With True Believers 2016 a week behind us, we delve into a few of the indie comics which were on offer at Cheltenham racecourse and see what small press titles were worth our hard-earned cash!! They include: Vince Hunt’s Red Mask From Mars #2, Mike Garley’s The Kill Screen #4, Steve Sims’ Beast Hunting Battle Badgers and Sarah Millman’s Heart of Time.
Red Mask from Mars #2 (Raw Edge Comics)
Doug Stewart and his red faced alter-ego return with the forces from Xenosphere for this second installment which seems them continue in their efforts to thwart alien invadors, this time in the form of a prickly army of space sharks. Writer/artist Vince Hunt once again brings the fun with issue 2, imbuing it more of the Hellboy/Deadpool humour which we saw before. This time, however, we see a little more focus on supporting characters like Price, as well as an introduction of mysterious new one in Wulf. With more solid art, jump off the page colours and another surprising cliffhanger at the end, it is clear that if issue 1 got you on this ride, then issue 2 will convince to stay on.
Purchase Red Mask from Mars #2 from Comixology for £1.49/$1.99
The Kill Screen #4 (Mike Garley Comics)
The finale to Mike Garley and Joshua Sherwell’s computer virus armageddon comes to a close with this fourth issue as Chris is captured by the forces of the Killscreen who offer him a choice, just as his fellow survivors mount a rescue attempt. Garley continues to show why he is one of our favourite small press writers with an unpredictably engrossing story worthy of mainstream recognition. Meanwhile, Joshua Sherwell’s art maintains its solid computer-esque look while upping his own game with a few more 8 bit inspired panels. Though we see hints of a continuation to this world at the end of the issue, Garley, Sherwell and Stock have made a series so good that if this doesn’t happen then that would be a worse tragedy to comics than if a real killscreen were to occur.
Purchase The Kill Screen #4 from mikegarley.bigcartel.com for £4.00
Beast Hunting Battle Badgers #1 (Steve Sims)
A lesser known find at True Believers compared to the previous two titles, creator Steve Sims anamorphic fighting book is no less impressive. During Beast Hunting Battle Badgers, we are introduced to Laird and Flint, two brothers who travel to Stonevale to take a fighting job, but end up getting more trouble than they bargained for (Oh yeah, and they are badgers). From the cover, this comic is undoubtedly an homage to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and everything about it confirms that, from the soft pencils of the quality art to the amount of fun we read in the story itself. And while the pacing falters a little partway through, this is dispelled when we are treated to incredibly powerful panels during the fight scenes which need no dialogue to keep us engrossed. While most small press books tend to stick to the darker stories, this is a lighthearted which gave us a smile on our faces by the end.
Purchase Beast Hunting Battle Badgers #1 through www.stevesimsillustration.co.uk. for £3.00 (plus £1.50 p&p).
The Heart of Time vol. 1 (Two Toed Press)
Finally, our True Believers Round Up is completed with The Heart of Time, a story about a young girl named Amelia (and her pug Gertrude) and their adventures through time on a vespa with a different kind of flux capacitor. However, when our hero crashes in Victorian London then hijinks ensue for both her and victim of circumstance Arthur. With this title, creator Sarah Millman has provided a bright and optimistic adventure story which, coupled with some light and colorful art and imbued with a real subtle humour, is a joy to read. And, although the only downside is the prickly characterisation of main character Amelia, the book still provides enough charm and intrigue to make us stick around for more.
Purchase the Heart of Time vol. 1 on Amazon for £10