Friday, 26 December 2014

Nothing Fits by Mary Tamblyn and Alex McCrone

My initial introduction to Nothing Fits came in the form of a particularly unimpressive Kickstarter video. Despite a well edited introduction montage and great atmospheric music, Mary Tamblyn and Alex McCrone were more dead than deadpan and mumbled their way through a script asking me for my hard earned cash. 'Put some effort in' I thought and half-heartedly clicked through to their online strips for a perfunctory glance.

Five minutes later I was back and pledged my financial support.

The comic that I had read was instantly appealing not to mention engaging, funny and smart. Underlying the strip's many virtues was an impressively snotty attitude. There was something brashly confident about the drawing and writing.

The opening pages introduced the scenario, characters and circumstance with admirable economy. There was nothing on those pages that did not need to be there; words and pictures complimented one another perfectly. This is perhaps reflective of Mary Tamblyn's (writer of Nothing Fits) background as an artist, born with the confidence that a picture can tell a thousand words but it must also be the result of a close creative relationship between writer and artist. Each seeking to support, rather than eclipse, the other.

If Nothing Fits reminds me of anything it is books from my 70s childhood, specifically the work of Joan Aiken, Diana Wynne Jones and Margaret Mahy, (the Godmother, the Materfamilias, of New Zealand fiction). On hand was the same feeling of mad, offhand invention, of imaginations that could be opened on a whim to gush dreams and drama. Hover cars, mummies, mad science labs, wizards, Egyptian gods, castles, snotty girlfriends, giant snakes, ghosts, strange rat people, formal gardens, foreboding forests, clones, magic portals and gods are all crammed together under one cover - but nothing feels out of place or forced.

Nothing Fits also shares with those grand dowagers an underlying tone which hints at the tragedy and disappointment of life. This nuisance is present throughout the whole comic, right up to the final illustration of the finished book, which provides an unexpected emotional punch to the gut as you saunter through the exit-simultaneously upending your readers perspective on the story you just finished.

The Wynne Jones/Mahy 70s connotations are reinforced by the art. Alex McCrone's scratchy pen and ink style brings to mind Pat Marriott and Quentin Blake, (with perhaps a touch of Tove Jansson). Giants of childrens illustration. What's strange about that is that I hated those guys when I was a kid (not Jansson!) and I love Alex's art. The pictures and storytelling in Nothing Fits have an effortless feel, as if it all just flows out from pen to page. I doubt this is true. What's on the page is probably the result of blood, sweat and tears. The product of a lifetime spent drawing.

Whatever. Alex McCrone's drawing chops are impressive.

Nothing Fits is a great collaboration between two equal, complimentary creators. The easy synthesis is reflected in the components that make up the whole. Monochrome colours wash over the inks in lovely gouache hues. From what I can tell they are painted, high-wire style, directly onto the page. That's pretty audacious. Look Ma, no hands! Makes me nervous just thinking about it. Equally as impressive, in an unassuming way, is the lettering. The font, created from the artists handwriting (I think), lends the dialogue an energy, underlying the scripts sass. No small accomplishment.

Nothing Fits started life as a web-comic. While you could quite happily experience it just on the page I'd recommend checking out the site where it all began. Along with the comments section banter there are some lovely Easter-eggs to be found in the attached process blog. Sketches, notes, additional mini-strips, fan art and asides give extra life to the main comic. It's from these features, viewed together and at a distance of a couple of years, that you feel the fission a web-comic like Nothing Fits can generate. There is the sense of things fermenting, of a community coming to life around a smart, beautiful strip devised by two young students from the arse end of the world. It's a heartening glimpse of the way the world is now, and the things that you can achieve with some pretty basic resources and a big imagination.

Nothing Fits can be brought here and read here.

Kelly Sheehan
Faction Comics + Earth's End

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Holocaust Rex Book Two by Wills and Kidd

First of all, I love Karl Wills, and have read and enjoyed his Princess Seppuku, and more recently, Holocaust Rex Book one, wearing a nasty little smirk on my face the whole time. Now, I suspect that grinning at Karl's peculiar sense of humour may label me a bit of a sick puppy, but I have a feeling that is exactly what the author was counting on.

Actually, I should say authors, plural, as although this book is drawn and formatted in Karl's usual style, Holocaust Rex 1 and 2 are both written jointly with Timothy Kidd. I'm not personally familiar with Tim's work (that is I wasn't, until I read this post by Kelly,) but regardless, the book retains Karl's distinctive wit.

