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SPLASH! showcasing new work from the best indie artists

Comichaus #2

Indie comics anthology Comichaus are getting some huge names to create their covers. Following in the footsteps of Glen Fabry comes this beauty from John McCrea for issue #2 www.comichaus.com



this is an ex-canary We talk Last Driver & Dead Canarys with writer Chris Baker Tell us a bit about the world of Last Driver and how it came about? Chris Baker: Originally it was a short story. A vintage action hero battling a beast on the road. After working with Shaky Kane on another project, we were all looking for an excuse to ‘get the band back together’. Last Driver grew from that. I wrote it over a few weeks, and Matt Fitch turned a disjointed 90-page petrolhead epic into the tight story you see before you. You have art from the legendary Shaky Kane, how did you get him to produce this? CB: As mentioned, we had worked on a short story together called Campaign 2079, about a robot running for president and falling victim to an assassin’s bullet. It was five pages and packed with layers of style. We were all Kane fans, and it was so fun to get creative with the man, the legend. I wanted to get him onto Last Driver before the script was even finished. It’s about a guy tearing around the American open road in a world filled with monsters... I guess I wrote to his taste. Was there any additional pressure working with a UK legend like Shaky? CB: He once put a toy gun to his head as we discussed pages on Skype. I did sweat. You’re Kickstarting the book, have you got any tips on crowd funding? CB: Crowdfunding is a bold new tool and we enjoy using it. It forces you to make the most compelling pitch of your life to the entire world. It puts the power of creation directly in the hands of the audience/consumer. Our advice to anyone looking to fund a project this way is one word. Passion. Believe in your project and give it the love you would your own child. Hopefully others will see and decide to join you on the journey.

contained and doesn’t leave you hanging with questions. But there is the hope that the character, FRANK SUDDEN, makes an impact and gains a following... he’s damn likeable, so maybe people will want to see more of him. What’s next for Dead Canary after this? CB: We try to keep ourselves busy. The DCC office abhors a vacuum so we have several things cooking. Some I can tell you about: we have Paul Clark Forse’s Ministry Of Normal due to go to press at the end of the year. It’s drawn by Will Robson, a super-talented guy who has just started at Marvel Comics as the artist on the rebooted Great Lakes Avengers. Ministry will be great

and I can’t wait to hold a copy in my hands. Another we have on the slate is the Dead Canary Sci-fi Anthology, which is a collection of all our short stories, including the aforementioned Campaign 2079 by Mr Kane. The book will be filled with name brand artists and original storytelling, we’re really excited about it. What’s the secret of Dead Canary name? CB: When we needed a name for our fledging company, we heard a story about what happened to informants in the days of the mob... Apparently, if you were suspected of ‘singing like a canary’ to the cops or the Feds, you’d get ‘whacked’ and a dead canary would be left on your body to make others think twice before doing the same. Seeing as we’re in the business of telling stories it seemed like a good fit, and the dark and twisted origin of the phrase appealed to our sensibilities... Plus it just sounds cool! Last Driver will be running on Kickstarter from September 1st and you can find out more information about Dead Canary ‘s titles at deadcanarycomics.com

Is this an ongoing series or a one shot? CB: For now it’s a one shot. The story is self



whos house?

comichaus! We go behind the scenes of the UK’s most ambitious new monthly indie anthology Comichaus, with editor Pete Genepool and writer James McCulloch 19

100% Biodegradable

Dave Hailwood from 100% Biodegradable gives us his unique insights into creating a hit indie collection



Treves: A REstless Night Can this Merrick prequel be just as sensational? rom the pages of our favourite Victorian superhero adventure, Merrick the Sensational Elephantman, comes Treves: A Restless Night. Writer Tom Ward and artist Luke Parker’s prequel/spin-off explores the early days in India of Merrick’s long-time ally Treves, complete with cursed locals, zombie stonemasons and sinister tentacled beasties. But will he be as sensational as the main man? We first encounter Treves in Rajputana, India, where his medical superior Dr Tisdale tells him a campfire tale about a cursed local stonemason who he recently encountered. After the two retire for the night, Treves is plagued by nightmarish visions of rats under his bed and the zombified stonemason, who ultimately morphs into a Lovecraftian tentacle monster after Treves shows him the angry end of his shotgun. After such an eventful night Treves is unsure whether it was real or not, but when he is invited by Tisdale to join an exclusive occult group, he begins to realise this was an initiation of sorts and begins to set in motion events that will ultimately see him cross paths with the Elephantman himself. As with Merrick, the story is based on real-life events and characters, this time taken from Treves’ diary. But they are fleshed out by Ward to create a dark and nightmarish fever-dream of a book. As it is only a one-shot, the story doesn’t feel as dense or as purposeful as the main narrative from Merrick. In fact, it feels more like two separate stories at times, with the stonemason’s tale and the dreamlike aftermath not necessarily flowing obviously from one into the other. However, what this relatively simple story does succeed in doing, is giving artist Luke Parker an incredible canvas to create some truly dazzling art on. The opening pages in Rajputana just ooze heat and dust, while the story of the cursed stonemason features extraordinary occult diagrams as the afflicted local man seeks mystical help for his ailments.


