Indie Comic Round-Up: Nottingham Comic Convention 2017

This weekend’s Nottingham Comic Con is shaping up to be a triumphant end to the indie and small press calendar with an incredible roster of talent exhibiting on the day and some fantastic books making their debut. We round-up some of our favourites that will be available including: Late Knights: A Sense Of Steel, Stuff and Stuff, Unfamilliar Skies, Descending Outlands and the NCC Anthology – Outlaws Wanted.

Late Knights: A Sense Of Steel #1

This new all ages adventure from Jon Laight and Matt Strott is like a junior version of Kingsman combined with the family friendly antics of Incredibles – but with a very British sensibility. The Knight family are the latest in a long line of heroes descended from the knights templar who help keep to world safe, with Mum and Dad taking on the baddies while the kids are still in training and going to school. However when the kids return home to find their house trashed and their parents missing they must find out where they are and take on the diabolical Miss Fur Frost to help rescue them. Late Knights is packed full of the kind of all ages action and adventure that we grew up on. Matt Strott’s cartoony artwork mixes great high tech visuals with a very approachable fun cartoony style while Jon Laight’s script is witty and very accessible for younger readers. For older readers it may lack a bit of depth and the story is fairly predictable, but for a book aimed at young kids then this is a great way to get them reading comics that are something a bit different from those made by the big two.

You can pick up Late Knights from table U35

Stuff and Stuff

After sharing the trials tribulation of setting up Nottingham Comic Con in his book, How To Run A Comic Con, Kev Brett’s new collection Stuff and Stuff is a good old fashioned collection of comic strips. From the grumpy estate agents in the beginning, to the Nightstalkers (a group of vigilantes who can’t agree on a time to fight crime) through to Santa waging war against jack Frost at the end. It is a book filled with genuine laugh out loud gags and a daft sense of humour that comes straight from the mind of someone who has clearly been weaned on the Beano or the Dandy from an early age. Our favourite of the bunch though has to be Biggun whose punk rock antics in the real world differ greatly from those on his social media accent and makes for a funny read that is also very smartly observed!

You can pick up Stuff and Stuff from table U01

Unfamiliar Skies 2

We loved the premise for Webster’s original issue (a young girl on the run from a human colony which is travelling to a new planet in a far off galaxy however her family won’t live long enough to see it) and this continues the high energy action of the first issue. It literally starts off with punches being thrown as Claris search for her father and this quest fills up the majority of the issue – with the rest of it concerning those who are in pursuit of her and her family. Webster is clearly revelling in building his own brand of space opera saga and his Anime-infused artwork is packed full of energy and dynamism that is further brought to life by the clean and crisp colour palette. He has also crafted a really diverse and eclectic group of aliens who Claris encounters and makes this a fun journey into the depths of outer space!

You can pick up Unfamilliar Skies from table U43

Descending Outlands #4

Nate Avery and his band of outlaws are still on the run from the mysterious Fountain in the latest volume of Shaun Dobie’s epic space adventure. Dobie’s writing continues to get more confident and assured the more he fleshes out the characters back stories and/or puts them in scrapes that they have to get out there and he does this really well in this new volume. Split into three chapters, the opener reveals more about the mysterious Isi, while the second part gives us a healthy dose of action adventure and zombies as the crew bite off more than they can chew on a particular salvage job. While the third chapter helps flesh out Church’s backstory after an event at the end of the second chapter. By splitting up the story into three smaller chapters it allows Dobie to use a revolving roster of artists (and also offer a larger 40 page volume for readers to enjoy), but because the stories are all different it doesn’t matter that they don’t look the same. In fact it makes it a much better reading experience as you know each chapter is slightly different from the previous, both visually and narratively. The star of the issue art-wise is Davide Tinto whose Chris Bacahaco style gives the middle chunk a really high energy core and a nice classy centrepiece. His work is flanked by chapters from Ian Waryanto and Paul Oliveira respectively and although their styles are a little more formal and traditional in comparison, they create a nice balance for the more exposition heavy stories. Descending Outlands continues to grow and develop in confidence with every issue and is a fantastic slice of all action sci-fi action adventure, that’s perfect for you if you like anything involving spaceships and groups of scoundrels on the run from the law!

You can pick up Descending Outlands from table U29

NCC Anthology: Oulaws Wanted

If these great comics haven’t satisfied your appetite yet, then be sure to check out the wonderful NCC Anthology: Outlaws Wanted. After the huge success of last year’s debut volume, Kev has again complied a collection featuring stories from some of this weekend’s best guests, and all in the name of charity. But don’t be put off by it’s charitable status, it’s a truly great comic that puts many more established anthologies in the shade in terms of quality. There’s the brilliant Dare Neville from Steve Beckett which feels like it has been torn from the pages of the Beano; a surreal offering from Roger Langridge about a magician and his rabbit; an origin story for the preacher in The Last Sherrif from the Reckless Hero guys; Emily Owen and Gav Mitchell offer up a Pup and Grumpicorn story packed full of jammy donuts and western attitude; Space Captain’s Chris Baldie has a beautiful strip about a space couple on holiday; Jon Laight and Dan Butcher combine to create the beginnings of a new superhero tale about a bored office worker; Sally Jane Thompson has a sublime pencil drawn tale about the summer heat; Dan Harris has a surreal take on a classic barbarian tale in Fifteen Minutes of Fantasy; but perhaps our favourite of the lot is Nick Prolix’s absolutely incredible The Flying Halfpennies about a bunch of anthropomorphic cats in the jungle which looks like it has been lifted wholesale from the pages a Golden Age comic and is just stunning! There’s also strips from Kev himself and many more. With it’s mix of all ages and family friendly tales, there isn’t a single bad word or off colour joke to be seen, and despite that (or perhaps even as a result of that) it manages to be an absolutely stellar read. Everyone has brought their A game for this and put together one hell of a great book which is an absolute essential purchase for anyone who is there on the day!

You can pick up the NCC Anthology from table U01

Also released this weekend are Midnight Man: Gunspace and Perrywinkle – click on the title to read our full review.

We’re also told that if you pop along to the Reckless Hero table, a new issue of The Last Sheriff may well be making it’s appearance. More of which next week!