When it comes to digital comics, it is easy to focus on the new and cutting edge, however, it is also a fantastic medium for rediscovering the past. The Certified Hunt Emerson app is the latest release from Panel Nine, the company who released the audio graphic novels Kickback and Dapper John and who’s publisher, Russell Willis, we have spoken to on the site previously. The Certified Hunt Emerson collection brings together a selection of this infamous British ‘comix’ artist’s work into one place and gives the audience a unique insight into each page thanks to Emerson’s own audio commentary and introductions to each piece which gives the work. Unfortunately there aren’t audio tracks for every strip and you can’t scroll between pages while the tracks play, which is a shame, but it still helps to give the respective pages a fantastic insight as you hear about their intricacies from the man himself.
Featuring all his most infamous characters from Firkin the Cat and The Pilgrim, to City Mouth and more, this collection features 27 of his strips including his collaborations with Alan Moore as well as an issue of underground stoner comic Freak Brothers, which may help to give new fans some context. These sit easily alongside a selection of his more recent works and an array of his covers, so it’s great to see how his work and style have evolved over the decades. Unfortunately without chronological ordering this isn’t as easy as it could be and it leaps from one period to the next which can be a bit disorientating, but the range of work on show is still very impressive.
Although some ardent comix fans will argue that these stories aren’t the same went not accompanied by the physical sensations of paper and ink, it’s hard to deny that these pages look stunning – especially on older stories such as The Tower which has been lovingly restored by Emerson himself. When rendered on the iPad’s high resolution retina screen you can see every brushsroke in perfect detail, especially in the panel view mode, and so you can see Hunt’s intricate work in all it’s glory without ink bleeding across a page from the printing process or fading over time. It’s just a shame you can’t zoom in even closer as some of his work is truly breathtaking and makes you really appreciate the skill of traditional pen and ink illustrators.
Although this title is not for everyone (and with a few adult themed stories from his time working on ‘adult magazines’, not for kids) The Certified Hunt Emerson collection is a fantastic look into the history of one of Britain’s most infamous, but perhaps least well known comix artists. At the relatively exensive price of £6.99 this is a fantastic educational journey, albeit with a hefty price tag, but it is a brilliant read and a great way to learn about the history of a British comix icon in one easy form.