Papercuts & Inkstains – Issues 1, 2, 3a & 3b
Published by Madius Comics
Review by Gareth Sleightholme.
“Papercuts…” is a four (or more correctly, three and a bit) issue, b/w horror/SF anthology comic series, at this point amassing a total of 108 pages. Scripts come from staple Madius storytellers, Rob Jones and Mike Sambrook, with art by Brian Burke (Incandescent Memories), Dan Butcher (Vanguard), Rory Donald, Nick Gonzo (50 Signal), Jim Lavery (Zarjaz, Detective Werewolf), Paul Moore, Rosie Packwood, Kevin Pospisil, Mike Smith, Angela Sprecher (hotstuff-webcomic.com) and Stephen Weafer. A title in which the narrative confidence, design and overall quality has improved with each subsequent issue.
Jones and Sambrook’s narratives cover subjects from the hygiene issues of time-travel; married life and zombie death; Poe-esque, raven haunted, existential angst; loopy blue collar occultists; nefarious cosmic corporate-military shenanigans; werewolves; demon-brides; rootin’- tootin’ wild-west gamblin’; vampires; horror hotels; post-modern pop-culture vigilantism; toasted cyclists a T-Rex and… well, you get the picture… all the food groups, with stories veering from humorous to poignant, sinister to action-packed and all paces and atmospheres in between.
Four “Papercuts…” books in and Jones and Sambrook show no signs of slowing either. The enthusiasm for the medium (from all concerned) that rushes out of the pages of the Papercuts & Inkstains anthologies is palpable. At times it feels like being caught by that guy down the pub, the one who tells his stories at a thousand miles an hour, gesticulates wildly without spilling his drink or dropping ash; charismatic and more than a little mad, but somehow compelling. Elsewhere it feels like they’ve tapped into the vibe of those anthology comics you picked up at your first cons, or that strange underground comic that somehow came into your possession as a kid, from who knows where, that left you hanging for more, but kept dragging you back to pour over the panels.
At the book’s heart is the ongoing tale of those urban, ne’er-do-well, would-be acolytes of the dark gods. Smith, Jones & Sambrook’s Profits of Doom, a group of housing estate, hooded high-priests attempting to juggle the seriousness of their occult calling with the vicissitudes of everyday living in a northern town; the madcap humour of this central story, snappy dialogue and the great art a welcome recurrence with each issue.
Other stand out moments for me include Jim Lavery’s sophisticated art style on Together Forever (issue 2), Paul Moore’s dynamic action-packed art on Vampire Wonderland, and the euro-indie stylings of Angela Sprecher on A Roll Of The Dice (issue 3a). But there’s plenty for everyone here.
I’m yet to dig into the rest of the Madius offerings (they’ve published/co-published over a dozen titles in their first year alone), but if P&I is any indicator there is going to be a wealth of great stuff to choose from, their books already having had a run of great reviews from podcasters and other comics creatives…
Now, what’s this about a Funk Soul Samurai?
Follow these loons on twitter: @MadiusComics, @RobJonesWrites, @Rapiaghi, @Nick_Gonzo, @DeadCertMike, @pocketmouse, @imnotdaredevil4, @ARiseToDarkness, @VanguardComic, @sprech4, @karl-ellie, @Burky126, @Jimlavery1, @PMoore121