Great Beast To Close Doors in 2015

Great Beast Comics; the publisher which put out comics like Hitsville UK, House Party, and Winter’s Knight: Year One; have announced that they will be shutting down in 2015.

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Great Beast was created by Adam Cadwell and Marc Ellerby. 

In a post on their website, they cite this as a lack of time and resources to keep the company going. Both Cadwell and Ellerby make comics of their own in addition to running Great Beast, and the pressure of the latter held them off from doing the former. Ellerby actually stepped back from Great Beast earlier this year – as Thought Bubble he mentioned that he was frustrated not to have new books for people to buy at his table – so he can get more comics out in the new year.

Cadwell, whose own series Blood Blokes has slowed down release recently, has now decided to follow suit and close doors on the publisher too.

Marc and I started Great Beast in April 2012 as a place to self publish comics to a professional standard and create a home for fun, accessible comics for a wide age range. Over the last few years, Great Beast has gained a reputation as an exciting and innovative publisher of quality comics and I’m enormously proud of that and of all the books we’ve helped produce. I hope we’ve improved the perception of what self publishing can be and shown the appeal of fun, bold, original comics.

Great Beast was hugely helpful for the UK comics scene in general – the influence it wields will likely live on in a number of small-press publishers who’ve been set up in their wake. Having a publisher makes it easier for comic-makers to get press out to retailers and fans, and Great Beast were rather pioneering in the way they marketed themselves and got their books onto shelves across the company.

But they are leaving with an offer: a big discount on all comics bought through their online store. Head over and have a look!

Benjamin Read and Chris Wildgoose’s ‘Porcelain’ Heads to France Today, via Delcourt

The UK comic ‘Porcelain’ becomes ‘Porcelaine’ today, as the book sees a release in France by publishers Delcourt. Published by Improper Books over here, the book was a word-of-mouth success at conventions across the country since it first debuted as a preview, and has grown in whispers ever since.

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That the book was picked up by Delcourt – one of the biggest publishers in France – waswas a pretty big deal when first announced, as it marks significant interest from the French publishing industry in books created on this fine sceptered isle. They came to England specifically to scout the convention scene here, and I think picked up Porcelain after seeing it at Thought Bubble.

The first in a planned trilogy of books from the creative team of Benjamin Read and Chris Wildgoose, Porcelain was really well marketed as it reached release a few years back. I remember seeing copies of this from as far back as 2012, in various forms, as both writer and artist pressed preview copies of it into the hands of people at conventions all across the UK – it marks the fact that, if you’re industrious enough and are willing to take a hit on free issues, you really can make your book a success just through word of mouth. Only in comics.

Porcelain is a gothic fairytale of sorts – it’s about street urchins in a victorian-styled fantasy city, in essence. The lead character – called simply ‘Child’ encounters a magical household, and meets a porcelain maker whose work is enchanting and fantastical. She’s brought into the household and raised as if she were his daughter – the problem is, she’s a very curious girl, and there’s a door he’s told her never to go through…

The first part of a trilogy, part two is planned to release through Delacourt in 2015 – following the girl as she grows up past her initial fairytale, and into whatever stories might follow her next. You can see a teaser trailer from Delacourt for the French-language version below:

INTERVIEW: The Ladies of ‘Ladies Night’ on Death — and Prom!

Death! Prom! The two worst experiences an American can experience, likely in that order. The two horrors are also the focus on a new anthology from ‘Ladies Night’, however, featuring a collection of fearsome fables for gruesome girls. Edited by Megan Byrd, Lauren Burke, Caitlin Rosberg, Anissa Espinosa, and Wendi Freeman, the anthology features all kinds of writers and artists – making for a massively diverse and unexpected collection of tales, all featuring one or both of the two core themes.

