Written by: Matt Garvey @mattgarvey1981
Art by: Aleksandar Bozic
Cover by: Dizevez @DIZEVEZ
“Set against the backdrop of Streampunk Victorian London in 1856, a plucky young American detective, Cordelia Swift, is the newest addition to Scotland Yard, much to the disgust of her peers and colleagues for both being foreign and a woman. Cordelia is a smart, but naive detective with everything to prove and prove she must as her first case is to catch a homicidal maniac of monstrous proportions, who is terrorising the innocent people of the East End.”
Aleksandar Bozic’s art here really impresses. He manages to get across character emotions excellently in single panels, so well in fact that the text is barely needed occasionally to follow the plot. Panel progression and positioning is spot on, helping Garvey’s excellently paced story line move on at a speed that never feels uncomfortable to the eye. Some of the angles used bring a real cinematic quality to the story. His backgrounds and in particularly architecture featured really jump off the page. Use of grey tone – a cost saving measure in so many indie books actually works in Bozic’s favor as it really suits the subject, feel and setting. Character design is excellent, particularly in Louis , Swift’s reluctant deputy. His Steampunk arm accent is used to great effect both in setting a sense of style and the main plot.
One aspect that I found distracting was the lettering. The font here while again suiting the story, gets in the way. It’s just too busy. I would have preferred to see a professional letterer get their hands on this. That said the SFX lettering is excellent and used just about the right amount.
The story itself works really well just as a police procedural. Even without the mad scientist angle – this is a great detective story. You could easily substitute Cordelia Swift for Batman, Old London Town for Gotham and the “Games Afoot Watson” aspects of this story would still work.
The eponymous character is handled excellently by Garvey. At no point does he slip into Mary Sue territory. A female protagonist in a fish out of water situation who you believe has the talent and the skills to back up her actions. Not a ripped bodice, or heaving cleavage in site which you see in so many indie books. Garvey has created a believable heroine who faces the obstacles thrown in her way both by enemies and supposed allies alike and has you rooting for her from the very start. The backstory of her being forced to London in order to free her brother from a US prison was a great intro and left us in no doubt of her qualities.
Garvey’s decision to make his version of London Steampunk here was a stroke of genius. It keeps things interesting and at no point is it overdone, It made me look out for the subtle differences and made for a more interesting read than just setting it as a strict period piece. It has a weird sense of London about the book. I’ve never set foot in it, certainly not in 1856 but I felt like it was a London I knew – a result of clever writing and as mentioned above Bozic’s artwork.
The twist, when it comes in the story is perhaps a little predictable, but seeing it coming made it no less satisfying. Sometimes I like to be right.
The cover for the Deluxe Cordelia Swift; Run & Hyde Hardcover is just fantastic. Bozic’s covers for the individual issues served their purpose but just lack a little of the wow factor needed to get you to grab an indie book off a table and want to buy it there and then. Dizevez’s cover has it in spades. It’s composition with the hands coming round the sides of the Throne that Cordelia sits on ( is it just me or does she REALLY look like Christina Applegate here? ) is a great concept, and it really showcases Dizevez’s artistic chops while setting the tone perfectly for the book.
Overall production on the book is just jaw dropping. I’ve never seen such high quality in a small press book. The hard cover, flat spine and the really high quality paper make such a difference. This book puts some of the Big Two hard covers and trade paperbacks to absolute shame.
For a cover price of £9.99 collecting all four issues to date and NINETEEN pin ups from the cream of UK indie comic artists this book is astonishing value for money.
The Adventures of Cordelia Swift: Run and Hyde is a fun, carefully crafted and beautifully created comic book. In a few years, When Garvey has become the force in British comics I’m fully confident he will become – You’ll be glad you got on the ground floor with this.
Deluxe hardcover available to buy here : mattgarvey.bigcartel.com/
Available to buy digitally here: Comixology.co.uk