Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Portrait of a Surreal Killer

Ninja'd with permission from the pages of month's Starburst Magazine, this is journalist, raconteur and suspected cannibal P. M. Buchan's review of White Knuckle:

From the blackened mind of a man that obsesses over human trafficking and thinks that fist-sized brain tumours might lead to other worlds comes White Knuckle, the new Markosia graphic novel in which the past catches up to a retired serial-strangler.  Written by the eloquently perverse Cy Dethan, lettered by frequent collaborator Nic Wilkinson and illustrated by Valia Kapadai, the dissonance between the dark subject matter and Valia’s charming artwork plays out superbly, imbuing the characters with a warmth that defies their troubled pasts. As with the best of Dethan’s work the past and present clash jarringly, with an aged killer known as The Gripper inadvertently intervening in the life of his only surviving victim.  The dialogue has Dethan’s usual gutter flair across an engaging plot and a surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of a killer.  I’d go so far as to say that Dethan engages with the human side of this story more effectively than he does with the sci-fi and supernatural elements that characterise much of his other work, meaning that like Slaughterman’s Creed before it White Knuckle is a resounding success.  Obviously not everybody will share my macabre bent or interest in serial killers and some readers might find this graphic novel outright repulsive, but it isn’t needlessly sadistic and doesn’t relish in gore like so many modern horror comics, rather it relies on strong characters and plotting to capture a story that just might be the most sensitive portrayal of a monster you’ll read this year.

Issue #378 of Starburst also features a one-page comic strip by Mr. Buchan, entitled "Zingo's Lament", showcasing both his own writing and the equally ghoulish art of Joseph Whiteford.

Another item in the win column over the last week was Lee Grice and Stacey Whittle's take on the book, which you can hear during the first 20 minutes or so of Small Press Big Mouth #39. Also tackled in a review-packed episode are Porcelain, The Butterfly Gate, Disconnected Vol 1, Sgt Mike Battle #17, Leroy and Popo, Robot Shorts and No More Heroes #1 & #2

SPBM is always a great show, and I find the episodes where nice things are said about me and my creative collaborators particularly gratifying. So much so, in fact, that I am forced to resort to a "smiley". Apologies to those who may take offence. :)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

We're Putting the Band Back Together, and We're on a Mission from God...

In my whole life, right from my earliest interactions with human beings, I can't think of a single time someone has handed me one of their most prized and valuable toys and said, "here - break this for me."

That simply never happened.

So put yourself in my position for a moment when, during an otherwise normal and productive conversation, an author by the name of Barry Nugent essentially opened up his entire toybox and instructed me not only to "break one" but to actually pick the one I liked the most and destroy it. That, in a broad sense and with only minor factual adjustment in the service of dramatic effect, was the conversation that culminated in Wrath of God, the one-shot I wrote for Barry's first anthology of expanded universe stories from his Unseen Shadows novels.

Wrath of God was a multi-narrative dissection of Reverend Jonathan Bishop, charting his decades-long transition from from devout but troubled youth to murderous martyr on a mission from a vengeful god. It was a metric fuck-tonne of fun to write (particularly knowing that it'd be Steve Penfold and Gat Melvin bringing it to life), and before the ink was even dry on the ungodly thing Barry and I were already talking about doing something even more ambitious with the character.

At this point, I'm simply going to yield the floor to The Reverend's creator for the formal announcement:

The Reverend: Blood Cries Out – The First Full-Length Unseen Shadows Graphic Novel Is Announced

And drum roll… we now have a title for the very first full-length Unseen Shadows graphic novel, which has been in development for a little while now. The story will centre on everyone’s fave vigilante from Fallen Heroes – Jonathan Bishop, aka The Reverend. 

Written by Cy Dethan with art by Steve Penfold, colours by Gat Melvin and letters by Nic Wilkinson the story will be called The Reverend: Blood Cries Out.

For me, it’s just fantastic that the entire team who worked on the first Reverend one-shot for Tales of the Fallen have come back for a second round and this time Cy is bringing a story that four times bigger and probably four times the body count.

Cy is working on the story, the main outline is pretty much fleshed out and it’s a fantastic tale. I won’t say too much more except it will be set after Wrath of God and before the events of Fallen Heroes. The story will also feature at least one cameo from one of the main characters from the novel (answers on a postcard as to who it could be).

More news soon!

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