But in fact, this isn’t just a collection of spooky stories told with grisly glee – the anthology marks the second successful crowdfunding project for Ladies Night, a comics collective formed only a few years ago by Hannah K. Chapman. Originally intended to form a book club where girls could gather to talk about comics together, demand grew so huge that the project expanded across multiple sites – and where the members were once happy to read comics together, the desire to start making comics began to grow.

And so Ladies Night the anthology was collected. With a successful first volume, themed around ‘Chicago’, already released, ‘Death & Prom‘ marks an expanded lineup of all-female creators, many of whom are being published here for the first time. But while this may be their first time in print – I doubt it’ll be their last. There’s some wickedly funny stuff in the volume, with everybody bringing a vivid new dynamic to what could’ve been a played-out genre.

It’s a huge project, in other words. And a huge project? Well, that deserves a HUGE interview! And so I spoke to editor-in-chief Megan Byrd about the project – but then found a cavalcade of chilling collaborators burst into the interview, as a whole bunch of the ladies involved broke in and joined the interview too! Read on to find out about the project, first from Megan, and then from a dozen of the creators involved!

 

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How did Ladies Night – the event – get started? What prompted you to set it up?

Megan Byrd: Hannah K. Chapman founded the monthly Ladies’ Night at Graham Crackers Comics in early 2012. I was a part-time employee of the store at the time and served as a moderator for the group discussion and acted as a general liaison between the group and the store. Since Hannah was studying in Chicago as an exchange student, she eventually had to return to her home in the UK, but myself and several other regular attendees have continued to keep up the monthly meetings and organize other events as well.

Have you found the events to be pretty immediately popular? Something I’ve seen a lot of online is that there are plenty of women who love comics – but there are fewer places where they can meet and interact with one another.

Megan Byrd: Our regular monthly meetings are always well attended and we have on average about 20 women join for discussion. We host larger events from time to time, such as holiday parties, launch parties, and other workshops specifically for the anthology, but those tend to be very loosely structured social gatherings.  I believe part of the appeal of our Ladies’ Night is the intimacy – everyone is encouraged to join the discussion, whether we are talking about a specific comic, genre, or upcoming event that we’re excited about. I think that the success of our group has shown the need for more events like this that give women, both new and familiar to the world of comics, a safe place to meet and enjoy comics together.

Ladies Night has really grown over the years, too – to the extent where earlier this year there was a whole event, ‘Comic Book Slumber Party’, which was a natural expansion of the Ladies Night concept. Is the goal for this to spread across the country, across the world, and become a known concept where women can talk about comics, sci-fi, all their interests in peace?

Megan Byrd: The founding and continued success of Comic Book Slumber Party belongs entirely to Hannah – she definitely has ambitious goals that may or may not involve world domination (in comics). As a member of the Valkyries, I see retailers starting Ladies’ Night events every month, whether they are book clubs, private events, or essentially micro-cons that cater to women. It seems like a very organic response that is locally motivated. I cannot speak for other organizers, but making the comic shop, and comics in general, more comfortable for women is definitely the larger goal for us.

These last few years, in particular, have felt like women have kicked out against the gender disparity in comics and started to bring us a bit of balance. Do you feel like there is a real progression being made right now?

Megan Byrd: Over the last decade as both a fan and retail employee, I’ve seen a huge shift in the way women are seen and treated in the comic book community. I believe women finding each other online has helped a lot. Reading sites like Comics Alliance and The Beat was a revelation for me as a fan because they both (at the time) had women as editor-in-chief. Reading an op-ed by Laura Hudson comparing sexist portrayals of women in comics and how that related to everyday sexism – that just blew my mind. Seeing yourself reflected in a community has an immeasurable effect, whether it’s in the characters within comics, the people creating them, or the people writing about them. That was huge for me personally, just reading about comics from a feminist perspective made me reconsider my role in comics and inspired me to become more active in the community.

The old saying “girls don’t read comics” is downright laughable at this moment in time, and I’m happy that I haven’t had to convince someone otherwise in at least a few years! Still, there are enough unfortunate headlines every few months regarding harassment or really backwards-thinking creators to remind us that there is still a long way to go in making the comics community as inclusive as possible.

