Hopper: Detective of the Strange - The Case of the Man-eating Printing Press.
Created, Written and Illustrated by Rob Barnes.
Edited by Tom Stewart.
Published by Fair Spark Books - 24 pages - Full Colour.
Release date TBC.
The Story - A suspicious death occurs in the Daily Sentinel newspaper. One of the staff after struggling with one of the vending machines is crushed to death! But the mystery does not end there. A couple of the employees at The Sentinel claim that they saw the aforementioned vending machine follow the victim down the hallway before crushing him. And why is there a Voodoo Doll in the machine?
Luckily, Hopper is here and ready to investigate.
The Review - I find these books by Rob Barnes both an absolute joy to read and a complete breath of fresh air in this locked in and cynical world we find ourselves. His previous series out of Fair Spark books was the buddy fantasy book Gallant and Amos which I also really enjoyed. But Hopper has the edge for me in quality. This is a sharply crafted comic. It has a Hanna-Barbera meets Kolchak: The Night Stalker vibe with all the right age specific tone and fun. Mix into that a portion of Roger Rabbit and some Dick Tracy and you’ve got a great ride of a mystery story.
This is also a whodunnit and I’m purposely leaving out some of the more important plot twists so as not to ruin it for you!
The Hopper cast is slowly growing and feeling familiar in this second story. We have Gladys the gutsy cab driver who throws herself into danger at a moment’s notice and possibly might have a crush on Hopper. We also have the uniformed Patrol Officer Bull who uses his hard head and horns to crash through front doors. Throw into the mix psychic advisors and voodoo curses too.
‘I think they mighta flipped their wigs.’
Mr Barnes also throws a little nod to the older comics fans amongst us..... but I‘ll let you have a look to discover that particular name/character.
The art is also the next step up for Rob Barnes and has a clean style but never crosses that line into the computer nonsense we get in some other overly glossy cartooning elsewhere. You can also spot the love that the creator has for both this style and the characters he has created. There’s a real bounce of movement in the panels! I highly recommend you have a look for this when it comes out.
A portion of the profits of the sales of this book goes to The Little Heroes Charity helping kids in long term hospital care. You can donate by going to this link https://www.littleheroescomics.co.uk/sparkcon-2020
You can find more out about the creator at his website here http://www.arghcomics.com/ or follow him on Twitter @barnz63
Head over to Fair Spark Books at their website here https://www.thesparkmag.co.uk/ and follow them on Twitter @fairsparkbooks
Many thanks for reading.