The humour is not to everyone's taste. It won't make you laugh out loud, but it sure as hell makes you grin; largely because what you're reading would probably make your mother turn blue in horror, while decrying the "disgraceful" and "disgusting" state of comics. Because it IS shocking - it throws up casual, discomforting horror in a way that can only be described as gleeful.

What makes the violence particularly jarring is Karl's distinct drawing style; His bold black and white lines lay the foundation for a simple, cartoony look that suggest a far friendlier and old fashioned mes en scène than the one Tim and Karl have in mind. Even the quaint children's book sized 14x10 zine format helps to belie the gruesome tales within.

In addition, Wills makes great use of the increasingly "old school" comic book exclamations - communicating emotions in popping sweat beads, dizzy-spell squiggles and hovering thunder clouds, even as the characters suffer excruciating pain. I'm led to understand that these little squiggles have a proper name* in the comic world, but to me they're just another fantastic example of why comics as a medium are so powerful. Where else could a few dabs of ink give the effect of communicating painful dismemberment at the same time as providing cutesy comic relief?

Anyway, down to brass tacks. Holocaust Rex is set in medieval times, and where book one introduced us to our eponymous lead, this second book introduces two physicians, Hans and Enoch, and the town of Koch (how does one pronounce that name aloud, Karl? Tim?). And in fact Holocaust Rex barely makes an appearance in this issue, as the story veers off at right angles, in a way that strongly suggests that this series has a lot more in store than the usual brief Seppuku story. The physicians themselves are deplorable creatures and are employed on a journey through their beleaguered city, introducing us to a grizzly, horrid place, that one imagines would smell so gut-wrenchingly bad that a quick vomy would be a normal part of one's daily constitutional. Filth, plague and the medieval setting makes for a winningly gory combination, and one that the reader senses the authors are reveling in.

And Tim and Karl stop at nothing - witch burning, dissection, rancid corpses, facial fungus and whores selling their wares while vomiting up their innards. But although grotesque, it is more than just the juxtapositions which gives Holocaust Rex its comic relief.

For me, the arms-length distance with which the authors keep their characters gives the books a delightfully misanthropic feel. You are invited to observe humanity with an almost scientific detachment, in all our sadistic, inhuman horror, while at the same time actually seeing the real humour in that horror. Pulling off that little trick is both discomforting and wonderful, and no mean achievement. I can think of few authors who have done this as convincingly.

Finally, Holocaust Rex evokes a real sense of mystery. For all it's distance, the story really drew me in with its slick, solid beat, as in only a few pages, and with an efficient and choppy pace, it alluded to a much larger canvas. While I loved Karl's short previous works, the thought of something longer makes my mouth water.

 In short, Holocaust Rex makes for a winning combination. Great art, great storytelling and a wicked sense of humour. It is not a series for the romantically inclined, or soft-hearted, but for the rest of us sorry bastards it makes for one brilliant wee comic.

Just don't let your mother catch you reading it.  

Get Holocaust Rex here.

Amie Maxwell Faction co-editor  

* I looked this up - brilliant!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Western Park by Timothy Kidd

The Great New Zealand Comic is currently a work in progress.

The comic in question is being constructed 24/7 in the head of creator Timothy Kidd. It is a hydra headed beast, consisting of numerous strips which overlap and interlink. Events revolve around the members of the Rabbit family and their friends and acquaintances; a grand narrative taking place against a backdrop of inner city Auckland and its satellite suburbs.

Some of the mesh of stories can be found over at the blogspot, Western Park. Served up in bite sized portions are a variety of stories, including; Bernard on the Eve, Blues Clues, Farfiva, Be my Ghost(1) and assorted diary comics and ‘test patterns’. Parts have turned up in small press anthologies such as Radio as Paper and Dailies. One section can be found in Adrian Kinaird's From Earth’s End: The Best New Zealand Comics, along with a profile of Tim and a (fascinating) short rundown of his working methods. Another was featured in cancelled fashion/style mag Pavement.

The tone of the strips is deadpan, nuanced with acid observation of the numerous characters foibles. Collected it would be equal parts sitcom, epic 19th century social novel and slapstick tragedy, desperate elements held together by exacting cartooning skills and an appreciation of narrative that runs from Dickens to Larry David to Jamie Hernandez.

