Small Press Sundays

Like so many others I started out in the business making minicomics, collaborating on fanzines and concocting stripzines with fellow weirdoes, outcasts and addicts. Even today, seeing the raw stuff of creativity in hand-crafted paper pamphlets – or better yet professionally printed packages which put dreamers’ money where their mouths are – still gets me going in ways which imperil my tired old heart…

So here’s a long-overdue peek at a brilliant publishing project bringing a wealth of independent graphic craft to your attention…

DiRTY ROTTEN Comics #8

By various, Edited by Gary Clap & Kirk Campbell (Throwaway Press)
No ISBN

Graphic narrative and cartooning covers a vast range of genres, formats, disciplines and tastes. Moreover, to my jaded old eyes, these days all the very best and most imaginative work seems to come from outside the pool of professional creators and publishers from what used to be called the “Small Press” …

At the moment in Britain we’re blessed with a fresh, vital and engaging wave of strip-makers and DiRTY ROTTEN Comics is periodically gathering up a wide sampling of the most impressive work and packaging it in sleek, professional-looking black-&-white books I would have killed to be printed in back in the so-cool, tech-deprived Seventies…

The brainchild of – and edited by – Gary Clap and Kirk Campbell, this splendidly broad church of graphic recollection, exploration, extrapolation and fancification is a superb snapshot of the creative vitality, welcome diversity and uncompromising inclusivity of the modern stripzine scene, and sheer heaven for an avowed sucker for all forms of black and white art such as we. I gravely mourn its passing in both film and comics media…

This particular compendium – the Autumn 2016 edition – opens with whimsical rumination in ‘Lady Masque’ by David Robertson and segues into nostalgic reflection with Henry Miller’s charming ‘Real Roman Coins’ before sliding towards comedic anarchy in ‘Journey into Stupid: Summer’ from Claude T. C. & Kyle Gerdes…

Andrew Warwick then heads into spooky M. R. James territory with ‘Insert 20 Pence’ whilst Joanna Harker Shaw waxes poetic with ‘Extract from ‘The Lesson’’ after which ‘Wallace’ experiences a technical itch in a comedy short from Kevin Loftus.

Maria Stoian explores domestic isolation in ‘Nighttime Routine’ whilst a child’s salient question gets a typically brusque adult answer in ‘Seabass’ by Stanley Miller.

Petitecreme’s manga-styled discursive debate on mourning in ‘It’ll Be OK’ quickly gives way to frustrating and surreal terror courtesy of Benjamin Leon’s ‘Knots’ and trenchant black humour in ‘What A Catch’ from James Gifford.

Social overload leads to a welcome moment of calm in ‘Dandelion’ by Francis M. whilst Faye Spencer displays another method of maintaining equilibrium in ‘Bile’ even as Lukasz Kowalczuk shows the world’s next owners at their unsavoury worst in ‘Hollow Earth’.

Benjamin A.E. Filby introduces us to a very human monster in ‘SANGUISUGE’ whilst Scott Wrigg nervously anticipates ‘Those Days’ and bereavement concerns inspire Rozi Hathaway’s bleak and languid ‘Sørgedag’.

Mock heroics and a search for love (or at least acceptance) concern diminutive ‘Sir Tramsalot’ in Ben Hutching’s mirthful, moving vignette, whilst Jey Levang examines the downside of immortality in ‘Amaranthine’ and Tom Mortimer considers the ramifications and necessity of population control in ‘#Neutered’.

A delicious moment of domestic veracity in depicted in ‘Maladroit’ by Josh Hicks after which Elias Bevan comments on the small press creative mill with ‘Grow Them…’ before this aggregate walk on the personal side concludes in epic style with James Wragg’s poignant mystic ‘Remembrance’

Concise, expressive, intimate and evocative, this is a compendium with something for everybody who loves the comics medium and is well worth your time, money and impassioned support.

