Saturday, 22 August 2015

Podcasts and contracts...

This week saw us being interviewed and generally chatting about comics in The Shed.
The Shed is where When Giant Monsters Attack Beautiful People Die podcast takes place.
We have a really enjoyable evening and look forward to doing it again one day, if they'll have us that is ... this episode actually runs for a good number of hours.
Also, my wife took this photo of Colin at a meal at a nice restaurant...
I think I might need to study that Accent UK contract again ... I'm more than a little worried that I may have actually signed up for more than I intended ...

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Reviews - WesterNoir #1

Latest review from Reading With A Flight Ring over at www.facebook.com/notes/reading-with-a-flight-ring

----------------------------------------------------------

Eduardo Serradilla over at www.eldiario.es.

Josiah Black had been lots of things in his life. Some were good others not so much. He assumed that, thanks to all the experience he had, he was ready to face any and all challenges. Having said that, just as the saying goes, “Fact is Stranger than Fiction” and after meeting Mrs. Anderson he will later bump into the elusive and enigmatic Mr. Caligary who will offer him the opportunity to see reality from a different perspective. From then on, Josiah Black will cease to be a lonesome gun-for-hire and become a hired hunter of strange paranormal phenomena, just like brothers Sam and Dean Winchester.

Thanks to the letters brought by Mr. Baylocke, Mr. Caligary’s courier, Black discovers the world is not the place he supposed it to be and that in it there are also nightmarish creatures, legendary beings and, in short, evil in all its forms.

As it tends to be the case, though, Mr. Caligary hasn’t told Black everything nor is Mr. Baylocke a trust-worthy person. This combination will take Black to a cold cell, charged with the murder of three sisters who apparently were not what they claimed to be.

WesterNoir, by Dave West and Gary Crutchley, is an amazing fusion between the classic Western stories and H. P. Lovecraft’s narratives. Supported by an elegant artwork which plays with white and black as Universal Horror Film movies used to do, Josiah Black’s adventures takes us to a world full with paranormal activities in a time-period in which this symbiosis does not usually happen (except for counted examples, such as Cowboys & Aliens).  
A voice from offstage is Dave West’s chosen tool to let us know Josiah’s thoughts which, in turn, intertwine with the other characters’ speech. This is another element the writer has placed a lot of care in as the characters express themselves with the linguistic characteristics of Coastal American English. Indeed, the characters in WesterNoir not only look like cowboys, they also sound like cowboys which makes this series even more believable.
WesterNoir is a well-composed, entertaining story which gets the reader hooked from the first moment, even though he or she is not a fan of Westerns. It is also proof that good stories can be published also by a small, independent publishing company, such as Accent Uk.

If you have some time to spare, I strongly recommend a visit to Accent UK’s webpage, www.accentukcomics.com.  There you will find a short but selected collection of titles Accent UK offers to readers demanding high quality products.

The only question left to ask is, “When is Book Five going to be available, please?”

WesterNoir © 2014 Accent Uk Comics.

-----------------------------------

Dion_Scrolls on geeksyndicate.co.uk

The clue’s in the title, but I’ll lay it out plain for you – WesterNoir is a magnificent mongrel. The creative team behind it have clearly spent some time sneaking around the genre graveyard, digging up the choicest bits and pieces for their grand project. I can only imagine their maniacal laughter as they shot bolt after bolt of lightning into their creation until it leapt twitching from the slab – a mashed up monster-hunting myth set in the wilds of the American West, ruefully wrapped in the twisted plots of the bitterest noir. Don’t be afraid. It won’t hurt you. Say hello to Josiah Black. T’ain’t his real name of course, but it’ll do for now. He’s running from a long history of blood and sorrow.

Trouble is, he spends so much time looking over his shoulder, he has no idea what he’s headed towards. When the woman with the dead eyes hires him to hunt down the fella who killed her family, he learns there are deadlier things than men abroad in those dusty frontier days. Ghouls, vampires, were-creatures – and who knows what else – hiding amongst ordinary people. Wolves in sheep’s clothing, stalking the innocent and devouring the vulnerable. It might be there’s no such thing as redemption, but if Black’s guns can take down a few of these monsters, save some folk that might have otherwise perished, well, at least he can begin to settle accounts. Join me after the jump where I’ll take you through each book briefly, then get into the overview.

Book 1: The Woman With The Dead Eyes introduces us to Josiah Black, Jim Wilson and the whole weird West. It’s a simple, harsh bounty hunter’s tale, made more interesting by its structure and the glimpses it affords us behind the curtain of normalcy. It’s essentially a pilot episode, but it has a distinctive narrative voice, reads smoothly and contains a couple of killer moments. The back up tale is a forgettable prequel, more mood piece than story. Book 2 is an absolute blast though, and easily my favourite to date. The Crocodile Tears of the Louisiana Swamp Men throws us into the midst of an horrific plot to create a new race. We flash back and forth between the action packed showdown and the beginnings of Black’s investigation. The narration is delightfully cynical and the black-hatted hunter is breathtakingly cool throughout. His choices may be less than admirable, but his single-minded determination makes him a compelling character to follow. What continues to draw me in as a reader though is the emotional underbelly of the anti-hero; his troubled past hidden behind an impassive fa├žade. Book 3 brings this to the fore and, whilst it lacks much action, it makes for a more mature read. The Siren’s Song of the Mississippi Mermaids is a deep breath between adventures. Black considers the life he’s walked into, and the life he’s left behind. New opportunities present themselves and they are sorely tempting to a vulnerable man. It is gentle, gallant even, and an unexpectedly touching journey. The denouement is a little abrupt (but no real surprise) and leaves Black in a tricky predicament. I wonder if this is the true beginning of WesterNoir as an ongoing run rather than a series of one-shots. Time will tell. The provocative title to Book 4 is advertised on the final page, and I find myself itching mightily to get hold of it.

