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Saturday, January 02, 2010

This Week's Suspended Animation - Starscape Presents


Starscape Presents, #’s 1 and 2, published by Starscape and Starscape Online, 24 pages, $2.99. Available at www.spitfirecomics.co.uk .

Zombies are big in comics, today, which is probably one reason for the story entitled “Dead” in Starscape Presents #1. The premise is simple: an Old West town is the last “safe” place in a world overrun by the necrotic, cannibalistic legions.

Writer Gary Simpson crafts a straightforward tale that, while primarily an action/horror yarn, does provide a twist or two. Sheriff Flint is a highly sympathetic character, despite her “crusty” persona; no doubt, a result of years of dealing with “the dead”.

Artist Lee O’Conner provides pencils and inks that are, at times, wonderfully detailed and realistic. However, his extreme use of black in some panels doesn’t always seem to serve an obvious creative purpose. His is a style which, after further polishing, could develop a following. For what it’s worth, his cover for this comic book is superb.

A word of warning: This comic is not for children, or the squeamish (such as myself), as violence, gore and profanity abound.

Issue number two of Starscape Presents: “Ouija: Heartstrings”, involves the interesting concept of a man who does favors for dead people. Think “The Sixth Sense” meets “The Equalizer”. In this tale, he involves himself in a deceased woman’s case concerning her vampiric boyfriend.

Gary Simpson’s hero comes across effectively as a hard man with a soft heart. Unfortunately, Simpson’s unique idea cannot save the story from an art style which may be fine after more seasoning, but is, as it stands, crude enough as to actually detract from the story itself.

At the least, a comics artist should be able to always distinguish each character, and maintain things like size and perspective. To artist Tim Youlden I say keep working on your technique; one review does not a career make, OR break.

Like the issue which proceeds it, “Heartstrings” is a bloody tale, and not for the youngsters.

Reviews by Mark Allen