Thursday, 28 November 2019

In Review - 'short dark & peculiar'

short dark & peculiar

Words by J W Murray.

Art by
Jon Aye.
Zhou Fang.
Steven Ingram.
Hugh Madden.
Morgan Russell.
Bob Turner
J W Murray.

A5 - Perfect Bound - Black and White Interiors.

Launched at the Edinburgh Comics Art Festival 24/11/2019.

The Story - 'Ten stories written by J W Murray and illustrated by Murray and six other artists’.

‘A mix of horror, drama, folklore and sci-fi - sometimes humorous, sometimes philosophical. One phrase unites all these stories: short, dark and peculiar.’

(Above from the back of the collection).

The Review - I saw this pop up just a few short months ago on Kickstarter and as I am already a fan of the art of Steven Ingram and Bob Turner I thought I would give it an otherwise blind punt. The crowdfunding amount was kept sensibly low and easily passed it’s total, I also received the book promptly and without delay or fuss. The stories and a good chunk of the art are completed by J W Murray.

This is a collection of short stories and as with all collections and anthologies some are more successful than others. I’m going to say straight away that the stories that Murray writes and does not draw are clearly the better elements of this comic.

You can find more about Murray at On Instagram @jwmurraycomics and on Twitter @JWMurrayComics

The cover gives a minimalistic and iconic image that is definitely one of the other reasons I pulled the trigger on buying this book. It is very ‘peculiar’ and whilst I can’t see a credit inside I would guess that it’s come from the pen of Bob Turner? (I stand to be corrected).
**Update** The cover is in fact by Jon Aye - thanks to Bob Turner for the update.

Here are a few of the more noteworthy stories;

The Floor’ with art by Steven Ingram was a twist in the tale short that I found a little underwhelming in story. The art looks fine but it could have done with more exploration and development beyond the simple ending showed. 

Find Steven’s other work at On Instagram @steveningramart and on Twitter @steveningramart

Volcano’ by Bob Turner has all the beautifully rendered and clean artwork that we have come to expect from Bob and his experimental style. Like a Scottish Chris Ware Mr Turner has a concise control over the page and stages cascaded images with absolute mastery. Just in time for Christmas we get something absurd but with a message that I’d love to see get a colour treatment.

Find more of Bob’s work at or on Instagram @castlerockcomic and on Twitter @castlerockcomic

Coat Check’ with art by Hugh Madden is probably my favourite story in the collection and explores what two workers in the coat check of a club should/would/did do when they found a human heart in the pocket of one of the coats they had collected that night. This adds an unusual twist into a weird story and has some great clean visuals from Madden.

You can find Hugh at On Facebook at HughMaddenArt and on Instagram @hughmaddenart

‘Zero’ art and writing by J W Murray.

Zero’ is one of the stories written and drawn by Murray and wasn’t to my taste. It tells a brief account of what you would do if everyone around you was doomed. The art isn’t strong enough and this could well have done with being a more detailed piece of prose. Page one shows an incident in space and I have looked at it a few times and cannot figure out what it’s happening. Sadly, Murray’s art was a weak point in this comic and in my humble opinion he should consider hiring an artist until his figure work and cartooning ability improves. You have to be careful with a collection of this type as his pages may be the ones that customers opens up first at a convention or in a shop. If I’d only seen this style of art I personally would not have spent the money. 

Good Hat’ with art by Jon Aye is much more up my street. It has a lovely clean and readable yet stylised art style and a complicated and well paced mystery of a plot. The necessities of party etiquette are turned into something much more sinister and multiply into a well thought out and dangerous dramatic situation. I’ll be looking for more from Jon Aye in the future.

You can find more from Mr Aye at On Instagram @jonfrancisaye and on Twitter @JonFrancisAye

Altogether this comic had some great moments and some pretty darn bad ones. All in all I’m glad I bought it for a couple of the stories and especially for some of the art. I’ll be looking out for a second volume but will definitely pay more attention to the credits next time.

Many thanks for reading.

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