All content © 2016 by their respective creators.
For more information and sales details check out THROWAWAYPRESS.COM

Small Press Sundays

Like so many others I started out in the business making minicomics, collaborating on fanzines and concocting stripzines with fellow weirdoes, outcasts and addicts. Even today, seeing the raw stuff of creativity in hand-crafted paper pamphlets – or better yet professionally printed packages which put dreamers’ money where their mouths are – still gets me going in ways which endanger my tired old heart…

With that in mind here are two more superb offerings from one of my favourite independent publishers of the moment…

Wolf Country #5

By Jim Alexander, Will Pickering, Jim Campbell & Liz Howarth (Planet Jimbot)

Go read this review then come back here.

As well as stunning graphic novels, anthologies and one-shots, independent publisher Planet Jimbot (likely lads Jim Alexander & Jim Campbell) also produce proper periodical comicbooks, and damned good ones. Vying for the accolade of their very best of the moment (neck and neck with GoodCopBadCop, depending on which one I’m actually holding) is their eerie otherworld socio-political saga blending the most evocative and captivating genre tropes of Westerns with supernatural horror stories: Wolf Country.

Complementing the recent release of the first WC trade paperback collection, this latest instalment in the expanding saga returns us to The Settlement where a dwindling congregation of devout vampires prove their faith daily by eking out a peril-fraught existence in the midst of their unnatural, pagan enemies; assorted tribes of bestial werewolves.

The ferocious, uncontrollable Lycanthropes infest the badlands surrounding the enclave as well as the distant city-state carved out by their forward-looking, progressive vampire brethren who are increasing, leaving the faith in favour of temporal comfort and scientific progress. Sides are being drawn in an inevitable clash of belief systems…

The Settlement has just survived the latest full-moon assault by another pack, this time employing a giant monster wolf. They only survived because of the intervention of heavily-armed Kingdom troops who have imposed their own draconian style of martial law. In the days following, brutal Sergeant Urquhart has tortured settler-scout Carmichael, convinced he knows where the missing boy celebrity Luke – famed in the city as the prophesied “Boy Who Killed Wolf” as gone…

Temporary leader Natasha is in turmoil. Her husband Halfpenny would not stand for these atrocities, but he has been spirited away to the Kingdom on some mystery mission for The High Executor

Her tensions only increase after she contacts Luke through dreams and discovers he has discarded all notions of his foretold destiny and made a life for himself amongst the wolves, humans and lycanthropes in the vast unknown wilds…

Halfpenny would be unable to help even if he knew. His time in civilisation has found him used as a Judas Goat to get close to radical, rebel vampires in a no-go zone dubbed Free State. The attempt led to death, a carefully instigated riot and even greater submersion in the fetid swamp of City politics, but also a tantalising glimpse at a true sacrament of faith and mystery that he must pursue…

Back at the Settlement, Natasha does the only thing she can to spare Carmichael’s agonies and offers to lead Urquhart to where the fugitive Luke and his new family enjoy a life of wild freedom…

To Be Continued…

After a thoroughly beguiling and meticulous stage setting and plot seeding process, Wolf Country is gearing up to a fantastic second act that promises drama, action, suspense and even more mystery. Don’t wait for the next book compilation, climb aboard the feral express right now…
Story © 2016 Jim Alexander (story) & Will Pickering (art).
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/266647799/wolf-country5

The Samurai

By Jim Alexander, Luke Cooper, Jim Campbell & Ed Murphy (Planet Jimbot)

Clearly men of broad and wide-ranging tastes in term of comics adventure, Jim Alexander and regular collaborator Luke Cooper have turned their creative juices loose on the venerable sub-genre of itinerant Bushido warriors with this deceptively enthralling one-shot.

A nameless, weary swordsman, The Samurai is first seen returning home after faithful service in the wars against Mongol invaders. Tragically, a longed-for reunion with his family is forever forestalled when he finds their dismembered corpses in his burned-out village. Implacably he begins stalking the vile bandits who killed them…

However, in his righteous rage he underestimates his foes and is nearly despatched to join his loved ones until fate monstrously intervenes…

A broken, brooding nomad, his hunt for the remaining marauders takes him to a wooded region and another ravaged house in a ‘Burning Forest Clearing’. His decision to search the dwelling for survivors is a grave mistake as he is ambushed by diabolical cannibals and left for dead, but when a little girl comes to his aid he finally finds the strength to overcome.