AccentUK are an independent comics publisher who place a great deal of value on intelligent stories told from unusual perspectives. Take the time to imbibe a few and you’ll be as blown away as I was. It seems to me their book covers have done them little justice in the past, but the WesterNoir series bucks that trend with their bold headers and dramatic imagery. The books are eye-catching, exciting and intriguing artefacts that demand to be picked up. You can practically smell the pulp oozing from them; and little visual touches like creases, peels and scratches complete the illusion of battered books, long-treasured. These wear-marks may be fake, but the love poured into the tales is true enough. Dave West writes with economy and style. Each 36 page volume tells a complete tale, expands the world and fills in touches of back-story too. The dialogue is peachy; ever developing character and plot while showcasing a fine ear for accent. Old-fashioned American dialogue may be formal but it’s chock full of subtlety, and West writes with considerable fluency. His greatest success is in Black’s narrative voice running throughout the stories. The cynical voice-over has long been a staple of film noir, commenting upon both the action and the dialogue to undercut (or throw dramatic new light on) what is happening. It lends a certain tone to a story, and depth to a character that could otherwise appear callous or cold.

Gary Crutchley does a similarly grand job bringing the world of WesterNoir to life with his astonishing inks. Facial features are expertly picked out, costume and scenery given recognisable characteristics and atmosphere without ever feeling overworked – which is a wonderful trick if you can manage it. This lush economy can be seen throughout the books in various forms, from both sides of the creative team and, for me, it defines the style of the book. The general sparseness of background detail chimes with the Western sensibility (as do the occasionally ornate splashes of detail, when appropriate), while the bold shadows and harsh lines occasionally evoke the nightmare noir of Sin City. He makes use of a couple of watery grey shades to bring out the intermediate depth, but little more than that is required. Sepia tones might have been more appropriate for this world, and a different colour palette would have been nice for those times we look through Black’s special glasses, but I guess an indie budget only stretches so far. The layouts are used to control the narrative pace as much as its direction, and this is so finely gauged that you only realise the sheer variety of panel sizes, density and dimensions when you consciously look for it. These are people who know how to grab you and give you a great ride. There are certain images that you do kind of expect; shots and angles that form part of the visual vocabulary of Westerns and film noir. I was exceptionally pleased to see so many of them worked in without once jolting me out of the story. WesterNoir may be a patchwork creature, but the needlework is very fine indeed.

I’ve picked up a new AccentUK title each year ever since I came across them at Thought Bubble in 2010. Needless to say, I recommend you start doing the same.

Overall Rating: 4/5  (Book 1: 3/5   Book 2: 4/5   Book 3: 4/5)
GS Blogger: Dion Winton-Polak

 -------------------------

Patrick Scattergood on  curiosityofasocialmisfit.blogspot.co.uk

Synopsis

'WesterNoir' tells the story of Josiah Black, a man who has seen and done everything but in this book, his life is about to get a hell of a lot more complicated and dangerous!

Review

I've been reading quite a few western titles here and there ranging from the funny to the serious and everything in between.

After reading the book 'The 6 Gun Tarot' by RS Belcher, I was eager to read another western story but one with a difference and that is what we have here.

I'm not going to spoil the story for you but there's a really good supernatural edge to it but also a good and interesting twist at the end.  It left me itching to get to book two to see where the character is going to be taken next.

The story moves along at quite a fast pace but I liked the nods to Josiah Black's past but at the same time, leaves a lot to the imagination of the reader.  I've always enjoyed a title more when the writer takes the time to read the character in that style and doesn't insult the reader's intelligence.

As for the setting, the story manages to avoid the cliches that sometimes plague a western title.  In fact, while the writing does give a nod to the classic western style, at the same time it hurtles along to really get the reader in to the thick of the action.

The art here is superb.  The stark nature of the black and white art really makes some of the scenes look desolute and hopeless but in a way that makes the darker nature of the story come to the forefront off the book.  I also loved that some of the panels didn't go for the normal, bog standard angles to show us the action unfolding.  Instead the story had quite a cinematic yet subtle feel to it. 

At the end of the main story, you get an extra tale to whet your appetite named 'On Hallowed Ground' that shows a little bit more of the Jim Wilson character.  That adds a nice and unexpected layer to this book as it gives the character a little more depth than he would have had otherwise.  Once again the art is fantastic at conveying the dark and sinister nature of not only the story but it's surroundings as well. 

Add the art to the intelligence of the writing and that makes this a title that I will definitely be keeping up with.