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Art by Lisa Kwon

I think there’s this idea that women don’t make comics, simply because they don’t make the comics at DC/Marvel/Image. But there are SO MANY women in webcomics, self-publishing, working for themselves. Do you see that as being the next stage in reaching a more natural balance – in just pointing out that “comics” doesn’t just mean “mainstream” comics?

Megan Byrd: Plenty of readers are going to assume that not as many women create comics if they only read Marvel and DC – it’s no wonder they think Gail Simone is an outlier! You go to a small press convention or one with an international focus and your eyeballs tell you this is simply not the case. Besides broadening discussions about the different kinds of comics being created, I think it is still important to support and encourage more diverse hiring practices at the largest publishers. The impact Marvel and DC have in hiring a woman, an LGBTQ creator, or a person of color to write or draw their highly coveted properties goes a long way in dispelling myths about who creates comics. Visibility matters so much – just looking at the “featured guests” list of any major comic convention is a convincing argument for diversifying the creators working on high profile superhero titles.

How quickly into running Ladies Night did you find that the attendees had an interest in making comics themselves? At what point did you go from talking about culture to making stuff of your own and sharing it?

Megan Byrd: Almost immediately! I once again must stress Hannah’s pivotal role in this area as she is a creator herself and quickly formed relationships with other creators attending Ladies’ Night, forming our “dream team” of contributors and editors. Lauren Burke was a featured guest of one of our first Ladies’ Night events to discuss her work in Womanthology and as co-writer of the webcomic P.I. Jane; she has since been both a contributor and editor on both anthologies. Having someone with her experience self-publishing as one of our editors has been hugely helpful. Anissa Espinosa and Wendi Freeman, both local creators, also brought their expertise in self-publishing. Caitlin Rosberg and myself were relatively new to publishing comics but quickly applied our skills as writers and our passion for event organization to the business of creating comics. We’re all still learning along with many of our contributors, but everyone shares the same passion for comics.

This is now the second collection of stories from Ladies Night, so obviously there’s a lot of passion from the women involved. Was it harder to pick stories for this second volume? As editor, what was your process for pitching/accepting stories, and so on?

Megan Byrd: Anyone that met the submission deadlines was included in the anthology. Unlike a lot of open submission anthologies, we did not require creators to have a team ready, and no one was allowed to submit a comic as sole creator. Artists created a poster based on the book’s theme to showcase their style, and writers created a pitch for a story; the editors then paired up our creative teams. This way everyone, regardless of their skill level, was getting the same professional, collaborative comic making experience. Every team had an editor and artists were encouraged to letter their stories. We held workshops for writers, artists, and lettering, and editors worked closely with the teams throughout the creative process.

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Art by Rachel Simon

What inspired the theme, ‘Death and Prom’? Is it because prom is the one thing worse than death?

Megan Byrd: It was one of many suggestions tossed around during a drink and draw after our first anthology wrapped; it was that or space pirates!

How did the creative teams come together? Was everybody an attendee, or did you use the group to contact writers and artists outside of the immediate circle?

Megan Byrd: Our first volume was based on the theme of Chicago, which definitely appealed to local creators.

For both volumes, our initial call for submissions was sent to attendees of Ladies’ Night, and we also posted a call for submissions on our Facebook and Tumblr pages. For Death & Prom we have quite a few more creators from afar! Writers Shawnelle and Shawnee Gibbs are based in California, artist Ashley Ribblett is in the UK. Those are just a few of our most geographically far-flung creators.

Well then! Ladies, what are all your stories about? 

Ellen Linzer: “Death’s Corsage” is about a girl getting ready for prom when Death shows up at her door, telling her he’s here to collect. She begs him to at least her go to her prom, and he gives in, tagging along to make sure she doesn’t try to give him the slip.

And honestly the story just kind of materialized in my brain the second I heard the topic of the anthology’s second volume.

