The Lady and the Lost World.
Written and Lettered by Ian Sharman.
Illustrated by Hakan Aydin.
Cover art by Loles Romero.
Published by Markosia.
101 pages - Full Colour.
The Story - Emmaline ‘Emmy’ Harcourt is prone to wearing twin sets and pearls, she is posh totty and an adventurer to boot. She is looking for her fiancé who went missing in mysterious circumstances five years ago. His name is Henry Tremayne who is on occasion called ‘Hooray Henry’.
The book opens with Emmy at the British Museum in London. She is looking for an American chap and someone without a ridiculous sounding name. She fails in this second part of her day’s ‘To Do List’ by meeting one Trent Bridgestock (told you) who she describes as:
‘A renowned charlatan, thief, spiritualist, alleged murderer and worst of all an American.’
Turns out though that Trent is just what Emmy is looking for and she arranges to travel to Mexico the following morning to investigate an ancient map that may hold the secret to the location of good old Henry. To celebrate her trip our heroine decides to go on a night out with pals who wish her Bon Voyage (as well as probably the odd ‘toodle pip’ and ‘have a smashing trip old girl’) she returns home however to find that her flat has been turned over, presumably looking for the aforementioned map she surmises. Luckily it was in her pocket the whole time.
As Trent and Emmy begin their trip from Heathrow airport we see that a secret organisation/sect/Masonic lodge/posh cricket club have gathered in a musty basement to discuss killing Emmy (and probably how cool they look in their magicians cloaks?)
So, the stage is set. A dash across the world’s archeological wonders in search of Henry. What will happen next? What cocktails will they drink? How will they survive? Will the missing fiancé become the husband of Emmy’s dreams?
You’ll have to read it when it comes out now won't you…..
The Review - I got sent a preview copy of this book by Markosia and can tell you that it is an impressive looking comic. The full colour treatment throughout looks great and there are quite a few visually breathtaking moments. I would put Aydin somewhere between the Luna Brothers, Leo and Thomas Legrain in the art stakes. His landscapes and buildings/monuments/pyramids (etc) work is outstanding and you can see the care that goes into giving this story scale and placing it geographically exactly where the reader needs to know it is placed. But some of the figure work on occasion looks a little stiff and the colours, at certain points, seem a little flat. Everything is a little clean and immobile for my tastes and I’d like to have seen more detail in faces and clothes.
The story takes place in issues and distinct chapters that are collected into this volume. They can be recognised through the points on the globe that Emmy and Trent visit. Antarctica, Mexico, Eygpt and more are laid out and adventures had. It seems more Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. Rider Haggard or Arthur Conan Doyle than Tomb Raider. This is a grand tale of exploring more than it is an action flick.
I’ll be honest and say that I found the first two thirds of the story a little dry. There is a lot of travel, a lot of talking but not enough drama and action for my tastes. As I read I was mentally begging the writer to get on with something that I could get my teeth into, some tension, a good old punch up maybe? Emmy needs to be fleshed out a little more in my humble opinion. She is on occasion something of a cliche, and that crime to beat all crimes, a little dull.
But it is fair to say that the series takes an unexpected and welcome turn in the last act. I can’t spoil what happens but it does amp up the action and the strangeness on a book that seemed to promise so much for eighty pages and not deliver until this final sequence. The book ends on a cliffhanger that you would not in any possible way see coming at chapter one. Those last few pages want me to grab the second volume as soon as possible.
The cover work by Romero is a real high point for me with some interesting storytelling techniques used in a single gorgeous looking cover image.
Give it a go. The art is clean and crisp and whilst somewhat traditional to start with it evolves beyond what you might suspect.
Find out more about Markosia by following then on Twitter @Markosia or looking at this and any of the multitude of other books they have for sale at www.markosia.com
Follow the writer Ian Sharman @idsharman
Or look at more examples of the artists work at www.hakan-aydin.deviantart.com and follow him on Twitter @HakanAYDIN86
You can find Loles Romero at www.lolesromero.artstation.com or on Twitter @lolesromero
Many thanks for reading.