Story 7.5/10
Art 8.5/10
Overall 16/20

-------------------------------------------

by intheblackhall on intheblackhall.wordpress.com

The woman with the dead eyes

Whenever I pick up something that has western in it’s title, review or description I’m hit with a ton of expectations. Mostly it is to do with the characters, the protagonist, the antagonist and everyone else that makes up and carries the plot and book 1 of WesterNoir doesn’t disappoint in the form of Josiah Black. Who immediately fits the other expectation, someone who is remorseful and possibly seeking redemption, when through his own narrative introduces a quick profile of himself and the stories told about him by others. In his own right he has already made you wonder about his origins and history within the first two pages, a story I hope gets its own book about how became this revered man who, “shot the wings off a hornet that bothered” him. He is then already a person of folklore who has already done things and we meet him slap bang in the middle of this “new beginning”.

This beginning is depicted through black and white art, I’m no expert on illustration in comic books or otherwise so my point of view is one of looking at the story and seeing if the art fits with it and compliments it. I think it does this and very well, for a western I think you need something that is quite “scratchy” and sets the story in a specific time, and the black and white art does just that plus it gives it that extra bit of grit alongside Black’s own demeanour.



What we learn quickly through Black’s interactions is that he doesn’t seem to be able to say “no” to a woman or to a plea for help, especially around cold killings that seem to have links to his own past. He is also as we quickly find out very handy with a gun but because of his quickness to accept the pleas of a woman, he doesn’t always see what is right in front of his face. A thought that is duplicated throughout this first book, things aren’t always what they seem.

What comes of this is a nice twist and revelation for Josiah as well as a new piece of kit to help him see things for what they are. It is when he is given this bit of kit that the front cover becomes part of the story and that little thought of “ah, that makes sense now” comes flooding in.

So on the hunt for a killer Josiah takes the job given to him by Mrs Anderson, which in turn gets him a job he wasn’t expecting that will continue in books 2, 3 and beyond. A job that thrusts the western and supernatural genres together as a fruitful relationship and by the end of this book you will want to know what Josiah is doing in Louisiana and book 2.

You will want to know because book 1 is a very good read, it takes you through the story at  a nice pace, introduces us to Josiah a man who grows on you as you get more and more snippets about him. A man who you think “yeah this guy is going to be kick-ass” and I want to stick with him. Mainly because, and I think this is what AccentUK do really well, he is human, no superpowers just a skill with a gun that he uses with great effect.

At the end of the book is a nice flashback to Jim Wilson, a character who I haven’t mentioned yet because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. What I will say though is now we’ve had one flashback I hope we get more as a way of delving further into things that were happening before we met Josiah Black.

----------------------

WesterNoir gets the thumbs up from Starburst.

A great surprise this weekend as the latest issue of Starburst (issue 379) was delivered...

in that it contained a review of our first issue of Westernoir...

A great review (I must confess that Gary actually added a lot to the dialogue of Issue 1, which improved it and no doubt impressed Starburst... there... my conscience is clear :o), which I read before setting off to a great Convention at the MCM in Manchester, where we sold plenty of copies and artist/co-creator Gary Crutchley was on hand to show people the first 13 pages of issue 2.


Monday, 10 August 2015

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Reviews - Zombies Anthology.


Review by Vic Spanner on www.whatevercomics.com in 2008

Welcome aboard Mark (Vic Spanner) Beechill, not happy with just making fine music Vic add his voice to what seems to be an Accent UK wave of approval, now without further delay, take it away...

After several weeks of my local comics dealer politely hassling me to buy it, I finally gave in and purchased the “Zombies” anthology, published by Accent UK in 2007. A collection of short tales mostly written and drawn by up-and-coming UK writers and artists, my first impression of this book was of a bumper edition of Tharg’s Future Shocks. Short, sharp tales, almost all told in six pages or less, most of the stories here manage to nail the art of telling the perfect short story. And even if some of them don’t, or aren’t your personal cup of tea art or story-wise, then there’s thirty-two to choose from, plus a lovely gallery at the end.

  The set starts with an introductory guide to all things undead, which has some nice film references in it for the knowing movie fan and a narrator who reminds me of the guy from Creepshow. What follows is a genuine variety of styles and ideas, too many too mention individually. Highlights for me include “Zombies” (Kieron Gillen and Andy Bloor) with its inevitably gruesome ending, the gorgeous artwork of “Tragic Kingdom” (Owen Johnson and Garry Brown), the undead boyband antics of Andy Winter and Natalie Sandell’s “Pop Zombie” (“they only want you fro your brains!”), and the great “Zombie Of The Great Unwashed” by Jason Cobley and Paul Harrison-Davies (a zombie down the jobcentre – worthy of it’s own series).

  If I have to pick one story though, my personal favourite has to be Bridgeen Gillespie’s “Dissolution”, which is like “The Bunny Suicides” written by David Lynch. It’s easily the most surreal (and oddly disturbing) thing on offer here in a collection that mixes humour, sadness, history and social commentary. Only a couple of the tales didn’t hit the mark for me, but as I mentioned, there’s something here for everyone, and at £6 for 168 pages, that’s got to be value for money.