Good thing too, as the flesh eaters have returned for their next meal…

An iconic blend of exotic action and philosophy liberally dosed with classic supernatural elements and overtones, this is a no-nonsense romp to delight the senses and fire the hearts of all lovers of ancient oriental excitement.
© 2016 Jim Alexander (story) & Luke Cooper (art)
https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/273712752/the-samurai

Small Press Sunday


I started out in this game when marks on paper were considered Cutting Edge, making minicomics, collaborating on fanzines and concocting stripzines with fellow weirdoes, outcasts and comics addicts. Even today, seeing the raw stuff of creativity in hand-crafted paper pamphlets still gets me going in ways that threatens my tired old heart…
With that in mind, here’s a selection of tantalising treats that have landed in my review tray recently…
A few days before I began a major writing project with an insane deadline, I reviewed the magnificent GoodCopBadCop collections (still readily available and waiting to make your existence worthwhile…). In the same package was the first issue of the latest storyline and now that my day job’s back to normal – and with deepest apologies to Jim and the lads – here’s that promised review of the new follow-up case…

GoodCopBadCop Casebook #3.1 ‘Only Pigs and Horses’ Part 1
By Jim Alexander and Aaron Murphy, with Chris Twydell & Jim Campbell (Planet Jimbot Comics)

As well as mind-boggling graphic albums, independent publisher Planet Jimbot (Jims Alexander & Campbell with an ever-shifting pool of graphic talent) also delivers proper black-&-white comicbooks: none better than the continuing exploits of the most challenging rozzer in the history of crime.

City of Glasgow Police Inspector Brian Fisher is a worthy, weary, dedicated public servant with the oddest partner an honest copper could ever imagine – his own ruthless, rule-less crazy-man bad side…

Following directly on from the last book collection (GoodCopBadCop Casebook volume 2) this deceptively moody yarn finds Fisher about to start work again after a long period of sick leave. He’s been stood down ever since he caught catching a macabre, mutilating serial killer who left his bloody mark on the seemingly inoffensive Inspector.

Also out of sorts is his assistant Detective Sergeant Julie Spencer, who’s presently kipping on his couch. She was starting to piece together the truth about Fisher’s condition, but just stopped caring when her mother died…

Before he was a quietly effective Detective, Fisher learned his trade in the mounted police division and spent many educational hours doing community policing for the Violence Reduction Unit, visiting schools where the kids were more ruthlessly ferocious than any full-grown bad guy. Moreover, Brian’s condition is not a total secret. Certain higher-ups know that he goes off the rails but no one important has complained yet and the clean-up rate is phenomenal…

Those halcyon days on horseback come back to haunt Brian here and now as a ghastly atrocity is invoked when a new nutter hits the streets and, with astounding overkill, butchers two beat coppers.

Back in the saddle, Brain immediately makes a connection to the events at the Tannoch police stables thirteen years previously and heads to Barlinnie jail to interview an old lag who knew the original perpetrator “Peter the Horse”.

For a sordid and risky moment of quid pro quo, Michael offers Brian the full SP on the maniac – including the fact that he’s been dead for year…

He also reveals that Peter had an acolyte: another Peter the Horse in the making and one that been out in the real world for six months now…

To Be Continued…

This is another beautifully paced, chillingly unfolding mystery soaked in chilling complexity and shocking moments, tailor made to be a movie or late-night Scandi-style drama serial…

This deftly underplayed, chillingly believable and outrageously black-humoured serial is a magnificent addition to the annals of Tartan Noir: smart, compelling, compassionate and fiercely engaging. If you like your crime yarns nasty and your heroes deeply flawed, GoodCopBadCop is a series you must not miss.
GoodCopBadCop Casebook #3.1 © 2016 Jim Alexander (story) and Aaron Murphy (art.)

Planet Jimbot has a splendid online shop so why not check it out?

