London Horror Comic Issue #2 Review
The Stories Are Not Only Unique In Narrative But Artistic Content
We are always taught ‘not to judge a book by its cover’ but it is hard not to be influenced by the cover of London Horror Comic Issue #2. This is not just because of Lee Ferguson’s striking cover image and Hi-Fi Design’s gritty but illuminating colours, but also the feel of this product. The comparatively flimsy first issue cover of issue #1 is replaced with a thicker glossy cover giving this independent comic the professional feel that it deserves. Marc Deering’s inking has evolved to a more graphic and flowing style, with heavy and textured details in the foreground, complimenting the grungy texture implemented by Hi-Fi.
The second issue in this anthology series deals with four stories by writer John-Paul Kamath. Reach Out: a silent story of a woman jumping from a tall building; ‘Brother’s Keeper’: the story of two brothers and a supernatural highway encounter; ‘Superhero’: a team of superheroes dealing with pay-cuts; and ‘Homecoming’: one woman’s day as she prepares her home for the arrival of her mother.
Since issue #1, Lee Ferguson’s pencilling has come on tremendously. This is noticeable from the very first page where he swaps the sparse sets of his previous work for some tricky perspective shots and city-scapes. While the trope of bare backgrounds is still evident in this story, it better emphasizes the woman’s loneliness than a complicated background would. His graphical experimentation in ‘Brother’s Keeper’ is exemplary, with some beautifully atmospheric and detailed inking from Marc Deering, making this the superior artistic story in this anthology. Ferguson’s use of swirling mists ad hair, angled faces and clever panelling bordered by blood and fog, creates a great atmosphere for this piece.
Hi-Fi Design’s colours have also become more complex, favoring lighting effects, gritty textures and some brilliant effect work most noticeable in the space and superpowers scenes of ‘Superhero’. This is evidently a team that works and evolves well together. The stories are not only unique in narrative content but artistic content, to the point that you would believe several artists had worked on the same book. This artistic malleability not only makes the comic dynamic and varied for the reader but also shows a great sense of business acumen in these commercial artists, as the ability to mould your style to a story is essential in freelance art. We get the sense of constantly developing artists from this series of comics and it is illuminating to follow them from issue to issue as they improve not only their styles, but their adaptability.
Even Matty Ryan seems to be having a lot more fun with lettering, an aspect of comics which so often gets overlooked. His bubbles are technically brilliant, but he has also opted for the use of a few titles and sound effects. The sound effects are quite clunky and do not compliment the text amazingly, while the titles do not seem to stand out enough; but this is still a development from the lack of experimentation in Issue #1. No doubt from my experience of this team that this mastery will come in time.
A big hand in this malleability comes from John-Paul Kamath’s varied stories. From the ambiguity and haunting nature of ‘Homecoming’ to the modern take on the occupational superhero; Kamath is able to create unique story-lines that manage to both showcase his artists brilliantly, and also stick with a reader long after viewing due to their stand-out narratives. The first story in this issue stood out for me the most due to its multiple interpretations. Is this woman really falling from a building or is it a metaphor? Is the man she is ‘falling for’ with another woman? Or is this merely what she sees as she jumps? The reason for her fall? Bringing up so many questions in only a six page, speechless narrative is an impressive feat of storytelling as it highlights Kamath’s ability to get under your skin with his psychological stories.
‘Brother’s Keeper’ seems to be the weakest of Kamath’s stories, due only to it being quite a traditional horror encounter, rather than the twisty plots that we may have grown used to over two issues. However, this does showcase his ability to write a typical pulp horror sequence and gives the artists a chance for a very different style which relies more on action than story depth.
While London Horror Comic Issue #1 was a labour of love, Issue #2 is a showcase of development. Having made a first issue, the second is always the most difficult to achieve for independent artists, as it involves stepping back into the creative mindset after marketing and publicizing your first issue. The team have done this wonderfully and evidently learned some new tricks along the way. If this is how much a team of artists and writers can improve in only one issue, I cannot wait to see what they are creating four or five issues down the line.
Anastasia is a Freelance Illustrator, Writer and Actress based in Wales, UK.
Love it or hate it, leave your comments below !
comments powered by Disqus