Published by: Madius Comics
Written by: Rob Jones – @RobJonesWrites
Michael Sambrook – @Rapiaghi
Art by: Angela Sprecher – @Sprech4
Darren Stephens – @Dikiminster
Ceri Harvey – @Anglewormangel
Mike Smith – @deadcertmike
Available to buy from:
“This issue has been carefully crafted to act as an ideal jumping-on point for new readers, so if you’re new to MADIUS COMICS, fear not, this issue will take you by the hand and show you everything you need to know. If you’ve been along with us since the start, hey, it’s great to see you again! All four of the stories housed within this hefty volume are from the gilded feathers of our resident word fanciers Robin Jones and Michael Sambrook and we join them as they plunder the memory archives of their respective childhoods to take you on a hilarious detour through the 80s and early 90s.”
So Papercuts and Inkstains is back for a SIXTH installment. Those familiar with the previous five issues from Madius comics will be aware that the writing is carried out by the tag team of Rob Jones & Michael Sambrook. Artists change from issue to issue but this time round we have reappearances from Papercuts & Inkstains Alumni Angela Sprecher & Mike Smith, as well as brand new offerings from newcomers Darren Stephens & Ceri Harvey.
Meat The Monotaur is the first story in the issue. What happens to the wheels of industry when it’s real fuel…THE COFFEE runs out? This story has our heroine Sylvia Jo face obstacles of Labyrinth and Indiana Jones proportions. Sprecher’s art is great. Something about her style reminds me heavily of British comics in the 1980’s which just makes her perfect for this nostalgia soaked story from Jones & Sambrook. Some great use of panel breaking in this that really brings a sense of dynamic action to the scenes it’s used in. In particular the panel where Sylvia Jo is defending herself with a stapler uses this to great effect.
Sprecher can also say volumes with a single expression on her characters faces, it really is a joy to look at her work.
Eton Mess is the second story and features the debut of Darren Stephens on art. It’s part John Carpenter’s Thing and part Jam & Jerusalem. Lights spotted in the sky may have had an effect on some of the visitors to a Village Fete. I really enjoyed this glimpse into Little England during an alien invasion. Sambrook & Jones plot featuring a unexploded war time bomb & a character who served in the ATS – the women’s branch British Army during the second world war, made for a believable, well thought out story. The dialogue is funny and the parts dealing with the imagined bitchiness of some of the WI members seems bang on the money.
Stephens blew me away with his art on this. His monsters are both original and a nod to those from the Thing. His panels featuring the town itself in particular I liked. He makes the village of Kirton a character here with his level of detail in the opening shot. I’m using the term “shot” here because that’s what it felt like, Stephens layouts and art in general is very dynamic and cinematic.
The graytones here, while excellent – don’t do it justice. I want to see what a talented colorist could do with this. I look forward to seeing future work from Darren Stephens very, very much.
Next up is Where’d Wendigo the Papercuts and Inkstains debut for Ceri Harvey who grabs the ball and just starts running. Of all the stories in this issue I think this was my favorite. Sambrook & Jones sit in their ivory tower somewhere and just say to almost EVERY artist who feature in theses anthologies “Panel 6: Monster revealed.” then bog off and leave the poor artist to it. Harvey’s design here for the Predator like creature is among some of the best I’ve seen. Genuinely gave me the heebie jeebies.
Her panel choice really lets the script flow and she also draws comedy very well – something that sometimes isn’t that easy to carry off. This script is laugh out loud funny. The line “If it bleeds you can grill it” will stay with me for a while. It’s surprisingly warm too – reminds me of Goonies and in particular Stranger Things, which is weird because I’m sure this was completed long before the show even aired. It has the same feeling of childhood friendship being the best thing ever, about it.
Ends on a cliff hanger too. Means hopefully these great characters and Harvey might be back in future issues.
Prophets of Doom is now a Papercuts and Inkstains mainstay. This tale of the worlds worst devil worshipers just gets better and better with each additional issue.
This episode is clever that you don’t need to have read any of the issues previous to enjoy it, but as well as the always impressive Mike Smith on art duties you have some guest artists whose change in style really aids the story progression, as well as looking absolutely great.
There is talk of a collected edition of Prophets of Doom coming out next year and I really hope it happens because of all the stories featured in the books, this one is crying out for a stand alone series.
The front cover, back cover and overall design for this issue is amazing.
The VHS cover is an absolute stroke of genius. Little features like the peeling off sticker etc are going to make people reach out and lift this issue off a con table and it matches the nostalgic theme of the internal stories perfectly.
Papercuts And Inkstains weighs in at 52 pages. For any indie title to produce a book of this size is unusual. To do it with the usual style and high quality I’ve now come to associate with Madius is nothing short of jaw dropping. There are no fillers in Papercuts And Inkstains, every story deserves to be here. It and Madius output in general really are some of the best things about the UK comic scene right now.
Papercuts And Inkstains #6 is avaialble from Madius Comics directly at Thoughtbubble Festival in Leeds. They are located in New Dock Hall.
After Thoughbubble it will be made available from their website HERE