Bostin’ Heroes # 1
by Matthew Craig, Jack Davies & Donato Esposito
A strange one this. A comic about the Black Country that forms part of the Bostin’ group, It’s technically a small press comic promoting a business, but since the business is all about the Black Country and that’s where I’m from, I make no apologies for reviewing it. The Black Country, for those unfortunate souls who don’t know, is that wonderful area of the Midlands around Dudley and Wolverhampton. It’s a unique place and full of wonderful people with strange dialects:
Bostin’ is Black Country for good. And the business in question, Bostin’, sells a rather funky range of Black Country T-Shirts. Perfect for the Yam Yam in your life. (see here for a quick translation guide).
Anyway, Bostin’ Heroes is a comic written by Matthew Craig (Of Hondle fame as reviewed here), local writer and artist and small press publisher. The art is by newcomer Jack Davies; graduate of Hi8us Midlands’ Stripsearch programme that involved Hunt Emerson, John McCrea and others. And it’s all masterminded by Donato Esposito, a local businessman who runs the Bostin’ Group “to promote positivity and regional pride”. (And to sell those aforementioned T-shirts). But like I said, all Midlands boys, all with the intent of talking about the Black Country in a good way, so any minor qualms I have about the business model behind the comic I’m prepared to put aside to enjoy the comic.
And it is a very enjoyable comic. Granted, there’s part of me that bristles slightly when the first couple of pages are about Birmingham, which, as any good Yam Yam will tell you, has nothing to do with the Black Country at all. However, after that Matthew Craig makes it all better by telling a tale that has it’s origins in a cave underneath Dudley Castle, in the heart of My Black Country.
Bostin’ Heroes concerns a group of four people; drawn together to meet at the castle by mysterious invitations. Of course, most of them they’re about to feature in the next reality TV show. But that idea soon goes out of the window as our heroes get dropped; literally, into the role of protecting the Midlands from those who would see it fall. They’re called together and given costumes and powers by shadowy figures who’ve obviously done all this all before. Dressed and ready for the battle, the heroes settle down to the realisation that they’re going to be superheroes.
It’s 16 pages of setup, owing rather a lot to classic superhero tales and a little Arthurian legend. In particular I’m reminded of early bits of classic Fantastic Four and Captain Britain, and is it just me, or does Jack Davies’ artwork remind you of very early, very rough Alan Davis?
Bostin Heroes is a good introduction to the series, setting everything up nicely and with a nice touch of dialogue and artwork that, although rough and raw, still does a good job of telling the story with clarity and pace. Matthew Craig has a nice ear for dialogue and a witty turn of phrase:
As the four strangers, wondering whether this is some reality TV show, find themselves dropped into a cave under Dudley Castle a mysterious Black Country voice greets them with “Owamya” (Translation: How are you? – common greeting in Black Country parlance) and the simple repost of “Is that you, Davina?” works a treat.
(Bostin’ Heroes # 1 artwork by Jack Davies)
It’s always difficult to work a strong dialect into comics and thankfully Craig keeps the Bins, ‘Aves and Gunnas to a minimum to avoid breaking up the story too much as the brain slows to translate.
Bostin’ Heroes: B Marks The Spot makes a strong start and looks interesting enough to keep following. The story can be followed at Bostin’ Heroes online (bostinheroes.com) where our heroes face their first challenge as something big and nasty starts demolishing historic bits of Birmingham. (Although usually, Birmingham City Council manages to do that perfectly well on it’s own.)
Bostin’ Heroes; They’re going to save the world…. But they’re going to start with Wolverhampton. Personally I’d let the bad guys have Wolverhampton and step in to save the world just afterwards. But aside from that little problem, this comic is Bostin’.
Ta ra a bit.
Richard Bruton (and yes, I was always going to end the review with that. It was obvious from the moment I started wasn’t it?)