Tuesday, 18 January 2011


A couple of very cool articles have recently popped up on 3 Million Years, an excellent source for digital comics information. The site's owner, Michael J. Nimmo, has written reviews of the digital editions of The Indifference Engine and Cancertown (both now available in their entireties on the PlayStation Network in PSP format). Here goes:

Review: The Indifference Engine

Responding to a strangely specific job advertisement, Alan Blake, a distinctly ordinary twenty-something suburban slacker finds himself in the middle of an inter-dimensional task force staffed entirely by superhuman alternate versions of himself. Struggling to fit in, he uncovers a conspiracy that strikes at the very heart of the organisation – a conspiracy that only he can stop.

For a four issue mini series, this certainly packs a lot in! Originally I intended to sit down and read this series over a short period of time, but found myself being drawn in and reading the next issue.
Cy Dethan (Cancertown) writes a very tight script – I found myself thinking of Rob Williams (Cla$$war) in the style. Keeping all the facts together and presentable is a hard job, but Cy performs admirably. With the nature of the story, there is no decompression, there is a lot going on on each page. This is what gets you reading each issue one after another!

Robert Carey’s art is excellent – at first I worried that it was a little too loose, but then soon dispelled this as the art drew me into the story. With the big wide shots I found myself feeling surrounded by the action. Fight and battle scenes felt tense and full of danger. Gritty in all the right places and sterile where it was needed.

In closing, this is an excellent mini series from an excellent team. Markosia should be proud to showcase such British talent, showing that great things are ahead. This is also a coup for the PSP Comics network and what mobile comics are all about.

Defiantly recommended!

Review: Cancertown: An Inconvenient Tooth

The team behind Cancertown should have nothing but pride about this 6 issue series.

From the story itself to the art, colours, letters and the cover this is an all round, well plotted series. This story would work well as a Vertigo title and Markosia have found themselves a real gem.

Vince Morley isn’t the sort of protagonist that you find yourself rooting for, but as the series progresses you find yourself bonding with him. Cy Dethan has made this a well paced series which would be amazing in the print format, but on the screen it keeps you going from one page to another – taking in the madness of Cancertown that he has created.

Stephen Downey's pencils fit the mood so well for this story, with some horrifying creatures and some epic scenes which will stay in my head for a long time. These pencils, combined with the colours from Mel Cook create the nightmares that Cancertown has along with the parts of the ‘real’ world in a grim and gritty style.

Nic Wilkinson’s lettering adds to the story, giving the printed words flesh and feeling that I haven’t seen for a long while.

Paul Cartwright's cover creates an immediate impression and lets you know what’s in store for you inside. So much so that my wife, looking over my shoulder, said how amazing it looked – which is high praise indeed.

Vince Morley is a man with big problems and a brain tumour like a baby’s fist, living with one foot in a monstrous alternate world he calls Cancertown. When the lost and dispossessed of London start tripping over the same cracks in reality he spends his life avoiding, Morley realises he must confront the residents of Cancertown – and risk finding his place among them.

This is a story about a man who lives in two worlds, and although we are trying to make sense of what is real and what isn’t – he is also making sense of his place in both worlds.

I can’t emphasise enough what an amazing story this is – perhaps its because I’m from the 2000AD generation, but I’m sure that our friends in the US would enjoy this too. For those of you who read Hellblazer and the like – read this now!

Cancertown: An Inconvenient Tooth is available from PSP Comics and Markosia from today – check out the website at www.cancertown.co.uk

Roll on the sequel I say!

While we're on the subject of reviews, I was recently sent a copy of a book called Captain Caned, by its clearly unhinged creator, Jim Morris. This was quite a revelation to me, as I can honestly say I've never read anything remotely like it. You know that lurching feeling you get if you lean too far back in your chair and rock just past the critical angle and all of a sudden you're falling - but at the last fraction of a second you catch yourself? The experience of reading Captain Caned is a lot like that. So much so, in fact, that it's actually hard to even describe the thing, much less review it.

Certainly, I could talk about the plot and structure - but to do so, I think, would be to miss the point of the book. The artwork in Captain Caned doesn't just tell the story - it is the story. This is a book in which every character is a fluid cacophony of hyper-expressive pseudo-anatomy and a simple trip to the pub becomes a mind-manglingly flamboyant odyssey into the unknown. The most mundane of human experiences is drenched in magic and horror - which, when it comes down to it, is the way things ought to be. Always.

Captain Caned is available from Waterstones right now, and it's a strongly recommended read if you like to be challenged (as well you should). It's definitely a book worth supporting because we absolutely need Jim Morris to keep working in comics.

To be perfectly frank, it terrifies me to imagine what he'd be doing with his time otherwise...

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