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.