Want to read some comics?

Remember Bristol Comic Expo? Seems like months ago already, back when the temperature was barely average for the time of year…. Anyhoo, I bought some comics while I was there, so here are a few thoughts and notions:

Butterfly Gate (Improper Books) – I had the chance to meet the Improper team during the day and in the infamous Ramada Bar; lovely people, incredibly passionate about what they do and committed to producing intelligent, beautiful comics. Butterfly Gate tells you a lot about them. It’s the first part of, I think, an 18-parter from writer Benjamin Read and artist Christian Wildgoose. It starts innocently enough, with two children chasing a butterfly in a garden, but before too long it gets all dark and twisted, just how I like ’em. Great characterisation, storytelling and ending, especially given that it’s a silent comic. Yep, no dialogue whatsoever. What starts off seeming like a gimmick actually turns into a strength as it draws you into Chris’s stunning line-work. Unputdownable. Find out more here.

Next up and somewhat different: Lou Scannon, by Kris Carter and Dan Harris. Kris was the colourist on Whispers, one of the stories in our Disconnected anthology, so I thought I’d see how else he’s been spending his time. I’m late to the party on Lou Scannon: there are three issues out, and I’m just starting on number one. But I’ll be catching up. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, space adventure with a good helping of ridiculousness. If part of me loves dark, twisted tales of misery, another part adores insane interstellar romps. Visit the Lou Scannon website.

Speaking of insane interstellar romps, no-one compiles space-time continuum anthologies of bonkertude like Owen Watts. His latest – Dr WTF!? 2012 – is packed full of goodies with a great editorial policy of keeping all the tales as short and sweet as possible. There are some real gems: I loved the concept and the artwork on David Frankum‘s Larger than Life; Dan Bell‘s purple-gorilla art in Lights Off and the psychedelic madness of James Feist‘s art in Nine Lives. Owen’s next venture, The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel, is due out next year and promises more of the same joyous indulgence in the bizarre. Visit the Dr WTF!? Facebook page.

Dan Bell made another appearance (and it was lovely to meet him) with his PT Barnum Presents Psircus, three stories in a connected universe written by Dan and drawn by him, Katja Lindblom and Iain Buchanan. Katja’s art in the story Kathy Isn’t Right is a macabre, nasty joy to behold, whilst Dan’s writing really comes into its own in The Pull (which will make you squirm).

Last but by no means least (in fact the most of the most): the glorious return of Sgt Mike Battle: The Greatest American Hero in Star Spangled Wars. As Stan Lee himself said: “Great job!” Just buy it. It’s only £2. Go on. Buy it. Page 16 (ish) has the best conversation between Storm Troopers that you’ll ever see.

So that’s it for now. When I finish the next batch, I’ll let you know what I thought!

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