The art is precise, gentle and keenly aware of the importance of detail and day to day observation. It's a style that has evolved over decades in numerous sketch books, and hundreds of pages of comics, a narrative in its own right, the antipodes equivalent of Crumb(2).

Part of a single page story that appeared in Pavement, (issue 62, summer 2003/2004) (3).

Came the dawn

Tim has been working on his comics for a long time.

Most of the forerunners to the current project(s) have been discarded or put on hiatus. The most developed of these, Came the dawn, emerged in a variety of mini-comic incarnations before being picked up by Karl Wills and released under his The ComicBook Factory imprint. Three parts were published, enough to give an appreciation of Came the dawn's level of ambition, enough to induce frustration that the series was suspended and now remains in limbo.
Came The Dawn covers 1-3.

Some sense of the scope can be gathered from the character gallery below. 20 characters, all sharply rendered fictions, none of them are on the page for long, yet each manages to make a unique impression and stick in your head.

Having read and re-read the three issues over the years I still pick up on subtleties and details which I have passed over up in previous readings. Came the dawn is happy to build at its own pace and you can keep up or fall away, it's up to you(4).

Half a world away

The first comic I read by Tim was Half a world away. I still have my copies acquired over the few years I worked at Mark One Comics in the mid-nineties. Seven A4 books, the paper now beginning to yellow and the staples to rust. You can see a couple of them below, in all their fallen glory.

Set in an unspecified town in rural New Zealand the characters are isolated by circumstance and disposition. Exchanges, when they take part, are tentative and unsure. The landscape stretches out around them, reducing people to an inconsequential component.

Under the alienation and loneliness is an undercurrent of threat that eventually erupts into violence, no less disturbing in that we witness the aftermath and not the explosion. More disturbing in that it follows a moment of tenderness and intimacy.

Half a world away was, and remains, an impressive comic (though will Tim squirm if you talk to him about the series).

I used to nag him about when the next issue was coming out. It was never fast enough (though always worth the wait). Which is pretty much how I have continued to feel to this day(5); expectant, but patient.

Because when you examine Tim's work, and realize the breadth of his subtlety and scope, there can be little question that when he does finally complete his Rabbit Family work, whatever it ends up being called, and whatever final form it takes, that it will be a New Zealand great.

So I can wait. 

Kelly Sheehan
Faction Comics + Earth's End

(1): The titles of these stories may change the next time they make it into publication.
(2) : My favourite section of these numerous volumes was where Tim began to copy vintage photos of the 40s and 50s. Suddenly his characters became more rumpled, disheveled. The slight awkwardness in the early work fell away and in place there was a confidence which has not stopped challenging itself since.
(3): Strictly speaking this strip is not from Western Park but it is from the general continuity so I've included it. Also it's a 'cross- over' story which features both members of the Rabbit family and Bernard who, in his own strip, currently remains trapped within the confines of his own room.
(4): Me? I'm still waiting for it start up again and lead me on a bit further.
(5): One thing about that: Any one of the works examined in this article was worked over by Tim to an astonishing degree, change upon change upon change. Just when you think it is finished there's something that needs to be added or subtracted or reworked. As an expectant reader this can get a little frustrating. And yet it's always worth it. Always. Those changes are done for a reason and you just better suck it up ,buddy because it's not change; its refinement!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Faction in the spotlight

"Faction 1 is what all anthologies should strive to be"

Faction comics continues to get some wonderful reviews! Check out what Panel Patter has to say about us here.

And CBR's Robot 6 gives us a mention here.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Lazarus by Rucka and Lark

Sometimes it's hard to find the desire to write a review when nothing really grabs you enough to give a shit - for good or bad. Then virtually without comment, someone slaps a comic on your book pile, and the next thing you know you’ve been smacked full in the face with a bolt of pure awesomeness. You’re grabbed, wrenched and enthralled, and when it’s over you find yourself Googling the due date of the next one.

Greg Rucka has created just that with Lazarus. Set in a future not too distant from our own – with the rich getting richer and the poor reduced to “waste” - - the book imagines a chillingly believable world just a few National votes beyond today. Set in the late 21st century, the ruling structures of the world are divided into family dynasties, which rule over their domains and the people living within them, with naked, profit-driven ruthlessness. The tech and military is owned and controlled by the “haves”, whilst the “have-nots” exist in the crumbling third-world remains of our own present infrastructure. 

