus, her mum is already smashed up on the carpet so why is she bothered about removing them now?
Amber And The Egg
Being an old cynical bastard, I hate warm and fuzzy but this actually read well. I’m not sure it has a place here, though.
Even though the art is very simplistic it actually works but the whole thing was let down by the light and fluffy nature and the worrying climax.
If I came home one day after years of firing blanks and my missus had a baby she had “gotten from a magical egg” I’d be straight on the blower to the nearest Mental Health professional.