B.A.S.T.A.R.D.S stands for British Artists Standing Tall And Reaching Distant Shores. The whole idea behind the comic anthology is to showcase the creators involved and, armed with the anthology, convince the selection panel behind Angouleme, French comics festival of renown, that these folks are worth a place at the festival. Well, it worked – their place is booked and early next year the British small press invade this previously well respected festival.
It is, as you might expect from an anthology, a bit of a mixed bag. But, it’s a mixed bag with rather a high ratio of hit to miss. And it’s full of familiar faces from the Brit comic scene: Dan Lester, David Baillie, Douglas Noble, Emma Price, Francesca Cassavetti, Jake Harold, Oliver Lambden, Paul Rainey, Philip Spence, Sally-Anne Hickman, Schmurgen Jonerhaffs, Sean Azzopardi. (phew). There’s a good mix of styles on show, although the majority of the strips are relatively short and funny strips, there are a few that veer off towards whimsy or serious stuff.
To give you an idea of the breadth of stuff and some of the quality, here are a few of the highlights…..
(Dan Lester’s speed dating – crude artwork but a gag that had me giggling)
(David Baillie’s deceptively simple line in a tale of daily life.)
(Francesca Cassavetti shares a tale of going to visit her mom in Paris, and a weekend reliving childhood horrors. Parents are sent to try us. And then we become them.)
(And finally, Philip Spence’s tale struck a chord for it’s sentiment and honesty)
That’s all we have time for but there are plenty more great strips in B.A.S.T.A.R.D.S, a real call to arms for the UK scene, proving yet again, that it’s as strong as ever and getting stronger every year. For more details check out the B.A.S.T.A.R.D.S blog. Copies are available from conventions at a very reasonable £5 and from both Francesca Cassavetti’s website: http://www.fabtoons.com/comics2.html and Paul Rainey website http://pbrainey.com/shop.htm