Interestingly, Rucka gives a quick Family/Waste headcount in the beginning of each scene – providing not just context to the location, but also a deeper understanding that ‘The Family’ are few and ‘The Waste’ are many. And it is in the midst of this world that our lead character, Forever, is born. Well, actually - - made.

Forever is designed to be a genetically engineered weapon - and man, she is truly kickass - in the way that so many comic writers talk about, but rarely achieve. Artist Michael Lark has poured her into a tight black leather one-piece, with a sword that she brandishes with as much ease as her guns. Long, black flowing hair, flicked up into a ponytail, abs, biceps and a thickness that is refreshingly different to the skinny waifs I see everywhere else; I think I fell in love with her instantly. To Forever’s family – Family Carlyle, she is their human “sword and shield”, their protector and their Lazarus. Unlike the biblical version, diseased and deformed she is not. Though perhaps tellingly, it was the act of bringing Lazarus to life that started the enemies of Jesus plotting his downfall.

What is fascinating is how Rucka has shaped Forever - and in particular, the dichotomy between her toughness and innocence. Being grown and then trained as a weapon, Forever is largely ignorant of what her family really stand for and the vast sea of corruption that surrounds her. She shows obvious discomfort when asked to deal harshly with the lives of the workers and the unemployed “waste”, but remains fiercely loyal to the Carlyle clan. She yearns to be accepted by the family, especially her father, who coldly keeps those tensions stoked high.

Loyalty and Betrayal, Hubris and Humility, Have and Have-Nots, Good and Bad - this is the black and white world that Rucka and Lark have created for Eve -  and it feels terrifyingly close to our own.

Let’s take a quick look at volume 1.

The first issue starts brutal and bloody with a standout action sequence that puts Lara Croft to shame. Soon we are introduced to the Carlyle Family, consisting of five siblings - two boys, two girls …and Forever (AKA Eve). We also meet the rotten black heart of the family - their father, Malcolm; a classic patriarch figure, who controls his children and empire through both subtle and overt threat, as much as he does through emotional manipulation. At times it feels like a sociological experiment gone slightly wrong, power wrought on children to see how messed up you can truly make them. And the Carlyle Family are everything we could’ve hoped for in this sense - jealous, greedy, corrupt and insanely paranoid, of each other as much as of the other rival families. But as clear as this corruption is, it remains hidden from our Eve - and it is this crawling sense of betrayal that sits firmly at the heart of this story, and is what shapes the beginning of Forever’s journey.

But it’s not all darkness - Lark and Rucka also catered to a ‘girlie’ thrill on my part as well. When Eve and a rival family’s-own genetically engineered Lazarus meet, I enjoyed seeing Eve’s vulnerability shine through. Very Capulets and Montagues of course, but…ah, young (genetically engineered) love! it’s a beautiful thing. And it didn’t hurt that this other Lazarus was equally spunky.

Lark’s artwork is a fantastic fit for this book, and is a real pleasure to behold. Inky, realistic and restrained at the same time, his line work shows off the world to full effect. But for me, it is Rucka’s storytelling that really stands out in Lazarus. The thoughtfully constructed future world and the political interplay of characters and environment is what ultimately seduced me. Rucka is a real auteur and I feel supremely confident in his ability to keep the pressure up even as he gradually tweaks back the curtains on his bleak vision of the future. His crafting of Eve gives the story tremendous momentum. And frankly, her character is the reason why this comic is just so very, very good. Rucka has imbibed her with so much depth, complexity and strength - finely balanced by an understandably child-like innocence - that it’s just impossible not to be sucked in.

With much of the story still to come, my prediction is that Rucka and Lark are going to take us on an amazing ride, and I cannot wait for Google to tell me when the next one is coming out.

Get the first trade here

Amie Maxwell
Faction co-editor  

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Ricky & Lyle by Ralphie 

My favourite comic in Faction #1 was Ralphi’s Ricky & Lyle 

Featuring a bogan boy and his best friend, an obnoxious anthropomorphic cat, the strip followed their slightly dubious adventures in search of quick money.    

Not content with just being hilarious, Ricky & Lyle was also elegant, sharp and true.  

Now, a couple of years later Ralphi has just released a Ricky & Lyle mini-comic. On par with the debut of the wayward pair, it possesses the same wry, understated confidence and comes in a very tidy package - as part of French publisher Radio as Paper’s Rapmc series.  