Small Press Sunday

I started out in this game just before the pyramids were built, making minicomics, collaborating on fanzines and concocting stripzines with fellow weirdoes, outcasts and comics addicts. Even today, seeing the raw stuff of creativity in hand-crafted paper pamphlets – or better yet professionally printed packages which put dreamers’ money where their mouths are – still gets me going in ways that threaten my tired old heart…

With that in mind here’s a quartet of little gems and treats that have landed in my review tray recently…

App-1 #1

By Jim Alexander, Eva Holder, Conor Boyle, iella & various (Planet Jimbot)

As well as stunning graphic novels, independent publisher Planet Jimbot (likely lads Jim Alexander & Jim Campbell and an ever-shifting pool of burgeoning talent) also deliver proper comicbooks, and recently added to the simple superb Wolf Country and assorted anthologies was this wryly off-kilter full-colour entry into the world of superhuman adventurers…

Comprised of interconnected vignettes it all begins with ‘Tongue Lasher’ by Alexander, illustrator Eva (Bad Tooth) Holder & letterer Campbell who introduce an Earth under the scaly domination of nasty lizard men dubbed “The Bogeys” where curfew-breaking kids cower in fear until they meet an old dosser who tells them of the world’s greatest hero: a perfect superman now mysteriously vanished and forgotten…

However uttering aloud the forbidden name “App-1” carries fatal consequences…

Harking back to earlier, happier times ‘Above Us Only Sky: Part 1’ (Alexander, Conor (Dead Roots) Boyle & Campbell) reveals the superman in all his puissant glory after which ‘The Scorch App-1 Interview’ allows inside his head for some character-revealing intimate moments before ‘Above Us Only Sky: Part 2’ finds the hero nonplussed when a deadly meteor turns out to be occupied with something from “out there” before the first answers to all our questions are covered in ‘Scout’ Alexander, iella (The Ugly Duckling) & Campbell when a learned professor offers the hero a solution to unsuspected night terrors and performance anxieties. Of course sometimes it’s best to let such things alone…

With pin-ups and design sketches by Holder and Fin Cramb, this cheery, all-ages snappy Sci Fi superhero romp is the tantalising start of what promises to become a firm fan favourite in years to come…

© 2015 Jim Alexander and the respective artists.

App-1 #1 is available to buy at the Planet Jimbot shop: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/241056959/app-11

Assassin’s Creed: Trial by Fire #1

By Anthony Del Col, Conor McCreery, Neil Edwards & various (UbiSoft/Titan Comics)

I don’t normally cover actual comic issues but since somebody asked very politely, just this once I’m going to break my own rules. Although it’s not strictly small-press or self-published there’s nowhere else I can cover this first issue, so here goes…

Assassin’s Creed is a historical fiction action-adventure open world stealth video game, comprising, as of right now, nine main games and the usual wealth of multi-media supporting stuff. The games are available on almost every type of platform and are rather popular.

Apparently the core concept is derived from the 1938 anti-fascist historical/allegorical novel Alamut by Slovenian writer Vladimir Bartol and incorporates concepts from the Prince of Persia series. Broadly speaking, the game concept details the eternal battle between two ancient secret societies: The Brotherhood of Assassins and The Templars.

This lends itself to an infinite variety of scenarios for all-action tales such as this one from Titan Comics in which bored and idle conspiracy theorist Charlotte de la Cruz suddenly finds herself in the middle of one, thanks to her unsuspected genetic inheritance coming to the fore after playing a certain video game for too long and too well…

All too soon she’s thigh deep in death and danger thanks to her sharing the scary gift of many members of the Brotherhood: the ability to tap the memories of past lives.

Now, with an awful lot of people trying to kill her in spectacular fashion, The Brotherhood have specifically recruited her because something in her head (from an ancestor who endured the horrific Salem Witch Trials in 1692) holds clues to a threat very much active in the present.

And of course it’s a secret an awful lot of people want to kill her to keep…

There’s little more I can disclose without spoiling it for you but it’s all slickly engaging – courtesy of writers Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery (Kill Shakespeare) and illustrator Neil Edwards (Doctor Who: Four Doctors) – as it races along and will certainly please fans of the game and the genre. I think I’ll wait until the book compilation comes out though…

™ & © 2015 UbiSoft. All rights reserved.

