Written by: Michael Sambrook @Rapiaghi
Rob Jones @RobJonesWrites
Art from: Dan Charnley @DansMonsters
Rosie Packwood @Pocketm0use
David Broughton @DbroughtonDavid
James Gibbs @JamesGibbs_Art
Cover by: Russ Leach @Kre8Uk
Riley Jones @Riley_Jones_88
Published by: Madius Comics @madiuscomics
“First up, from the mind of Rob Jones and the ink of Dan Charnley is a punky coming of age romance between a young musician and his devoted girlfriend. A story to remind us all that life is short and that true love lasts forever. It’s BLOKHEADS!
Following that grounded tale of love and loss we blast away into the far reaches of space with a haunting sci-fi tale that covers what happens next. What happens after humans finally finish off this planet we call home and we’re all forced to find a plan B. A new home. This story of finding hope even after it appears all hope is gone. From the minds of Michael Sambrook and Rob Jones with stunning artwork from longtime Madius star Rosie Packwood. You’re going to love LONELY ROBOT!
Then, next up, blasting out the gate is a bonkers story about robots, gatling guns, character stereotypes and shoddily executed plans. Or, at least that’s what this story seems to be about? Peel back the bombastic veneer and find out what matters most about stories. Family, togetherness and love. From the minds of Michael Sambrook and Rob Jones and the pen of David Broughton it’s TIME DOESN’T MATTER HERE!
Next up, we blast back into space for a beautiful story about legacy. The Gas N’ Gulp is a longtime bastion of neutrality out there in the stars. A refuelling station for all travellers no matter their affiliation. When the longtime owner of the station passes away we follow what happens to the vacuum he leaves behind. From the mind of Rob Jones and with artwork from James Gibbs, it’s GAS N’ GULP!
Then it’s THE PROFITS OF DOOM! Hide your kittens! Uh oh, things are getting serious for everyone’s favourite hooded plonkers. They are about to charge into the tower. Every road has led up to here. So, now what? I guess they should probably come up with a plan. Read along as they try to do exactly that. It’s not pretty. But hey, what did you expect? From the minds of Rob Jones and Michael Sambrook and with artwork from ever brilliant Mike Smith, it’s, well, we’ve already told you, THE PROFITS OF DOOM!”
This is issue 7 of Papercuts & Inkstains.
The SEVENTH issue of an indie anthology.
There are some comics from the big 2 that don’t last seven issues.
This is an unbelievable achievement from Madius.
The question that has been worrying me for the last few issues is how much longer can they keep up the quality? How long before the day comes when Madius present me with a steaming turd to review?
Today is not that day.
If anything this one of the strongest issues they have produced.
I’m going to take a little look at each of these in turn.
This is going to be a bold statement from me. This is Rob Jones strongest writing to date. This story was a hell of a gamble for the usually lighthearted Papercuts & Inkstains. Handled badly this could have been an absolute disaster. However Jones has crafted this beautiful, poignant tale with grace and heart. This story stayed with me long after I read it. My mind kept drifting back to it when I was working. The amount of skill to make someone think about a story, carry that off in a short form comic strip is not to be dismissed lightly. The way the two time points in the characters life are intertwined; twisting from the happiest to the hardest really pulls on the heartstrings. A comic strip about someone getting chemo for cancer shouldn’t be uplifting but somehow Rob Jones pulls it off. The use of music here, something Jones has form for in other Madius produced comics is genius too. From Lyrics that Rob Jones specifically wrote for the script to songs from T-Rex & Ian Dury & The Blockheads their inclusion make the strip exponentially better.
Dan Charnley’s art is pitch perfect here in his debut for Papercuts & Inkstains. His tone matches the story perfectly. Force and energy of the splatter technique used in the scenes in the characters youth juxtaposed against the harsher blank spaces and half tones of the scenes dealing with the hospital in later life. Visceral, emotional, hard hitting and above all beautiful.
I’m not sure what Sambrook & Jones have been huffing in their Ivory Tower but whatever it is it’s given them a real melancholy vibe this issue. This isn’t a bad thing. This is another beautiful little story. Lonely Robot much like Blokheads is a story of loss, this time not just love but everything; the planet, your body, all but your consciousness. The difference here is that in ends on such a strong positive vibe of hope I couldn’t help but smile and feel a little better about life when I finished it.
Rosie Packwood’s character designs for the titular Lonely Robot and his eventual companion are loveable and instantly likeable. I want toys made.
The scene with Professor Leonard & Professor Greenhalls robotic hands reaching out was so beautiful, the tones and lighting effects almost made me cry.
Backgrounds, framing and page design are stellar here. I want more of this story.
Time Doesn’t Matter Here
This great little one shot story plays to the child in all of us. I spent hours, days of my life doing exactly Archie does. It’s a great little twist at the end when you realize exactly where the action is taking place. Clever script with deliberate mistakes that a child would make and dialogue that fits the story. I loved for a change seeing a “good” dad feature in comics.
David Broughton does a great job on the art in this story, some nice touches like the chainsaw breaking the panel wall and some great layout positioning help to make this a fun enjoyable read.
This little one and done story of a interstellar Gas Station & the effect of the passing of it’s long time custodian just didn’t catch for me. Art from James Gibbs isn’t the problem he does great job with it – especially on the grand scale space stuff but the story itself just didn’t feel strong enough.
It didn’t go anywere. Rob Jones didn’t drop the ball on this one it just feels like this story was treading water & could have been so much more.
Prophets of Doom
Mike Smith, issue in and issue out has supplied the goods with the long running Prophets of Doom art work. This issue is no exception he continues with his sterling work here and impresses as always. No one draws demon titties like Mike Smith
Prophets isn’t just as accessible to first time readers now. If this is your first Papercuts and Inkstains I really recommend you go back and check out the collected issues available HERE – you are in for a real treat. Long time readers will appreciate that things are starting to ramp up now for the worlds most inept Devil Worshippers and this story is hurtling towards a conclusion. I’ve just realised reading this issue that not all of them might make it out alive. It’s funny, it’s cool and it’s better than anything else in or out of mainstream British Comics right now. The flagship of Papercuts and Inkstains sails on to it’s final port of call, I suspect in the next issue, and I for one have enjoyed every second of the trip to get here.
As ever the other all design & layout of Papercuts and Inkstains is a thing of beauty. Brad Holman the unsung hero of the Madius Crew always does an outstanding job in this regard and always makes Papercuts and Inkstains look as good as it’s content.
I’d offer a cautionary tale on the lettering though. Rob Jones work is exceptional but of late I’ve noticed a tendency to use specialist fonts where they really aren’t needed, These should be used sparingly for effect and their over use can render this emphasis useless and bottom line they can sometimes pull you out of a story making it difficult to read.
Regarding the cover Russ leach has done an excellent job capturing the essence of each individual story and pulling together a fun blind date pastiche. The colouring by Riley Jones is exceptional look at the tones on the arm of Lonely Robot here for example it’s just glorious work.
Remember the name Riley Jones it’s one you are going to see in mainstream comics sooner rather than latter I promise you..
Papercuts and Inkstains is the shining jewel in the crown of Madius Comics. Madius Comics are the Royal Family of the British and Irish indie comics scene. Long may they Reign.