  With a “Robots” anthology is due in 2008 with an increased page count, this looks to be a reliable source of emerging talent (with the help of a few elder statesmen like Steve Bisette) and ideas. Now I just need someone to draw my short story…

Review by Dave Hailwood on downthetubescomics.blogspot.com in 2008.

With the rapidly-approaching arrival of Accent Press Robots anthology, David Hailwood kindly provides downthetubes with a review of last year's collection, Zombies...

As a good friend of mine once said ‘Zombies are in many ways like skinheads. Quite comical when they’re on their own, but get them in packs and you’re in for a pasting!’

Well, the anthology from Accent UK certainly packs in enough zombies to give anyone a good pasting. The cunningly titled Zombies anthology weighs in at a hefty 168 pages, costs a mere £6.00 and contains the work of 50 creators from the small and large press comic scene.

With so many strips crammed inside (and indeed so many zombies) it would be natural to expect quite a few stinkers; fortunately these are few and far between.

What’s perhaps most impressive about this anthology is the sheer variety of stories on offer. Every creator seems to have tackled the zombie theme in a new and inventive way. There’s Zulu zombies, Big Brother zombies, Stuffed Rabbit zombies, Dole zombies, Boy Band zombies, Nightclub zombies, Carnival zombies and, of course, zombies from Cornwall.
There’s also a decent mix of comedy and tragedy. In ‘House Of The Dead’ Beano cartoonist Laura Howell does something I never would have dreamed possible – she actually manages to make Reality TV look interesting, providing a wealth of characters that it’s an absolute pleasure to see get eaten.

In contrast, Kieron Gillen and Andy Bloor provide a dark and gripping tale about one mans gradual loss of humanity as he attempts to survive a life among zombies, eventually resorting to cannibalism.

Other strips worthy of mention are ‘The Zombie Interviews’ by David Baillie, which contain possibly the worlds greatest collection of zombie fart gags, ‘Sacrifice’ by Kieran Brown, Nolan Worthington and Shaun Mooney, which has a very clean and dynamic art style, and the hilarious ‘An Alphabet of Zombies’ by Steve and Daniel Bissette (any strip that contains a zombie wearing his own backside as a hat is fine by me).

Fans of zombie movies will also enjoy the intertextual layers of many of the strips, with just about every famous zombie movie being referenced in some way inside (my favourites being the Umbrella contraceptives machine in Chris Doherty’s ‘Nightclub of the Living Dead’ and two Rome holiday ad posters put side by side to cunningly spell ‘Romero’ in Andrew Cheverton and Tim Keable’s ‘The Scent Of Coriander’).

People who aren’t fans of zombie movies will enjoy the … uh … shiny paper. In fact, yes, let’s talk about that shiny paper for a moment. This certainly isn’t just your bog standard small press affair put together on a photocopier at work whilst the boss’ back is turned. This is a professionally produced tome of a comic, wrapped in a blood-red card cover brilliantly illustrated by Steve Bissette and Shane Oakley (the only thing that could’ve possibly made it better is if it was bound in the flesh of the living, but you can’t have everything).

If the cover doesn’t attract you and the contents don’t attract you, chances are you’re dead already. In which case there’s little left to do except send Ash from Evil Dead round with a chainsaw to lop off your head. So, you see, there’s really no excuse to not go out and buy this Zombies anthology now, is there?

Go on… Join usssssss!

Review by Regie Rigby on www.silverbullet.com in 2007.

This is another book I picked up at Bristol but have only just gotten around to reading properly. Accent has developed a tradition of theming its more or less annual anthologies, and following hard on the heels of books full of stories about Pirates, Phobias, the labours of Hercules and War comes a book absolutely bursting at the seams with Zombies. The books are already available in selected comics stores, and will be solicited in Previews in the not too distant future. (I’ll give you the nod when…)

Like all anthologies Zombies is a bit of a mixed bag – which sounds like faint praise, but it isn’t. The fact is that while some of the offerings behind the blood red Steve Bissette cover are better than others, all of them are good. Positively the best kind of mixed bag possible!

From my point of view this chunky square bound black and white tome carries the added bonus of some top notch David Hitchcock artwork – something that we’ve been deprived of since he completed his Eagle Award Winning Springheeled Jack. Here he provides the visual element of ”An Mothley A An Ny-Marow”, or “Curse of the Undead”. Words are provided by Leah Moore and John Reppion, and the story, concerning a cursed mine and an evil Lord of the Manor is a little bit disjointed. Hitchcock’s art more than compensates for this though, and it’s really good to see his intricate pencils on a comics page again – by far the visual highlight of the book.

The story telling highlight for me was One, a quietly understated tale written by Darren Ellis supported by some sensitive plain line work from artist Roland Bird. Like all the best shorts there’s a lot more going on in this touching vignette of family life than at first meets the eye, but the twist at the end (not the one I was expecting) tells the reader everything they need to know about the world the family lives in. No explosions, no big speeches, no grand statements, heck, not even any actual Zombies. Just some subtle storytelling that does a lot more than you’d think.

It’s also an interesting example of how a writer can make use of the context in which their story will be read. We
know that this is a zombie story of some kind, so Ellis had no need to give us panels of exposition explaining how the undead have left their graves and begun to roam the streets. There are merely a couple of oblique references to “them”. That’s the beauty of this kind of anthology format, and it’s a trick that several of the other excellent stories in Zombies also use to good effect.