Small Press Sunday

I started out in this game just before the pyramids were built, making minicomics, collaborating on fanzines and concocting stripzines with fellow weirdoes, outcasts and comics addicts. Even today, seeing the raw stuff of creativity in hand-crafted paper pamphlets – or better yet professionally printed packages which put dreamers’ money where their mouths are – still gets me going in ways that threaten my tired old heart…

With that in mind here’s a quartet of little gems and treats that have landed in my review tray recently…

Wolf Country #1-4
By Jim Alexander, Will Pickering & Luke Cooper (Planet Jimbot)

No ISBNs:

As well as stunning graphic novels, independent publisher Planet Jimbot (likely lads Jim Alexander & Jim Campbell) also deliver proper comicbooks, and possibly their best title of the moment is an eerie ongoing otherworld religio-political saga with disturbing echoes of Westerns like Unforgiven and The Searchers.

Of course here the “good guys” are a sect of devout vampires stuck in a fort in the desolate badlands, surrounded by hostile tribes of werewolves, whilst their own progress-minded government are methodically abandoning the old ways they cherish in favour of a soulless, ruthless, rationalist super-state…

Wolf Country #1 by Alexander and illustrator Luke Cooper opens in the big city and introduces ‘Luke’, a young man with a potent future which begins to unfold when a gigantic wolf-thing goes rogue in the metropolis yet is somehow miraculously destroyed by the inconsequential waif.

Three years later the infamous “Boy Who Killed Wolf” has relocated to The Settlement, a fundamentalist outpost on the frontier between vampire and werewolf territories where the faithful follow the doctrines of their Holy Scriptures and daily confront their eternal enemies in the traditional ways. Here, after a close encounter with the hirsute savages, young Luke explains what actually happened that night to his companion, mentor and chief scout Carmichael

The boy’s unlikely feat made him an overnight sensation among vampire-kind, a symbol of prophecy proved; but the adulation and agendas of others were not for him and as soon as he reached his majority – and despite being an unbeliever – he headed out to The Settlement to live his own life and seek his own answers…

Perhaps it was that drive that compelled him to go native and stay out all alone in the wilderness after he and Carmichael narrowly escaped a wolf attack…


Wolf Country #2 finds Will Pickering taking up the illustrator’s burden – although Cooper remains as cover artist – as ‘Kingdom Come’ follows Settlement leader Zealot Halfpenny as he reluctantly transports a captured werewolf back to the decadent, science-loving city.

It is not his idea. As the helicopter takes the sacrificial beast to The Kingdom for the populace’s regular Bread-and Circuses bloodletting, Halfpenny is ordered to stay aboard whilst a contingent of arrogant, irreverent, heavily-armed troops billet themselves in his spartan badlands fort.

It seems the High Executor himself wants to see the leader of the quaint religious freaks. Apparently there is talk and fallout over The Settlement’s loss of the legendary and beloved “Boy Who Killed Wolf”…

Later, whilst menacing atheist Sergeant Urquhart attempts to intimidate and dominate the settlers, in faraway City Chambers Halfpenny learns the real reason he has been summoned…


The suspense mounts in ‘Wax and Wane’ (WC #3, which also proudly lists the plethora of awards the first two issues garnered) when, at the Settlement, Urquhart presses the devout throwbacks into joining him in a sortie against the lupine tribes just as the moon enters its most dangerous phase.

