Check it out!
Check it out!
Check it out!
Flint has decided to take the plunge into the world of crowdfunding comics. Rossy writes, Flint draws and Mr. Burdis ‘edits’. More information will be revealed the closer we get to the launch date. Take a quick looksee…
Published by Dark & Golden Books
Review by Luke Williams
Kevin O’Neill is a legend of British comics, his idiosyncratic, anarchic art style harking back to classic British humour comic artists like Ken Reid and MAD magazine contributors like Jack Davis and Bill Elder but with a hard sci fi edge. He is legendary for being “banned” by the Comics Code Authority (ask your parents) for his contribution to a “Green Lantern” strip written by Alan Moore, possibly even more noteworthy for being a controversy not instigated by Moore.
At the start of his career, O’Neill took various jobs, including design work for film magazines and comics, and to help raise his profile, worked on fanzines and self published comics.
Mek Memoirs is a reproduction of one of King Kevin’s earliest comic projects. Stuck in the dead end of IPC humour department, Kevin needed to find an outlet for his passions, the work that he really wanted to create.
Writer Chris Lowder, aka Jack Adrian famed of early 2000AD and Starlord amongst other work, and Kevin put together this first episode of what was going to be a reportage style future robot war story. It has a surprising amount of salty language, pitching this towards the more “adult” market and perhaps where both creators saw the future of comics, or at least what that future should involve.
Stylistically, it is unmistakeably Kevin O’Neill, the textures of his early work have a touch of Ron Turner about them, but you can’t hide that imagination. The robots featured are grand and bizarre designs, and the human characters belie that humour comics influence. This is the seed that would grow into classics such as Ro Busters, ABC Warriors, , Nemesis the Warlock his design of Walter The Wobot and this writer’s personal favourite, Metalzoic .
Thankfully, reports of his retirement following the end of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen were exaggerated and he’s working on a strip for this year’s Battle Action special, written by Garth Ennis.
Mek Memoirs is a “slight” volume. It’s unbound , has 8 pages of strip with another 4 pages of editorial and commentary from O’Neill and a new cover on top. For £8 plus postage that’s a little pricey. But it is a reproduction of O’Neill’s earliest work; a historical document for us Kevin O’Neill stalkers and a nice companion to the Cosmic Comics volume published by Hibernia and Gosh, reissued last year with added content.
It’s worth hunting out to see the earliest work of a true original.
By Peter Milligan, Brett Ewins, Steve Dillon and Tom Ziuko
Skreemer is an oft overlooked collaboration between old mates, Peter Milligan, Brett Ewins and Steve Dillon. An odd fit for DC and a series you couldn’t imagine them taking a punt on now, it was Vertigo before there was Vertigo, later reprinted in TPB form under that sadly now defunct imprint. It’s an unusual strip which could easily fit in 2000AD now and is here by dint that 3 parts of its creative were working on lots for “The Galaxy’s Greatest” at roughly the same time as it was published.
Skreemer is an unusual mix of near future dystopia and gangsters, or perhaps to paraphrase Ewins’ from his introduction a sci fi “Long Good Friday”. Veto Skreemer is an orphan who is brought up in an America where gangs now run the country following some unexplained cataclysm. Skreemer rises to head one of these gangs, but throughout his life has had visions of his own doomed future, a future he tries to escape via a long term grand plan. The story is told by a mysterious narrator, jumping back and fore in Veto’s life and how it parallels and intersects with the narrator’s own family history.
In the introduction to the collection Ewins’ cites James Joyce as an influence on both himself and Peter Milligan , the latter revisiting Joyce in later works such as “Shade, The Changing Man”. In places Skreemer is horrifying and often brutal, this is a very grim book. Reader sympathies lie with the narrator and his family, but weirdly and despite being a psychopath, Veto himself is also a strangely sympathetic character; possibly because he sees himself as being so helpless and beholden to a future only he can see.
The Ewins / Dillon art team is an odd mix, they had previously worked together on a one off Bad Company called “Simply”. There are pages which look like Ewins has been inked or even finished by Dillon, whereas other pages were all Dillon and then vice versa. Ewins’ pop art sensibilities soon blend seamlessly with Dillon’s square jawed realism. Tom Ziuko’s colours are suitably sombre if a little on the muddy side.
A quick search on the internet reveals It can be picked up quite cheaply as a trade. A forgotten gem of a book.
Firmly in the “Not 2000AD, but by dint of theme and creators could definitely fit in”, Luke checks out the first volume of post apocalyptic actioner V2A : The Wasteland Chronicles
Pat Mills, Tony Skinner, Kevin O’Neill, Trevor Goring, Dan Schafer and Digital Chameleon
Published by Roger Corman’s Cosmic Comics
Review by Luke Williams