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Art by Ali Gator

Raven Moore: My story, “Night of the Living Mallory”, with Ali Gator, follows a girl on a triple prom date…with her best friend turned zombie and the zombie’s ex-boyfriend. Since the anthology’s theme was about prom and death, it wasn’t too hard to come up with a story featuring a zombie in the mix (date night with a twist – I guess). Also, the title came first before I really fleshed out the story and, ironically, the name Mallory means “unfortunate.” From there, the story just sort of flowed out from a few hours of brainstorming.

Ali Gator: The original idea that was pitched was about Chen going to the prom with her dead best friend’s date and having a rude awakening when Mallory showed up to reclaim her date. Which is a great idea that I was insanely excited to work on, but as we discussed it more (Myself, Megan Byrd our editor and Raven) it under went some important changes and the story became about friendship rather than a possible rivalry.

I actually got a little teary eyed reading the last page. It’s a great story that I was really happy to be a part of. Especially when Raven gave me a lot of free reign in color choices and prom dress design.

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Art by Monica Ras

Monica Ras: Death and prom! Haha, it’s essentially about a young woman who attends a school where the prom queens have all suffered from terrible deaths the night of prom due to a curse. Even though she has no interest in attending the dance, she suddenly becomes the frontrunner for queen, and she has to figure out a way to survive the night, lest she become yet another name added to the list of Prom Queen Deaths!

The process was pretty relaxed. Working with Lauren Burke was an absolute pleasure for sure! A lot of the work involved looking up a variety of prom dresses throughout the last few decades, which was definitely super interesting and fun to do. The styles have changed so much over the years. Otherwise the process was pretty straight-forward: read the script, design the characters, doodle some thumbnails, sketch out the pages, ink and color. It was definitely a heck of a learning process for me, so it was a lot fun.

Elizabeth Fogarty: ‘Paris is Burning’ about a teenager who has prophetic dreams about an unseen disaster at her upcoming prom. She draws and writes about her dreams in various journals. No one believes her including her own mother and she’s really not sure what to do about it.

As the artist I was able to give feedback to Amanda, the writer, about what worked and what didn’t.  I also was able to give her an idea of how her story is seen from the artistic side.  An artist basically has to draw what’s in someone else’s head.  It’s interesting because everyone interprets things differently. It can be quite a process, almost like solving a puzzle by having someone else tell you where to put the pieces.

Shawnee and Shawnelle Gibbs: Our story, “Good Mourning, Jacob” is about a young man obsessed with a funeral singer. As sisters, we have attended more funerals than we’d like to over the last few years, but in losing loved ones, you discover there’s a whole world at work behind the ceremony itself. Funeral homes are their own sort of world, the resident Clergymen giving the same sermons, the funeral singers set the same somber tone for the service, etc. Once you have confronted grief and realize that pretty much every one experiences death at some point, each funeral is a little less frightening than the last. Yet we wondered, what if someone’s grief set off an unhealthy preoccupation with funerals. Who would notice and why?

We were drawn to the story because unlike a lot of towns in America, where the old are the usual guests of honor at funeral homes, our native city, Oakland California, has been plagued with the deaths of the young–particularly young men via gun violence. We wanted to tell the story of a grieving young man who, after losing his brother prematurely, attends so many funerals that he’s become a staple at them. Through death, he’s ironically found love and a reason to live–and he’s found that in a funeral singer.

Ashley Ribblett: I worked on the art for ‘Good Mourning Jacob’. As said above – it’s a short story about a funeral singer and her not-so-secret admirer that seems to always show up when she’s performing.

I came into the project kind of at the 11th hour; the story’s original artist had to drop out and I was contacted by the lovely women of Ladies Night to see if I was able to pinch hit for them!