Publisher: Merrick Writer: Tom Ward Artist: Luke Parker (Art) Nic J. Shaw (lettering) Price: £4.99 from Merrickcomic.co.uk

“The story is based on real-life events but turned into a nightmarish fever dream by Tom Ward”


However, it’s the second half with the zombie stonemason and Lovecraftian dream-beasts where Parker gets out the big guns. In particular, one epic double-page spread has more teeth and tentacles than you could ever imagine and it feels like it is literally sucking your soul into the pages of the comic. Although Parker does not have the claustrophobic streets of London to work with in Treves, he still manages to make the book feel creepy and dread-filled thanks to his excellent use of light and shadow. This is further amplified by his use of colour that imbues each scene with its own character. From the dusty hills of Rajputana with its yellows and browns, to the blood-red world of the cursed stonemason, to the dream-like greens and purples in Treves nightmares. Perhaps the best thing about Treves though, is it reminds you what a strong and versatile creation the world of Merrick is. As soon as you reach the end, it makes you want more from this fascinating character and his excellent entourage, which is a huge credit to Ward and Parker. If they keep putting out books as strong as this, they will deserve their growing reputation as one of the most exciting teams on the small-press scene. AT

indie contents

Here’s some of our fave anthologies with Save Our Souls, Papercuts and Inkstains, Horrere & Sliced Quarterley

Save Our Souls magazine continues to break new ground in the world of indie comics anthologies with its second issue full of hilarious cartoon strips, and intelligent and beautifully illustrated long-form articles. In a way, it feels more like the kindred spirit of Private Eye or Charlie Hebdo than it does a modern comic book (despite the very comic-like production values) and, as such, it makes for one of the most absorbing and thought-provoking reads out there. Every page features something different and interesting. Highlights this issue include: Chris Schweizer’s series of illustrations looking at Warrior Women throughout history; Richard Johnson’s diary/sketchbook detailing life on the frontline; and Dan Peterson’s autobiographical look at time on board a rescue-vessel helping Syrian refugees in the Mediterranean. If you want something lighter there’s also Gabby Schulz’s Little Finlay sketches about an obnoxious boy getting hurt, a story called Pigeon King and Mark Stafford’s stunning inside front and back covers. Buy Save Our Souls #2 from saveoursoulsmag.com Back on more traditional indie-anthology territory, Madius Comics’ new issue of Papercuts and Inkstains continues the high quality we have come to expect from Jones, Sambrook and co. Although not quite as perfect as their last outing, there are

still strong strips from Bob Turner (Immersive Gaming Experience – a unique look at the world of videogames) and Rob Moore (Vampire Wonderland 2 – with an old-school 70s feel), as well as the continuing adventures of the alwayshilarious Profits of Doom. Although it may lack the extra spark issue #4 had, it’s still a fun read and this kind of nitpicking from reviewers is what happens if you set the bar too high! Buy Papercuts and Inkstains #5 from madiuscomics.bigcartel.com Also keeping the Madius boys busy is horror-anthology The Tragic Tales of Horrere #2. This sees Rob Jones and Mike Sambrook create more sinister black-and-white horror tales alongside Alisdair Wood, Neil Ford and Gareth Sleightholme – plus special guests Luis Roldan Torquemada and Diego Simone. With a ghoulish cover that has an almost 90s 2000 AD or Deadline feel to it (especially the weird pose and the sinister beaked gas-mask) the stories range from creepy ghost tales (The Thin Place) to survivalist horror (Tupper) to cyclical serial killers (The Gilded Cage) – the latter of which feels like it could be a Grant Morrison Batman story in a different life. The anthology is a superb offering that elevates itself above other collections thanks to a dry sense of humour (which balances out the chills, twists, blood and guts). While there’s enough to keep horror fans happy, those of a gentler disposition will enjoy the depth of the stories. As well as the


various new stories in issue #2, we also get a second chapter of the excellent Grimoire. Alisdair Wood’s artwork is worth a mention here as it’s extremely professional and detailed and, as with the Profits of Doom in Papercuts, gives Horrere a solid ongoing backbone for the other stories to hang off. Buy The Tragic Tales of Horrere from www.horrere.zone Finally, Ken Reynolds’ Sliced Quarterly #3 continues to improve in leaps and bounds from issue to issue. With all stories based on slices of life, it creates an eclectic selection of stories that still have some semblance of a pattern. Brethren Born’s Jon Laight and Griff Gristle’s Rory Donald create a haunting water-based opener, while Kathryn Briggs creates a highly personal and thought-provoking story about being an immigrant in the UK, with the tale looking as if it has been torn straight out of the pages of her diary sketchbook. Also, John Osborn and Maximilian Meier take us back to the roaring 20s with a lead character who is suffering after one drink too many, and Dave Hailwood and Brett Burbridge do their twist on Benjamin Button in The Ballad of Backwards Billy (which features some stunning duotone artwork from Burbridge). There are also preview pages of the wonderful Slime by Lukasz Kowalczuk. Ken is currently offering all three issues for free, and if you think your stories are good enough to compete with these then he is also taking submissions online now for future issues. For more information and to download issue #1-3 visit slicedquarterly.co.uk

big punch studios

power of the punch Publishers of BPM, Afterlife Inc. and 7STRING, not to mention podcasters and Sandwich Masters is it any wonder that it has taken us months to catch up with Jon, Nich, Lucy and Allie from Big Punch Studios a.k.a the busiest people in comics! 37



Summer 2016

Issue #3

Profile for Pipedream Comics

Pull List 03 preview  

We celebrate the best of small press and the independent spirit of comics, with an exclusive interview from UK comics legend Shaky Kane, dis...

Pull List 03 preview  

We celebrate the best of small press and the independent spirit of comics, with an exclusive interview from UK comics legend Shaky Kane, dis...


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