Olly’s World of Indie: Rebirth of a Gangster and Mandy The Monster Hunter

For his latest World of Indie column, Olly MacNamee gets his reviewers hat out and takes a look at new issues of old favourites, such as CJ Standal’s Rebirth of the Gangster and Hellbound Media’s Mandy The Monster Hunter: The Face In The Curtain

Rebirth of the Gangster #5

Writer: CJ Standal Art: Juan Romero

Following on from previous issues, while the main plot moves forward and all eyes seem to begin to be turned by down-and-out, ne’er do well, Hunter, the spotlight focuses on Hunter’s mother, Linda, and her own personal Hell. While Hunter is a central character in this unfolding epic story of multiple characters and multiple perspectives, it would seem that no-one in this comic book goes unharmed in some way or other. In Linda’s case, it’s the Big C, but with a previous addiction to heroin, are opioids a short-term answer to the inevitable pain, or an invitation back into debilitating dependency?

The story, provided by CJ Standal, is starting to branch out and to blossom, as different perspectives are added to the comic. It may be a black and white comic, but there are enough grey areas beginning to form as relationships begin to grow and the most unlikeliest of friendships continue to evolve. The whole comic is starting to feel like The Wire, which isn’t a bad thing and, certainly, the clean, crisp simple line-work of Juan Romero reads like a storyboard with clearly defined and distinguishable characters, which is important when you’re offering multiple voices and views. Thankfully, you don’t need a Phd in street slang to understand this story.

In Hunter, more than any other character, the reader has someone to sympathise with. His story, like so many real life small time hoods, is not so simple. There are reasons for his actions, and in watching him develop – for bad or for good – Standal has the hook which should see readers wanting more.

There may not be much in the way of action in this issue, but it’s one that shows a lot. Hunter’s friends, family and aquaintances, both inside and outside of prison, all seem to be simply adding to the building dread. This can’t end well, and when the proverbial does hit the fan, I expect more than one person to come out of this badly.

Rebirth of the Gangster No.5 is available now online

Mandy The Monster Hunter: The Face in The Curtain

Publisher: Hellbound Media Writer: Matt Warner Art: Atlantisvampir 

We are re-introduced to Mandy, our hero and Monster Hunter, as she continues to save little children from things that most definitely do go bump in the night. This time, Nola is the victim of these nighttime terrors, as she also has to cope with the recent death of her father too and her own physical recovery from an unknown accident that sees her on crutches at the start of this story.

The artwork in this full-length graphic novel, by Atlantisvampir, borders on Manga, but it’s not quite there yet. However, the monsters under the bed, or even in the curtain, are well designed Lovecraftian creatures straight out of your worst nightmare and, with the use of dull colours and dull blending, this makes for a suitably creepy comic suitable for most ages. Mandy is a protector and something of a big sister too, as she takes Nola under her wing and her protection.

This is a graphic novel that does well to keep up the pace, while skilfully delving into Mandy’s own past and her own reasons for becoming an assassin of monsters big and small. In Mandy, the children have a saviour; someone who will believe them when they cry out in the middle of the night. Nola, has a new role model and recognises that even princesses can slay monsters. Hell, women are kicking butts in comics, films and other media to such an extent at the moment that female readers have a lot of choice they may not have had, even a decade ago. And, with the promise of more Mandy in the pages of the critically acclaimed Comichaus, there won’t be much of a wait until we hear from her again.

Mandy The Monster Hunter: The Face in the Curtain is available from Hellbound Media here.

Author: Olly MacNamee

Olly MacNamee teaches English and Media, for his sins, in a school somewhere in Birmingham. Some days, even he doesn’t know where it is. Follow him on twitter @ollymacnamee or read about his exploits at olly.macnamee@blogspot.co.uk. Or don’t.