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Art by Sarah Benkin

Sarah Benkin: I was the artist on my story, “Daddy Issues, which is a heightened, tongue-in-cheek feel – a little comically over the top, which seemed to suit the fun, Tales-From-The-Crypt feel of the script by Wendi Freeman 

Caitlin Rosberg: The story I wrote (Die Cleaners) ended up coming about a bit on accident.  We got many more artists applying to contribute to this volume than writers, so several of our editors wound up contributing unexpectedly.  I’ve always been more interested in the “background characters” of stories, particularly comics (thus my love for people like Jim Gordon and Rhodey).

I’m more interested in the lives of the people making things work around the protagonists.  I’d also been listening to a lot of horror podcasts, and was struck by the idea of how horrible it would be to work in the dry cleaning place in a town like Nightvale or Buffy’s hometown of Sunnydale.  Thus, the story was born.

Has working on the anthology given you the taste for comic-making, now? Are you going to be working on more projects moving forward?

Ellen Linzer: I definitely caught the comic-making bug. I’ve wanted to create comics before this opportunity, and now I’ve participated in this anthology and can’t wait to produce more. Nothing solid in the works yet, but lots of ideas bouncing around in the ol’ noggin.

Raven Moore: I worked on two previous anthologies, the first Womanthology with Renee De LIz and the Ladies Night Chicago Anthology. I have to admit, comic writing is much harder for me than straight forward prose writing (which I normally do). Right now, I’m gearing up for a project with Outland Entertainment to create an interactive story book…due out sometime (hopefully) next year.

Ali Gator: I’ve always been really into comics, and while my actual art degree concentrated on printmaking, I used that medium to tell stories with my images, sometimes as actual comics, sometimes as series of works that had a narrative. But working on the anthology definitely gave me a better idea of what it was like to make a comic with someone else.

That was really exciting and fun and it’s something that I’m definitely interested in doing again in the future. Raven and Megan were great to work with and it was really great discussing ideas with them as women in comics and that’s something that I really want to search out in the future.

Monica Ras: It definitely has! I don’t have much on my plate at the moment (though I definitely aim to fix that!), but I do assist with inks for “Touching Evil”, a pretty phenomenal comic by Dan Dougherty (www.beardocomics.com) who I was actually introduced to via an LNA Workshop. I do intend on working on a few projects of my own when I get the chance, and am totally open to the idea of partnering up with folks as well. I’m pretty interested in whatever my future in comics may hold!

Elizabeth Fogarty: This is my second year working with the Anthology.  As long as we keep doing it, I will contribute.  I’m even thinking about contributing in other ways.  I am always open to new projects, but right now it is about time management between my day job and working on projects.

Shawnee and Shawnelle Gibbs: We have been writing for comics since 2012 but working on the anthology has definitely given us a new love for the anthology process and collaborating with other artists and women in a way we never have before. When we pitched our story to the editors of LNA and they found an incredible artist, Ashley Ribblett, who was interested in taking it on, we got the special feeling of community that is completely different from going it alone.

There’s something so satisfying about knowing that you’re sharing the same sun and moon with creative women working towards a common goal–creating great stories through comics–a medium we are often disenfranchised from in the commercial arena. From editors and letterers, ever woman took a piece of the job and the stories haven taken shape and life in a very short and wonderful period of time.

Ashley Ribblett: Comics are something I’ve always loved, but it was definitely an acquired taste making them. This was actually the first sequential comic work I’d ever done and definitely a challenge to say the least. A good challenge though. A very good, very rewarding challenge.

I’ve already wasted no time in working on another! Shortly after finishing GMJ I started work on another story for Outre` Press Xenophobia Anthology. I got to draw a lot of Frankenstein(‘s monster). I don’t know if you’ve ever drawn a Frankenstein but it’s crazy fun.

Sarah Benkin: I’m actually in the process of editing an anthology of my own! It’s called Then It Was Dark, and it’s a collection of personal paranormal experiences, true ghost stories and friend of a friend tales, and will contain the work of awesome female artists like Carey Pietsch, Elaine M. Will, Meg Gandy, Diana Nock, Molly Ostertag and more! It’ll be coming out February 2015.

