Never lived anywhere that has such crazy sky…
I mentioned below about the forthcoming title School of the Damned, and here’s a sneak preview that Black Hearted Press have posted up of the first page- without lettering- from issue one.
I love the way the black and white really pops off the page in this one – nice and dramatic. According to the Black Hearted Press website the title deals with “…an exploration of love, life and death during the begining of Nazi occupied Europe as one School resists the threat of extermination..” and will be out September 2011.
In the meantime they’ve released their other on-going title- Laptop Guy- to coincide with the Glasgow Comic Con.
They’re also hosting the inaugural Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards as part of the Comic Con.
Nominees for Best Comic Book or Graphic Novel
Burke and Hare
Team Girl Comic
Nominees for Best Writer
Craig Collins – Roachwell
Martin Conaghan – Burke and Hare
Gill Hatcher and Adam Smith – Go Wildlife!
John Lees – The StandardCurt Sibling – King Evil
Nominees for Best Artist
James Devlin – Dark Ascension: Confession
Will Pickering – Burke and Hare
Alex Ronald – Vampire Vixens
Curt Sibling – King Evil
Stevie White – Milk+
Great to see so much talent in Scotland and that the comic scene there is lively as ever. And with the rise of digital media, it’s much easier for folk like myself who live elsewhere in the world to read and enjoy. Over the next few weeks I’ll be trying to take a look at as many of these entries as I can and posting up about them. Burke and Hare looks particularly stunning- but as there’s no digital version I’ll have to wait until I’m over in the UK to grab a copy.
Maybe that’s just as well- as useful as having comics on the computer or the phone is, there’s nothing that beats sitting there with the actual pages in front of you, and getting jam and coffee stains all over them. I’ve got some back issues of 2000AD that look like they were used to mop up a murder scene. Maybe they were…
If you like the look of Burke and Hare it can be ordered from here.
One of my favourite things in Bangkok is the Robot Building, designed by Sumet Jumsai back in the mid-eighties. It houses the United Overseas Bank’s headquarters, but more importantly it looks like a giant robot. Obviously one day soon it’s going to become sentient and cause havoc across the city, but for the moment it’s always a pleasure to look across the view and see a large robot staring back at you.
Out of all the ‘Artoons’ Brendan McCarthy did for Crisis, this one always stuck with me. Looking at it always bring back the feeling of those dark sodium-lit Scottish nights. See more at The Strangeness of Brendan McCarthy. And if you ever get a chance, snap a copy of his mind-blowing book Swimini Purpose– well worth for a look inside his mind and his sketchbook. He’s currently drawing Dredd in the Megazine, bitten, turned into a zombie, shambling across the kind of Cursed Earth that only Brendan McCarthy could draw.
You sit in a psychiatrists office, nervously answering the questions he’s firing over at you. Ocassionally you glance up, to see him calmly watching you.. The questions are getting a little personal. You can’t help feel that he’s maybe judging you. And he is. Or at least the game that he’s part of is. In Silent Hill : Shattered Memories these vignettes in the psychiatrist office- which punctuate the game- will come back to haunt you. Sometimes literally. Because depending on your answers, the game tailors itself to what it images your psyche is. Characters change. Locations. Colours. Moods and moments. At the end it even delivers a full detailed psychological report about you . Because that’s what this game sets out to do- get under your skin, get into your head, and mess you up.
It’s hard to even call Shattered Memories a game. There’s no combat. No fights, weapons, health packs, none of that. You- or the character of Harry Mason- drift through a snowy deserted town- searching for your missing daughter. There are a few puzzles, but nothing taxing. And that’s it pretty much it. Just you, the lonely streets and your flash-light. Looking to unlock memories, hints to what might have happened, to where she might be. It’s atmospheric and eerie.
Sure, there are chase sequences. The world creaks and aches and turns to ice, and faceless things come hurtling after you as you dash through doors, looking for a way out. But you can’t die. If these deformed creatures get you and drag you down, you just re-start back at the beginning of the sequence. These sections are probably the low-point of the game- almost a sign that developers Climax Studios didn’t feel confident enough to ship the game without putting some sort of action scenes in. It’s worth saying that by the end of the game, stopping and thinking about the chase sequences becomes a hell of a lot more interesting.
And it’s in that final stretch that Shattered Memories all comes together quite beautifully. That’s probably the toughest thing about discussing it- the ending changes the game entirely and how you view everything that’s gone before. It’s a stunning little sequence- beautifully done and surprisingly affecting. And when it’s all over, and you’ve had a chance to digest what just occurred, to unravel all the knots, you realise that the game has being fucking with you, right from the start.
Of course the game barely made a dent in the charts. No combat? No rifles? No weapons? No sale. There’s a new Silent Hill on the way, and big shotguns and crazy creatures are back. It’s a shame- this strange little game didn’t just suggest a new direction for the series, but for games themselves. As weird as it sounds, a game where you do a lot of walking and very little happens turned out to be much more forward thinking than every other title on the shelves.
The first of it’s type in Glasgow for 15 years, Glasgow Comic Con sees a week of events that culminate in the con itself, held on Saturday the 18th in the cheerfully foreboding Mackintosh Church Arts & Heritage Centre. Guests include David Lloyd, Mark Millar, Frank Quietly as well as the legendary Alan Grant.
It’s being run by those nice chaps from indie Scottish label Black Hearted Press who have the stunning looking School of the Damned on the way, written by John Farman with art by Jim Devlin. In a market over-saturated by men-in-tights it’s great to see some fresh blood coming up with new stuff that doesn’t rely on muscle bound masked crusaders to keep the reader engaged.