Published By: Madius Comics
Written By: Rob Jones @Robjoneswrites
Mike Sambrook @Rapiaghi
Art By: Darren Smith @Foxisko74
Jim Lavery @Jimlavery1
Mike Smith @Deadcertmike
Nick Gonzo @Nick_Gonzo
Alan Henderson @shadow1972
Madius Comics are back with another edition of their anthology Papercuts And Inkstains.
This time round featuring “The Forebearer” a tale of barbarian revenge inspired by prog rock staple Marillion. “Valkyrie”, car break down cover in a post-apocalyptic world and another installment of the world’s most inept devil worshipers, “The Profits of Doom”.
The first story “The Forebearer” is a lot better than the concept should be. It’s a comic strip inspired by Marillion… It shouldn’t work, on paper it’s a terrible idea. However on comics paper it does. Choc full of references to the band themselves and their music, it’s a strangely darker tale than it seems to be on first glance. A really exquisite twist in the story towards the end regarding the reason for the character Hogarth’s journey for revenge was really quite deftly handled by Jones & Sambrook.
The art handled by Paper Cuts And Inkstains newcomer Darren Smith is the weakest of the stories. Up against Jim Lavery and Mike Smith on the other two strips it was always going to be a tough comparison. Weakest of the three doesn’t mean it’s in anyway bad. The line work could be bolder in places, maybe heavier use of blacks and shadows but it suits the story well enough and the grey tone colouring is handled very well. The layouts are spot on and Smith has created a genuinely creepy villain, sitting on top of his throne of children’s teddy bears.
Second story and the diamond in ring of issue 4 is the outstanding “Valkyrie” This story is so, so good. Jim Lavery is a name that is going to pop up more and more in British Comics, for good reason. Strong inking and simple but eye catching backgrounds. Characterization is off the chart. Especially the eponymous main hero, such a great design and big bold close up images.
This is a universe begging to be expanded on. It would be interesting to see this coloured. It doesn’t need it, but just to see what a talented colorist could do with this.
Regarding the story it’s not just close to Mad Max, it could easily borrow some of it’s clothes and take it’s girlfriend out for a date. That said it’s funny, the concept of the ultimate road assistance service is pretty original. It knows the similarities and it plays on them excellently. A fun and well written homage.
The third strip, “Profits of Doom” is a continuing tale of Demon summoning gone wrong that features in previous editions of Papercuts And Inkstains. Usually the star strip in the issues it’s knocked into second place in this one by Valkyrie but is still a strip that would sit comfortably in mainstream books like 2000ad and not look out of place. Laugh out loud in places, dialogue being a real stand out feature of this tale. The story is building and going from strength to strength in each issue it appears in. Again featuring a touching cameo from a star of British literature who is sadly no longer with us.
Smith really impresses, with his art changing style in the back story section towards the end, a complete departure from his normal approach with gorgeous results.
As ever with Madius the overall production values are excellent. Lettering special effects deserve a special mention, Jones does a great job and they really shine. Layout and design elements are spot on. The cover however didn’t quite land. It lacks the instant appeal needed by an indie to be swooped on by a casual buyer at a ‘con. Unfortunately It’s not a genuine reflection of the quality inside the book.
Papercuts and Inkstains #4 continues the great work from Madius Comics. If only every Indie or small press publisher could produce work as great as this. Well worth checking out #4 and the back issues if you see Madius at a convention in the UK, or by picking them up from their online store.