New British Comics 2

Published On January 25, 2010 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

New British Comics # 2

Editor In Chief: Karol Wisniewski

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The second issue of anthology title “New British Comics” is available, just like the first issue in both English and Polish. The Polish edition successfully premiered at the 2009 International Festival of Comics in Lodz, and it’s an interesting and brave attempt at breaking new artists in two countries and should be applauded

Edited by Karol Wisniewski, the issue comes with a cover by Nelson Evergreen that will possibly decide whether you like the comic or not, since quite a lot of the strips inside are of the same style. In all honesty, this sort of thing isn’t my thing, but I’ve come to accept that all anthologies are worth reading because you never really know when something new will grab you. And I’m sure that you’ll have the same impression of it as I did – after all, with any anthology worth it’s salt, trying to present a diversity of material, there’s going to be favourites and …. not so favourites.

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(Last Summer by Dan White – end of the world meets Lord Of The Flies, all in idealistic and deluded isolation. From New British Comics, edited by Karol Wisniewski)

But lets focus on some of the really good stuff that I liked… First up is the very first strip in the anthology; Dan White‘s Last Summer, a simple tale of one boy’s summer – he spent it by himself, no mum, no dad, no anyone. In fact it’s soon obvious that this is very much a “last summer” as we get more and more details, cleverly added to panels of the boy having fun; a rotting carcass in the lake he swims in, a trashed car and finally the dead guy lying in his field. End of the world stuff with a twist and very nice, very simple and effective storytelling.

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(Ragnar’s Charm by WJC. From New British Comics, edited by Karol Wisniewski)

Next up comes more stunning artwork from WJC (Warwick Johnson Cadwell) in his strip Ragnar’s Charm, where a gang of thieves break into a collectors house looking for a certain ancient artifact. But one by one they all fall prey to some bizarre, cleverly choreographed accident or other, always in the prescence of the man’s cat. Could the cat and ancient Norseman Ragnar share some connection through the ages? I’m a sucker for this rough, perfectly distorted, Ted McKeever-like artwork and WJC made every page of his ten a sheer delight to look at.

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(Charlie Parker: Handyman by Lawrence Elwick and Paul O’Connell. Dizzy as the pawn shop owner, Charlie discovering that signature sound through absolute frustration. How can you not laugh? From New British Comics, edited by Karol Wisniewski)

And a final pick from the pages of New British Comics is something completely at odds with the rest of the anthology; Lawrence Elwick and Paul O’Connell‘s Charlie Parker: Handyman. It’s perhaps a slight cheat as I gather it’s already seen print in the pages of the music mag Stool Pigeon, but by god it’s brilliant. Stylish artwork and a guaranteed laugh on each one of the three strips. The ideas are just silly, and the title Charlie Parker, Handyman is really all you need to know about the strip (Charlie Parker’s one of the greats of jazz), but it’s so well delivered that this really is that moment in an anthology that makes the whole thing worthwhile. I’ve just spent an hour perusing the websites/blogs of both gentlemen and they’re both now on a list of people to look out for. Really great strip. And in case you’re wondering it’s a real joint effort; Paul writes, plots panels, art is roughed by both and then Lawrence draws.

New British Comics #2 is available from their website, from Bad Press Publishing and from Smallzone for just £4. Give it a try, there’s so much on offer here something is bound to get you going.

Richard Bruton.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.