by Martin Simpson
Another small, small press comic from a newcomer to the UK small press scene. Martin Simpson is an illustrator and graphic designer who works in a variety of media to accomplish his lush, rich and extremely professional work. You’d only really know this was Martin Simpson’s first mini comic because he tells you so.
The comic itself is, as I’ve begun to expect from the UK small press scene, excellently put together. It’s got a tiny print run of 100 but looks totally professional. Indeed, the only give away to the amateur publisher is the card cover and handmade cover image.
Inside the comic, Martin works in mixed media, including sculpture, photography and good old fashioned cartooning. As you can see from the pages I’ve borrowed below, it’s a seamless mix, full of an emotion and richness you don’t usually find in such artworks. The influence of Dave McKean has to be brought up at this point concerning Martin’s art. It’s unavoidable.
This mix of sculpture, photography, computers and art is very much what McKean was all about several years ago. But everyone has influences, and early work is where to show them off. What matters here, much more than his influences, is how very well Martin uses those influences to show off his own work.
(pages 2 & 3, 4 & 5 from Unmasked by Martin Simpson. My scan of pages 4 & 5 makes it look a bit dull. But it’s actually just as bright, clean and polished as the image of pages 2 & 3 from Martin’s blog at the top.)
Obviously, as Martin’s first mini comic is a very short 13 story pages with large panels to each page, there’s only so much story he could fit in. It’s mostly in service to the art, a tale of one individuals desire to overcome the mask of society works very well indeed to showcase Martin’s excellent layout and storytelling. I enjoyed this first mini-comic and really hope to see more for Martin Simpson in the future.