There are far too many individual tales in this book to go into them all in any detail – suffice to say that I enjoyed them all for different reasons. Highlights included Andrew Cheverton and Tim Keable’s The Scent of Coriander - at once a clever visualization of the lengths humans would go to just to continue with everyday life in a city infested by flesh eating undead, and a poignant love story. It was good to see Eagle Award winning writer Andy Winter teaming up with artist Natalie Sandells again on the satirical Pop Zombies. David Baillie’s six panel one page Zombie Interviews are also worthy of mention because every single one of them made me giggle.

There are nearly forty stories here, some fun, some scary, some moving, all good. It’s a fine addition to the Accent library of anthologies, and I commend it to
 


Review by Shane Oakley on the www.shaneoakley.blogspot.com in 2008.

Just finished reading ZOMBIES, the latest 'themed' anthology from Accent UK. If you love the 'living dead' genre, then you'll LOVE this book. You get a whopping 168 black and white pages of comic strips and art, sandwiched between a suitably grisly cover from the putrescent pen of Steve Bissette (who in the eighties, along with Alan Moore and John Totleben, worked on an epic run of Swamp Thing - easily the best horror comics that DC have EVER done), and a back cover (and a coupla pics inside) by yers truly. Zombies is a real labour of love (and death), publishers Dave West and Colin Mathieson have made every effort to rise above their 'small press' origins, and they do, in grave-robbing spades. With it's eclectic mix of artists/writers, both pro' and amateur, striking design work by Andy Bloor (who also draws one of the most chilling stories in the collection) and first rate production values, this book holds it's own among the 'big guns'. It's not without it's weak points, page numbering would've helped, and some of the stories are very slight, sometimes too-obviously influenced/inspired by Romero's movies and Shaun of the Dead. But most, Gary Crutchley's Job Satisfaction in particular, do it with wit and style. Zombies is far more 'hit', than 'miss', and for £6, it's a LOT of hit!



Review by Douglas Noble on www.bugpowder.com in 2008.

Let’s see if I can’t get to the end of this review without making a horrible zombie related pun, shall we? The sixth themed Accent UK anthology takes the increasing popular horror subgenre of zombie stories as it’s subject for a solidly packed volume. I count 41 items on the contents page, and with that amount of stories, almost everyone should be able to find something to their tastes.The trouble with zombies, or at least zombies in the popular consciousness since Night of the Living Dead, is that there is nothing intrinsically interesting about them. They are slow and relentless, yes, but they are also without personality or motive, being little more than brain-eating machines. This means that to create an interesting story using zombies the creators have to have that be about something other than the zombies. It’s just not enough to shout “Zombies!” in a loud voice an expect everyone to cheer, though there does seem to be an element that do think that it’s enough to do just that.
In something of a coup for Accent UK, Steve Bissette provides the gloriously ugly cover for the book, which reminds you how much his particular brand of grue has been missing from comics for that last few years. Hopefully this will be the first of many new things from his pen, as he also does the art inside for a rhyming alphabet of zombies from a script by his son, Daniel. It’s not quite Edward Gorey, but it is fun.
Co-Editor Dave West abuses his privileges as captain of this particular ship to submit a story guaranteed inclusion, The Slow Undeath. Luckily, it also happens to be the best thing in the book, and the only story to entire eschew the trappings of the genre. West approaches the idea of the zombie through a group of workers, following their gradual dissatisfaction as the years pass. This is done with an almost clinical eye, as West frames each passing year with an identical page layout, the final panel of which shows the workers dropping slowly back into the main group walking towards their offices. These remain the most chilling images in the book, and stay with the reader for a long while after.
The team of Kieron Gillen and Andy Bloor (or should that be Gillen Bloor?) provide a nasty little chuckle with their story of a man forced to survive amongst zombies by acting like them. It’s a story that cuts a bit deeper than most of the others in the anthology, bringing to mind similar scenes in Phillip Kaufman’s 197X remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Everyone can relate to the idea of trying to fit in, after all, and this pushes the idea to a hideous conclusion. Bloor’s art here is especially effective – the flow of his figure work has lost that stiffness that mars much of The Wolfmen, and it’s all the better for it. The deep shadows here recall not often point of comparison Charles Burns, whose art is ultimately cold and locked off from the reader, but rather EC artist Graham Ingels. Bloor has been getting steadily better over the last two years, and is one to watch.
The writing team of Leah Moore and John Reppion reprise their teaming with David Hitchcock for a tale set in Victorian Cornwall. The art here is beautiful, full of glowering atmosphere, but it shares the problems that the same team had in earlier anthologies – this doesn’t feel like a whole story, merely the opening of a longer tale. The bit that we do have is very nice indeed, though, and is definitely worth a look.
Other stories of note include Davie Baillie’s series of one page Zombie Interviews, which pop up at various intervals throughout the book. They’re pretty funny for the most part, and Baillie’s art has improved dramatically since his Tongue of the Dead mini. However, repetition dulls the impact of the joke, and there’s at least one too many of these pages in the book.
The last story that I want to single out is Zombie of the Great Unwashed by Jason Cobley and Paul Harrison-Davies. This is a bright and cheerful look at the social aspects of being a zombie, as a friend of one of the dead tries to help him get benefits and employment. It’s good fun, but the reader can tell that there’s a brain ticking behind the story, as the rigmarole that the system forces the zombie to go through is portrayed as more frightening as the zombie himself.
There are dozens of other entries in the book, which weighs in at a whopping 168 pages, which range from slight to intense, with art to match. Most anthologies have their share of misfires, and this is no exception. There are a few things that I could barely finish, to be honest, and which refuse to rise out of the conventions of the genre. Here’s a hint – if your story is featured in an anthology called Zombies, then the shock revelation of a zombie really isn’t going to surprise anyone. Any anthology with just a specific theme is going to suffer from this to an extent, and so it is with this one, though there are a number of excellent stories contained within its pages that make the anthology worth a second look. Those pages could do with being numbered though.
Overall, this is a slick, great looking book, further establishing Accent UK as an important nexus for talent within British comics. The production and printing are all exemplary and the mix of stories, while lacking a little in breadth, showcases an interesting variety of styles. As with the last volume, this represents good value for money, and a great venue for some of the rising stars of the small press. In many ways this fulfils the promise of the previous Accent UK books, and as such, I look forward the next.