Under a lovely two-colour wrap-around cover is a sixteen page story that is over all too soon, but compensates by providing an abundance of details that somehow never crowd the panel and rewards multiple reads.  

At the heart of Ricky & Lyle is a keen sense of liking and compassion for the characters despite a manifest of shortcomings that should make them completely unsympathetic.  

All this is portrayed with an an art style so deft and fluid that it seems as much handwriting as cartooning. To say Ralphi's comics are assured is a huge understatement and it beggars belief that she has only comparatively recently turned her talents to crafting comics.  

These strips are excellent. Whatever you do, find yourself some Ralphi comics now. You won't be disappointed.

Buy Faction 1 here
Buy Radio as Paper's Ricky & Lyle here

Kelly Sheehan
Faction Comics + Earth's End

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Mesmo Delivery by Rafael Grampá

I think that if I was going to get a tattoo, I'd ask the artist of Mesmo Delivery, Rafael Grampá, to design it. This comic just oozed style, a style that screams "ginger haired hipster with beard, braces and black rimmed glasses, playing the saxophone ...and drinking an espresso".

Yeah; crazy, crazy hip.

The art was key to Mesmo Delivery truly delivering. It's somber enough to give the impression of darkness, grainy enough to give it grit and bold enough to... well, to tattoo into my skin.

Sample page
Damn, boy, this sure is purty
To top it off, the entire piece felt filtered -drained of colour, but without being overly muted, which gave it a real noir trucker look.

The world of Mesmo Delivery was equally gritty and intense. I have seen enough hitchhiker movies to know that truck-stops, diners and roadside hangouts usually result in a beheading or zombie attack. And Mesmo Delivery did not disappoint on the violence dial. This comic is graphic.

The characters were the most beautifully-ugly band of dysfunctional misfits I've seen in a long while. First up is Rufo, an oversized lug, with a squashed, pug like face, and gigantic, baby-like quality. And our hero (if that's the word for it), Sangrecco? Grampa describes his creative evolution (in a generous gallery at the back of the book) as a blending of Elvis and Iggy Pop; a character who brings performance art to assassination. Which is true. This character, for all his ugliness, is like ballet dancer with blades. And the supporting  characters; a band of toothless bottom feeders, made me cringe as much as smile - with g-strings over jeans, overbites, overalls and over-the-top inbreeding up to the wazoo.

I think what I enjoyed most about it though was it's zany, self-aware, and lovingly crafted cinematic framing. There were some panels, some scenes which just left my mouth hanging open they were so frickin' cool! Point-of-view conversations, beheadings (where zoom-in close-ups show the minutiae of the blade tearing through a throat), impalings, and my favourite panel - where a moment of piss-your-pants terror has been executed with unimaginable (for the subject matter) design panache. It's something else.

The story itself (also authored by Grampá) was simple, following a couple of mysterious truckers pulling into a diner. I won't go into the details, but it worked perfectly with the intense graphical quality of the art. I suspect my Faction co-publisher would disagree with me, but not all storylines have to give you sucker-punch depth. In fact the simple story telling of Mesmo complemented the visual complexity of the comic's design -  and I found the balance pleasing.

It definitely makes me want to see more, but not in the sense that I fell in love with the characters, or wished the story would never end. In fact, in love with Mesmo Delivery I definately am not. There was certainly nothing to like in the characters, and the violence was harrowing. But as a spectacle, it was riveting. It was such an adrenaline-pounding read that, like a drug trip, I felt hollowed out after it was all over. And like a drug, it left me wanting more.

And a tattoo. It left me wanting a tattoo by Grampá. So yeah. Go buy this book.

Get it here
Preview it here

Amie Maxwell
Faction co-editor 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Mercury by Hope Larson

So Hope Larson is a big deal in comics. She won an Eisner Award in 2007 for "Special Recognition" of her talents - and her recent book, A Wrinkle In Time has garnered widespread acclaim. She’s a real comic success story in fact, so it’s a little embarrassing that I haven’t read anything of hers up until now. Consequently it was with some enthusiasm that I plunged into one of her recent(ish) graphic novels, Mercury (2010).

Right off the bat, Mercury is easy to read, easy on the eyes, and launched its story in a familiar, if well-worn groove. You know the thing: Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, cute smiles exchanged, teen relationship angst ensues. Her characters are familiar too. Boldly drawn, their faces are attractive and seemingly innocent and ordinary. Ordinary but likeable. And that's a mean feat when most of them are teenagers!