Caitlin Rosberg: This is my second time editing the Anthology and I’ll definitely be sticking with that role.  I’m considering submitting my writing to a few other comic focused anthologies, but I really love the mentor/organizer role that editors take on and I will do it until Megan kicks me out.

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Where can we find you all, and your work, online?

Ellen Linzer: I have a blog where I talk about other people’s comics/media – comicdagger.com

Raven Moore: I’m a UX designer by trade, so I haven’t gotten around to posting much about my writing. But if you want to see what I’ve been up to in UX design, you can check out my site (and rarely updated blog) www.ravenmoore.com

Ali Gator: You can find my work on my website www.aligatorart.com which also has links to my twitter, tumblr and instagram. I’m always looking for more opportunities to collaborate and work on more comics and my email address can also be found on my website.

Let me know if you need anything else, I imagine you’ve got plenty of images but I believe I still have all the initial character design pages and possibly the base images if you want to include progress shots.

Monica Ras: You can find it all at gogomonimon.tumblr.com!

Elizabeth Fogarty: http://elizabethfogarty.tumblr.com/

Shawnee and Shawnelle Gibbs You can find our work online at http://www.gibbssisters.com and read our current science fiction comic, “Fashion Forward” athttp://www.gofashionforward.com

Sarah Benkin: http://peppermintmonster.tumblr.com/ is the best place to go for updates, sketches, current work and ramblings. I also have a website (http://peppermintmonster.com/) which links to my store where you can buy prints, books, posters and wood burnings! If you’re just interested in news about my upcoming anthology, go to http://thenitwasdark.tumblr.com

Ashley Ribblett: You can find me and most of my work on: aribblett.blogspot.com or my instagram @tentaclees

Or stop by ScribbleNerds.blogspot.com to see me and a bunch of my pals make art at each other for weekly themes!

Caitlin Rosberg: My work is kind of all over the place, but you can find links to a lot of it at my Tumblr, www.youruinedmychildhood.com, which is also packed with comic book things and feminist rants now and then.

Phew! Megan – what do you see as the next step, now? Are there plans for volume three at some point down the line, perhaps?

Megan Byrd: Volume three is definitely on the horizon! In addition to publishing, there are many things we’d like to do more of within the comic community. Tabling at more conventions, creating more publications like fan zines, and organizing more panels (we hosted our first panel at this year’s C2E2).

We want to continue to put ourselves out there so more women can see themselves in the comic community!

Isabel Greenberg’s New Book, ‘Dreadful Wind and Rain’, Is Coming in November

Over on her blog, Isabel Greenberg has soft-announced that her next comic will be published this November. Called ‘Dreadful Wind and Rain’, the book will be launched November 5th at Cecil Sharp House.

She’s shared two preview pages, which you can see below. Nothing else is known! Utter mystery abounds! Such mystery!

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So this is her follow-up from the multi-award winning ‘Encyclopedia of Early Earth’ where mythologies both real and invented intertwined. So far this looks to be playing things straight, although you never know. Here’s another page.

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I’ll get hold of a copy at Thought Bubble in late November, folks – and let you know all!

Alert! Dungeon Fun 3 Cover, Release Date Announced

Come gather round the keening bell, people of Midgard! Or however Thor likes to rally the troops. If you do happen to have a keening bell, I would suggest that you follow his advice, however, for news of high value has been revealed to the internet: Dungeon Fun 3 will be released at Thought Bubble this November, and the cover is thus:

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From Neil Slorance and Colin Bell, Dungeon Fun has been perhaps my favourite comic book of the last few years. They publish it through DoGooder Comics, with the first issue coming out last year and part two earlier in 2014. It’s the story of a girl called Fun Mudlifter, who happens upon a sword, nicks a shield, and heads out into the world of the monster dungeon in order to fight some creatures, bicker with cretins, and generally sass things up a whole load.