Meanwhile in the Kingdom, Halfpenny is dragooned into working as a stalking horse for the draconian Department of Purity, interviewing a radical named Fabian currently living in the bloodily bohemian enclave of wrong-thinkers and backwards-lookers dubbed “Free State”…

In the badlands natural foes Carmichael and Urquhart warily test each other out and quite forget who their real enemies are, but in Free State Halfpenny’s interview with Fabian goes disastrously awry. The rebel has honeyed words and access to sacred writings which shake the pious outsider to his core, but before he can properly form a response the Executor’s troops move in and start slaughtering…

Meanwhile back at the Settlement, with the soldiers and male settlers still deep in-country, the massed wolf tribes attack the fort…


Fresh off the presses, Wolf County #4 (with supplemental interior art from Cooper) brings us up to date and pops the mounting tension bubble with all-out action as the Settlement walls are breached before the ‘Cavalry’ arrive, whilst in Free State a murderous riot ensues and Halfpenny reveals the uncanny abilities which underpin his ferocious reverence to Scripture…

And in the bloody aftermath at the fort, an unchecked and out-of-control Urquhart now turns his sadistic attention on the settlers in his quest for the truth about Luke’s whereabouts…

To Be Continued…

Brooding, intriguing and utterly compelling from the get-go, Wolf Country takes an overworked trope and transfuses it with new sparkle and true potency as heroism, passion, faith and ambition all take a pounding as a war between Church and State becomes increasingly derailed by hairy barbarians at the gate and the visions of an outrider from the wilderness divining a dangerous and radical third way for all…

Story © 2013, 2014, 2015 Jim Alexander. Art © 2014, 2015 Will Pickering. Issue one art © 2013, Luke Cooper.

Wolf Country and other fine comics and books are available at the Planet Jimbot shop so go to : https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PlanetJimbot

Department of the Peculiar #1 & 2


By Rol Hirst & Rob Wells
No ISBNs:

In strikingly similar vein from alternative press veterans Rol Hirst and Rob Wells is a splendid mash-up of X-Men and X-Files, given a splendidly seductive British taste and tone.

DotP #1 sees scripter Hirst and illustrator Wells take a laconic look at what ails the world in ‘Sick Day’ where we meet Malcolm Drake: an American metahuman embarrassed by his powers and hiding out in the UK.

His sad life didn’t get any better this side of the pond but suddenly changes forever when he is blackmailed by the ever-vigilant government quango known as the Department of the Peculiar into joining their covert, severely under-funded and cash-poor rapid response team.

Malcolm makes people sick (that’s his power, not his attitude – well, maybe a bit of his attitude too) and when abrasive chief administrator Lisa Cole confronts him in a Manchester shopping centre that is exactly what she needs.

Another “Peculiar” has seized control of an office building owned by food conglomerate Matheson-Beaumont. He did it by making people ill and wilfully distributing heart attacks and transfats amongst the security staff.

Threatened with deportation unless he replaces D.O.T.P.’s already-downed field agent, Malcolm reluctantly approaches the hostage building, but discovers that his strange gift can’t protect him from a heart attack either…

The story concludes in #2 with ‘Cure for Cancer’ as Drake provides a life-passing-his-eyes flashback and origin tale whilst aggrieved eco-warrior and nutritionally-abused walking cholesterol bomb Paul Aday carries out his ghastly revenge on the execs who poisoned a nation.

However Malcolm is made of stern stuff and rallies just enough to do the necessary…

Gross, scary, funny and wildly beguiling, this is outrageous non-stop spoofery, surreal whimsy, deceptively gritty action and bureaucrat-bashing as only world-wearily laconic Brits can do it, marking this as one of the best indie titles I’ve seen in decades…

Comicbook sized in stunningly powerful black & white, Department of the Peculiar #1 & 2 are available from rolhirst.co.uk and you can follow him on Twitter (@rolhirst) whilst these and Rob’s other wonderful canon of cartoon fun can be found via crispbiscuit.co.uk. He can be Twitterstalked on (@robertdwells).