Young love, It's cute right? The comic reminds us that crushes are a staple human condition, the narrative emphasizing this by following the lives of two young girls living 150 years apart. The two stories run parallel to each other throughout the book; both set in the same area of Nova Scotia and following an apparently familiar trope. Until it doesn’t, and the familiar falls away and things start getting a little …freaky.

Pages from Mercury
Strong, likable artwork from Larson.
The story pivots on the discovery of magical necklaces that can be used to track down the things that you desire the most, and before long there is the added lure of riches and gold; advances are spurned, and events take a decidedly supernatural turn. From here the story advances at a brisk pace, successfully generating a healthy forward momentum of tension and anticipation. It’s a solid, assured read.

But by the end, when I closed the covers, I had to admit to myself that somewhere along the way, it had just fallen flat. Now, this may be a personal thing, in that perhaps I simply expected more from it - a more thorough plumbing of the depths, if you will, or perhaps just getting a little more gristle to chew on, and I freely admit that perhaps this was never the author’s intention in the first place. Never the less; in this respect, the book left me wanting.

Of course, this is a book about young people getting crushes and coming of age, and it certainly took me back to that time with practiced ease, but story-wise; that was pretty much all it did. There were no fresh insights, no meaty undercurrent, and perhaps not quite enough of a story to keep me interested. I know I’m not the target audience for this - it very much falls in the young readers section of the library. But I enjoyed the Twilight books, and I just finished reading Luke Pearson’s wonderful Hildafolk series, which are definitely aimed at young readers - and I enjoyed the hell out of them, so I don’t think that should necessarily be a issue.

On the other hand, in a final indecisive vacillation, there’s certainly a market for this kind of material, and I guess I have to concede that it’s just not me. Larson is undeniably talented, and I would love for her to tackle some material with a bit more depth (and perhaps she has done - I certainly need to read more of her work before I made any ill-judged generalisations), but equally it may be she has found a niche for her work that suits her -and her audience- very well; and for that I applaud her.

Get it here
Or, like I did, at the local library - yay libraries!

Amie Maxwell
Faction co-editor 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Black Is the Color by Julia Gfrorer

I always like to imagine the people I admire, be they authors, artists or scientists, as being friends of mine. Talent is just an attractive trait and if you've got it, I want to be friends with you. So, to my mind at least, Gfrörer is now one of my besties.

Her comic is aptly named "Black is the color" and it is beautiful. Beautiful in a way an H bomb is beautiful - - devastating - but also glorious and full of light. The brief bio at the back of her comic states that "her name rhymes with despair, and her heart is as black as jet". And wow; the comic. Let's just say, you wouldn't expect anything less from a jet black heart. The story is woven through with so many moments of intimacy and horror, that by the end of it I was left with a weird mix of sadness and hope meshed together. I wasn't exactly sure where one stopped and the other started. So yeah, Black is the colour" is a little bit of an emotional fucking rollercoaster, frankly.

The art was divine. The lines were so fine and detailed, and each line told a little more about the story, until you got to the end of them and just felt blasted and wrung out. It was so beautifully drawn, I had to stop and slow down from time to time to truly see how those lines made the wind move, the boats move and the sea move from panel to panel. The detail slows you down, but in a good way, and it richly deserves the time you spend on it.

I should mention that the book features mermaids. These creatures are anything but the ethereal beauties sometimes imagined, and they offer a light, teenage contrast to the flagging human, who serves as the center of this tale. The death in this book is shot through with immature prattle, which makes it light and a little sick and twisted at the same time.

In the end; did I get the full gist of this book's message? I think so, but more at an emotional level than an intellectual one. "Black is the colour" illustrates the horror and banality of our existence - and the beauty of our death; especially when there's someone loving there at the end to help take you away.

I hope I go like that. Thanks for the insight, Gfrörer, old pal.

Buy it here (seriously recommended)

Read it here (cheapskate!):

Amie Maxwell
Faction co-editor

Must... Read... Comics...!

Hi peeps - hopefully you're already familiar with our anthology, Faction, which Amie and I edit. Well, it turns out that just making comics ourselves isn't enough. So we've decided to review them as well.

We'll also post updates about Faction here, as well as what other people are saying about our comic (fairs-fair) as the reviews pour in.

Hopefully it will be thrilling.