Review by Paul Bowles by email in 2007.

Hi Dave
Thanks very much, I have received your package and all was in great condition. As far as criticism goes, I cant give you any. All three books are great. Pieces that stood out (if that's any use) for me were; Zombies- Curse of the undead for the artwork, Z for the pace, The Slow Undeath for it's bleakness, One nice and brutal, The Scent Of Coriander really strong atmosphere- great story, "Zombies" awesome concept but Bloor really elevates it, his ability to make his characters perform is a bit special and the last few panels are intense. I found myself laughing as I did when watching the Romero films for the first time, because it's so absurd and yet so ruthless and real. Tragic Kingdom had some really nice imagery and great visual style that really lent itself to all things rotting. The guy eating the ice cream is particularly disgusting. Sacrifice also stands out 'cos of the art work, very clean, almost anime like, very kinetic and dynamic.
I really liked Monsters and The Wolfmen as well.

Reviews - Wolfmen

From www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk in 2009.




The Wolfmen Book 1
by Dave West and Andy Bloor
Published by Accent UK
I can’t take credit for the Reservoir Wolves line - that’s from Andy Diggle’s blurb on the back cover. But it’s so good that I had to use it. Because it’s really the obvious, immediate comparison to make. You’re all up to speed with everything the book is about now. The Wolfmen is book 1 of a werewolf crime drama from Accent UK, the company responsible for the excellent series of anthologies (Monsters, Zombies, Robots).
Andy Bloor’s stark, black and white linework does a good job of emphasising the brutality and violence of this horror crime story and he’s made great use of the darkness of the tale to illustrate the story with huge chunks of blacks and greys across the page, with white space at a minimum, used just to accent some detail or other through the panels. There are a few off moments where Bloor’s figures lose a bit of perspective and the anatomy goes a little stiff, but overall; very nice.
The story by Dave West is good, but lacks the final piece of greatness in both plot and dialogue that would make this a really good comic book. Some of this is down to the fact that this is just the first volume, so the story here is essentially the set-up portion of a longer story. It’s very fast moving, with a lot of action as one man becomes involved with a criminal gang who disguise their true identities behind wolf masks. Of course, as the brutality of their actions escalate, our hero realises he’s too far in to back out now and the real secret behind the gang’s true nature is revealed.
But of course, given the title and the blurbs and the whole tone of the book, you knew exactly what was coming from the very first time you saw the gang, if not before. This is the big problem that books like the Wolfmen have. They need a great hook to get you to read it, but in giving away the hook like this, the sense of surprise is also thrown away. I know there’s no other way to do it, but it disappoints all the same.
So despite a couple of quibbles, The Wolfmen is still good crime/horror fiction. It moves a little too quickly for it’s own good perhaps, and the plot seems rather sparse. But the art, with it’s confident handling of darkness within and without more than makes up for these problems. I’m not a great horror fan, so that may explain some of my lukewarm responses to it. However, I’ve heard back from a friend I showed it to, who IS a manic horror fan and he reckons it’s really good. So what do I know?
The Wolfmen is available from Accent UK at their website. Book 2: Fall Of The Wolfmen is plotted and scripted and should be out in 2009. Keep an eye on the Accent UK website for news of this and their annual anthology series.
Richard Bruton


 

Review from www.statueforum.com in 2008.

JLM’s Frighty Trade Review

The Wolfmen
Accent UK
Written by: Dave West
Art by: Andy Bloor

On the forum of my LCS there’s something of a rave about Accent UK, a UK based indie company who have been around a few years. (Check them out at http://www.accentukcomics.com/). On a trip over to the shop, to pick up a few things, the owner keenly trust a copy of this title into my hands, and I was suitably impressed after reading it.

Set in 1960’s London, it tells of a small town crook, Jack Grey, who gets his chance to play with the big boys – the Reservoir Dogs suited Wolfmen. He joins them for a bank heist and quickly realises he’s in over his head.

