London Horror Comic Issue #1 Review
‘Future Shocks’ Style Twists And Haunting Narrative; This Anthology Is A Labour Of Love
Founded in 2006, London Horror Comic is a horror-comedy anthology series of short stories reminiscent of ‘Tales of The Unexpected’ or Roald Dahl’s ‘’Way Out’. Each comic contains a selection of unique horrific tales told by writer, John-Paul Kamath and his artistic team of Lee Ferguson, Marc Deering, Matty Ryan and Hi-Fi Design.
In the first issue we are introduced to the London Horror Comic anthology with four individual narratives. ‘Up, Up And Away’: an irreverent, twisted look at the role of the writer in the comic book industry; ‘Cornered’: a modern vampire encounter; ‘Who Knows?’: another view of writers and the difficulties they face in publishing their work; and ‘NXT2U’: a brief but haunting encounter with a day in the life of a murderer.
Lee Ferguson’s artistic style develops noticeably throughout the anthology. From the minimalist expressions and details of Up, Up And Away to the far more elaborate panels of later episodes. While his panels lack the details of backgrounds and props in many shots, this serves as a way to highlight the lettering and all-important story. This also allows for Hi-Fi Design to create bold blocks of complimentary colours which make the artwork leap off the page. The use of analogous colours for ‘Cornered’ and the pages of ‘Who Knows?’ allow them to stand apart from the brighter, more detailed colours of the surrounding stories. While each story is not announced with a title graphic or introductory lettering, this change in colour is welcomed as a way to separate out the stories beyond the small graphic stating ‘END’.
While the issue contains only a small example of stories, each one is beautifully crafted and very well told with ‘Future Shocks’ like twists and haunting narrative. Kamath’s comedic edge is shown to great effect in ‘Cornered’, as a socially awkward vampire encounters an old high school acquaintance and can’t seem to get over his past and convince her of his successful present as a ‘Prince of Darkness’. This is a beautiful little analogy for anyone out there who works in comics; as the general response from family, high school class-mates, or generally un-initiated, when you tell them your occupation, tends to be a condescending “Oh, so you draw/write/’trace’ cartoons?”
This self-deferential tone is amplified even more by the Tharg-worthy ‘Up, Up Away’ and far more sinister ‘Who Knows?’. But the most haunting piece of horror comes in the form of ‘NXT2U’ which plays on every parents worst nightmare, but most notably has no text and so leaves the horror to your own imagination.
It is clear from the personal text at the back of the issue, containing an anecdote about watching an amateur, self funded film; that this comic is a labour of love. But unlike so many independent comics out there today, this one shows a great mix of developing artistic talent, strong stories, a good business mind and eye for production details. This is clearly a comic produced by a team who love comics.
Anastasia is a Freelance Illustrator, Writer and Actress based in Wales, UK.
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