It’s really fun, brilliantly entertaining, and all kinds of other things. Now that you have gathered by the keening bell – ring it! Tell everybody else this news. Dungeon Fun returns in November!

Review: Blood Blokes #4 by Adam Cadwell

The story of a group of vampires living in modern-day Manchester, Blood Blokes is written and drawn by Adam Cadwell and published by Great Beast. This review is based on a physical copy I bought.

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“Contemporary vampires” isn’t a particularly new concept, having been played with by various generations over the years. Blood Blokes, for everything, doesn’t pretend like it’s revolutionising comics by bringing monsters to Manchester, and is all the better for it. Despite the foreboding cover, issue #4 is a pretty inviting issue, bringing you straight into the household where all the main vampires – amongst them new, just-turned vampire Vincent – live together. Well, not live, as they’re all dead. But you know what I mean.

In terms of tone, Blood Blokes plays in the same sort of world as something like ‘Being Human’. The series is unflinchingly realistic, and can flit to brutal at a moment’s notice – but for the most part, ‘realism’ means ‘naturalistic’. This isn’t about piling grit on the characters so much as it is about capturing everyday speech and putting it in the mouths of the most unlikely protagonists. Issue #4, for example, is consistently conversational in a light-hearted manner, as the characters discuss various day to day interests with one another. That these interests intermittently flick to things like ‘drinking blood’ and other vampire things, that provides an uncanny feeling which settles across each scene.

Cadwell largely decides to follow all the standard tropes of vampire stories – Anne Rice’s take on them seems to be the source for how they operate here – which means the book throws most exposition to one side, realising that readers don’t need it. This gives the book a stronger sense of pace than many other vampire comics have, and allows Cadwell to focus more on the characters than the mythos. With more space freed up for this, you start to really see how much he leans on visual storytelling to convey ideas and feelings across for the reader, at several points holding onto a small moment in time so you can see the subtle shifts in facial expression.

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This is perhaps the strongest art of Cadwell’s career thus far – granted, much of his work has been autobiographical and therefore composed on a daily basis, whereas Blood Blokes is a more composed piece drawn over a longer period of time – and you can sense that thought has gone into each page layout. He seems more interested in trying out things like two-page spreads here, and there are some really interesting choices for where he leaves a panel wordless. The above spread perhaps gives you a good glimpse of the sequences where he sets a mood, establishing Manchester before diving inside one of the buildings to explore it from the perspective of the characters.

It’s also a really funny issue, sharing out the jokes between script and art. The best scene is a wordless one, in fact, where a character throws something into the Manchester canal – hey, that’s what the canal is for, let’s face it – without a care in the world for what he’s doing. I read the first issue a while back, but there’s been a break for me since, and the characters felt fairly distinct from one another here. It certainly helps that one of them (the guy on the cover) has amazing hair.bloodblokes3

Of course, it also has to be noted that this is an issue which introduces a part of Manchester called ‘The Spire’, in what is almost certainly a clear tribute to this very site..

As with Being Human, the realism of the storytelling means that there isn’t a particular sense of tension or panic as of yet. Things roll along in a normal sort of manner until all of a sudden a crisis breaks out of nowhere, and the characters suddenly have to scramble and sort things out. That does make for a more unpredictable comic, and brings out the surprises at the most unlikely times – it also means the comic doesn’t have the regular flow of a single-issue piece. There isn’t a build up to the last page – there are instead ebbs and flows throughout the span of the issue.

It’s entertaining for that, though, and I think it’ll probably play out best once collected with all six issues together. It’s fun; a light-natured and then suddenly dark-hearted comic, mixing classic vampire mythology with the bluntness of modern-day life in t’North.

 

 

The Spire has an open submission policy, and accept review copies via the email address on the right. If you have a comic of your own you’d like to see reviewed on the site, please feel free to send it across – bear in mind that I’m going to give an honest opinion on the book, though! Reviews at The Spire can be up as well as down, etc etc.

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