Then he meets the head of the Wolfmen, and realises that what he though was over his head before, was merely up to his knees, as the whole thing takes a supernatural turn.

At 60 pages, it’s a slim volume, but tightly paced all the way through.

The artwork is in a clean black and white. Appropriately enough (given the main character’s name) there’s a predomination use of grey, setting the gloomy, foreboding tone for the tale. The cover has some red thrown in on a magnificent stark image.

There are a couple of epilogues to the story, and a sequel is in the pipeline, which I’m looking forward to.

I don’t know the availability of this outside the UK, but if you can get your claws on this, I suggest you pick it up and devour it.




Review by Lewis?!?!'s on www.comicsvillage.com in 2008

The Wolfmen
Accent UK
Written by: Dave West
Art by: Andy Bloor
The Wolfmen is a 60 page B&W production from Accent UK, and having read it twice over, it's very good. Basically, Jack Grey is recruited by the Wolfmen, a group of robbers with wolf masks, to have a role in a bank heist. That's all I'll tell you.
To quote the introduction by Paul Cornell, "Bloor clearly sees black and white artwork as a delight, not a restriction". Very true- the colours are used masterfully, and make the book a pleasure to look at. The only slight gripes with the art are when you take a look past the striking cover and take a peek at the anatomy. Heads are often incorrect, although this is no major problem. The cover is also very appealing, and what persuaded me into buying the book in the first place. Excellent use of colour.
The writing is also top notch and there are very few faults. Dave West uses two genres skillfully, both crime and horror. It does, at times, give the impression that a lot has been missed out- things which are barely touched that could definitely could be elaborated on. Apart from that, though, the writing is nice and there's a good ending.
The book is extremely well presented- as previously mentioned, there is an introduction from Paul Cornell, who has written for Doctor Who, and there is also a sketch of a Wolfman by John McCrea in the back. It is billed as a graphic novel at 60 pages, although I did finish it quickly - in about half an hour. This said, it costs £3.00, which is phenomenal- even better value than Irn Bru. It's that good.
On the whole- pick it up, definitely. It's worth it. It's not without flaws, but it's a good read, without question.

                                                                                                                  

Review by David Hailwood in www.downthetubescomics.blogspot.com in 2008.

The Wolfmen
Accent UK
Written by: Dave West
Art by: Andy Bloor

Another fine offering from Accent UK, publishers of Robots, The Wolfmen successfully merges the crime and horror genre.

This time, we get a stand alone comic written by Dave West and drawn by Andy Bloor set in South East London, in the 1960s. It's the tale of Jack Grey's chance at making something of himself, of becoming one of the most notorious gangs of the time .... of becoming one of The Wolfmen.

The script by Dave West is incredibly well paced, and keeps the story moving along at break-neck speed; there’s never a point where I felt bogged down in unnecessary detail. Andy Bloor’s dark and gritty film noir art style complements the material perfectly – he even manages to make a splash page of a goldfish look exciting, which is quite a trick to pull off.

The only negative comments I’d level at the artwork is that some of the characters look alike, making it difficult at times to work out who’s who. Also, the character proportions (especially on one of the henchmen) are occasionally a little off. Minor details in a real page-turner of a comic.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Reviews - Robots Anthology.


Review by www.newsarama.com - Best Shots in 2008.

Robots
Published by: Accent UK
Review By: Jeff Marsick

Anthologies are tough to grade. Sure, they’re the box of chocolates that Forrest pithied about, but you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a handful of submissions that are pretty pictures with no story, or a solid story decapitated by horrendous artwork, or a tiny minority like chase cards from a Topps set that are actually good reads and solid artwork. All of those are then awash in a sea of underachievement where nothing at all works and your cockatiel wouldn’t deign to have it line the bottom of its cage. Just as I’m convinced that there hasn’t been a book published that doesn’t contain at least one typo, I’m also a firm believer that an anthology is a success if at least 51% of the book is composed of winners. Hey, if it works for hedge funds, it should work here as well, right?

Following that logic,
Robots by Accent UK should be on everyone’s bookshelf. Mind you, this isn’t some high-falutin’ anthology like those Flight books, nor is it even in full color like them Popgun books. It feels like a working-man’s anthology. Forty-two stories, probably around four hundred pages, all about robots. Nice robots, bad robots, evil robots, robots who contemplate the whys and wherefores of their existence. Stories that explore the horrors and sins of suckling from the teat of technology, as well as the benefits and bonuses of having tinmen and women around. Funny, droll, campy, cartoony, serious (like the way-awesome “Tiger Tiger” by Johnson and Brown)...tt’s all-you-can-eat at the Robot Sizzler.

Each story runs two to eight pages, so the painful ones don’t last too long yet the great ones don’t last long enough. I’d love to bore you for pages and pages dissecting them all, but that would do a disservice to you, the reader, who would get more from just going out and picking it up. I will tell you this, however: [b]Robots[/] is a better anthology than Image’s
Popgun.

You can buy this and more from Accent UK’s website (www.AccentUKComics.com) or from Amazon. I think this is the best anthology the company has put out in a while, even better than their
Zombies anthology. If you like Robots, then you should also order their next effort, Western (I think the name speaks for itself as to what the topic is going to be), which should be due out in the US any week now.