© 2012, 2013 Rol Hirst and Rob Wells.
www.facebook.com/departmentofthepeculiar

Vreckless Vrestlers #2-5


By Lukasz Kowalczuk, translated by Aneta Kaczmarek (Vreckless Comics!)
No ISBNs

Vreckless Vrestlers is a 5-chapter miniseries by Polish cartoonist Lukasz Kowalczuk, with a breathtakingly simple yet irresistibly engaging premise. The star is a temporally-transcendent fight-promoter abducting the greatest warriors from all time and space to fight in his Professional Interdimensional Wrestling League – brutal gladiatorial contests with only “One Rule – No Rules!”…

Produced as 210x150mm flip-book fight-fests, the progressively more excessive bouts feature astounding cartoon hyper-violence in the manner of Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit. Unmarred by subplot or subtext these tales delivering tons of spectacular, primal, monster-hitting action with oodles of juicy, oozy, gory sound effects and no tedious dialogue or badinage to slow down the horrific bone-crushing action…

Issue #2 sees Original Hippie Killer battle beaded barbarian lass Barbarica in one half whilst Sergeant Reptilion takes on Spike Lee (no, not the film guy), on the flipside, augmented and segregated with a 4-page puzzle section, whilst the next power-packed instalment sees Barbarica face Reptilion for a place in the ‘Mean Event’ that concludes hostilities.

Also tussling for a championship slot in #3 are Vegan Cat and The Eye, and the bouts are separated by hilarious faux merchandising ads, battle stats and a cut-out mask of current champion Bullgod for you to excise and wear with pride…

Issues 4 and 5 comprise one big, all action big bonanza finale-extravaganza which takes the reader to the edge of the seat and into bizarre metaphysical territory so hold on to your hats and your free stickers…

These little booklets are manic, eccentric and eminently addictive celebrations of the unfettered artist given carte blanche. Each black-&-white issue (limited to print runs of 200 in English and Polish) comes with all sorts of extras like promo cards, collectible stickers – and mini-album – and can be obtained by contacting www.vrecklessvrestlers.tumblr.com, www.fb.com/vrestlers or Lk@tzzad.pl.

Daft, thrilling, madcap and wonderful, if you need a little break, or contusion, or abrasion, this might be the very remedy…

…And if you’re irresistibly wedded to the future, Vreckless Vrestlers is also available on ComiXology and at Streets of Beige so there’s no reason not to grab a ringside seat in the comfort of your own cosy crash-pad, dude……

© 2014 Lukasz Kowalczuk. All rights reserved.

The Strange Investigators 01: The Snake Job


By Luke Melia & Bobby Peñafiel
ISBN: 978-1-50581-207-7

At the luxury end of the self-publishing spectrum is this superbly high-end production number: a proper full-colour graphic novel in everything but page count.

Luke Melia and his collaborative artistic cohorts have been making superbly engaging contemporary genre stories for a while now (see Occulus and The White Room of the Asylum) and this light-hearted paranormal lark is the first chapter of their next graphic novel foray.

Complete in one issue, The Snake Job introduces young entrepreneurs Alex, Katelyn and Tony who have found a unique niche market for their services: so unique, in fact, that there’s no money in it and precious few customers.

The newly launched Strange Investigators – that’s a job description not a character assessment – aren’t having the best time getting the business on an even footing. Investigating “anything unusual or unexplained” hasn’t been the cash-cow they expected and they really need to make some money to pay for all the really expensive paranormal detection kit they’re using.

That’s why, after a long period of prevarication, Alex finally agrees to accept “the Snake Job” Katelyn’s had on her desk for weeks.

Alex claims there’s no mystery to how a big serpent got on to a tropical island beach, but Tony and Katelyn think his strident reluctance to take the case is simply because their CEO is afraid of wasps…

With the lights cut off and no other choice, three days later Alex and Tony are on an all-expenses-included jaunt paid for by a company eager to build an hotel on some nice unspoiled beaches.

The afflicted isle is pretty much as imagined, and the lads aren’t expecting much more than sand, sunburn and poking an adder with a high-tech stick. They couldn’t be more wrong…

This sucker is big, it’s proper supernatural and the natives aren’t especially keen to see some outsiders trying to kill it with flamethrowers and explosives…

Ranging from wryly trenchant to outright hilarious, this funny foray into fantastic worlds and humdrum zero-hours Contretemps of the Unknown promises to be another superb and unmissable treat.

© 2015 Luke Melia.
Self published and available to buy on Amazon in print and also as a PDF version to buy on Luke’s gumroad page ( https://gumroad.com/lukemelia) at “pay whatever you want – even free”.