Review by Andy on www.grovel.org.uk in 2008.

The problem with anthologies is that they can, by their very nature, be something of a mixed bag. It’s arguable that, as a result of this, the best way to organise an anthology of work by different writers and artists, is to pick a theme. The British anthology comic 2000AD, to pluck a name at random, has survived since its launch in 1977 by treading a fairly safe line through sci-fi adventure stories, and you can’t really argue with that.
With Robots, Accent UK has created a self-contained book-sized anthology, sensibly picking a single theme. This is no mixed bag of stories though – a vast swathe of them are so far above average, you can’t help but wonder how the editors have managed to scramble such talent. The answer, quite possibly, is that they’re merely giving them a break, selecting from the cream of British up-and-comers (as well as a few bigger names, attracted by the sheer unassailable quality these guys are managing) and giving them a more mainstream voice.
It works an absolute treat. The longest story is about eight pages so even if you don’t like something, which I found to be extraordinarily rare in this collection, you’ll be on to the next before you know it. Most of the stories, however, will leave you itching for more.
So while buying an anthology is always a bit of a punt, this is one of the safest bets we’ve seen, presuming you like robots of course. Give it a try – I’m sure that this won’t be the last time you’ll be reading comics by some of the wonderful talents contained within Robots’ pages.



Review by Manny on www.whatevercomics.com in 2008.

I thought I would review the comics I enjoyed at this years Bristol Comics Expo. Before I start i'll just say 'who am i to review things?' Well i'm going to do it anyhow as I don't think there are enough reviews around these days. The first comic I'm going to review is-
ROBOTS

Hot on the heels of the great Zombies Anthology we get Robots
And anyone who has read and enjoyed Zombies is going to read and enjoy this.

OK some of the art is a bit shabby in places, but the good stuff outweighs this, one of my customers put it very nicely when he said “you can see that they are learning their trade, but that’s OK because it’s a bloody good read” Thanks Steve I couldn’t have put it better myself.

With great scripts like Divinity Existence and Toast: by Benjamin Dickson.
Robot: by Kieron Gillan and Andy Bloor.
Robot Interviews, Man Made, and What is Life, how can you not want to read this

So is it better than Zombies? Close, very close, maybe its because I read Zombies first that I prefer it, but having said that its still a very very very good little independent title and deserves a place on your bookshelf nestled next to both Zombies and Wolfmen (which is still my favourite) oh and leave a bit of space for WESTERN and WOLFMEN II,
And while its on my mind, I wouldn’t be ashamed to put my copy of the Eleventh Hour next to these.

Another fine publication to fire your imagination.
It gets a very nice and well deserved 8.9/10.



Review by Rob Jackson on www.robjacksoncomics.blogspot.com in 2008.

ROBOTS the 2008 Accent UK Anthology
This is my favourite yet of the Accent anthologies, last years was good but I am just very bored with zombies. It is very good value at £8 at the expo, its very long and professional looking. I'll just go through and mention some of the stories I liked best. I really liked the art on Kingdom, the first story, especially the robot. David Baillie did interviews again, like in Zombies, and they were all funny one page stories, especially the one with a robot getting old. I was very keen on the art in 'Divinity Existence and Toast' as well by Benjamin Dickson. 'The Creator' by Tony Hitchman & Leonie O'Moore was a good robot spin on that Lovecraft story - 'The Outsider'. Other stories I enjoyed were 'Made Men' and 'Null and Void'.


Review by Michael Burness on www.uniquemick.blogspot.com in 2008.

I was one of the lucky ones to buy a copy of this at Bristol for a very nice price of £8. Trust this is a bargain for near enough 200 pages of quality printing. The hard part of doing this review is mentioning everyone’s work, which will be impossible on my ikle Blog so I will just review my favourite comics in here. First up is…

Ned Iudd’s Museum – by Jim Thompson & Shaun Mooney
One of the final comics in the anthology is a marvel of story telling with regards man’s ongoing quest to get machines to do all their shit for them. The comic revolves around Ned Iudd who is a curator at a museum that deals in old robots from years gone by. He narrates a story about how machines became the dominant intelligence on Earth as man passed over more and more responsibilities to the machines. It’s a very dark tale and the artwork by Shaun matches brilliantly to the feel of the story.

Divinity, Existence and Toast – by Benjamin Dickson
This is one of the better comics from an artistic point of view (well more to the style I like should I say). The comic is about a woman who buys a robotic toaster that wakes up one morning to decide that it is in fact God. The humour comes from the relationship of the woman and the ego mad toaster and makes a very enjoyable section in the anthology.

The Creator – by Tony Hitchman & Leonie O’Moore
Not great art wise but a cracking read with an excellent twist at the end.

Made Men – by Jay Eales & Charley Spencer
For some reason this reminds me very much of a Garth Ennis comic. Very dark and violent and with a hero who is a complete bastard but you can’t help but love.

Teruo – by Paul Bowles & Marleen Lowe
A story based on a gangsters’ moll and a Ronin robot samurai that is charged to look after her. Very good artwork with hints of Tim Sale about. The characters are nothing new but you feel for them and especially the lead female character.

…all in all ‘Robots’ is an excellent read and I’d recommend it to anyone