Paragon 4: Football, space Ganesh and mysterious dead folks – but not all in the same strip
Published by Dave Candlish
Contributors: Dave Candlish, Alan Candlish, Terry Wilkinson, The Emperor, Stephen Prestwood, Paul Harrison Davies.
An anthology title with a strange mix of strips this. Indian mythology, strange psychological horror and a sitcom style strip about football fans. Add in the magazine size, a couple of pinups and finally the inclusion of a text piece on Buster Crabbe and you have something that really deserves the description eclectic.
It starts with the football strip; “We’re On Our Way To Wembley”, adapted by publisher Dave Candlish from a story written by Candlish’s dad Alan and his mate Terry Wilkinson. Very basic, very simple; just a few Geordies sat in the club bar waiting for the coach to take them down to Wembley for an England game. It’s rough in art and story, but with a few nice bits of funny dialogue and the relaxed pacing and style I thought it rather charming.
(We’re On Our Way To Wembley from Paragon 4, Geordies, football and a nice soap opera style strip.)
Next up is Battle Ganesh, the second part of the story (part one is available to read here) which looks and reads very much like an old favourite of mine; Jason Cobley’s Bulldog. It’s by far the most accomplished strip in this issue of Paragon, with Stephen Prestwood’s artwork suitably big, bold and striking for a spacebound story of an Indian elephant god on a fantastic quest. It does lose it’s way occasionally and veers into unclear, but overall it’s a good strip. And there’s a lovely bit of dialogue to start it all off…
(How to summarise an awful lot of Indian mythology in a couple of panels – not very trunky covers it nicely. From Battle Ganesh in Paragon issue 4.)
Battle Ganesh takes it’s Indian mythology not at all seriously, with Ganesh and his gang of Gods having to delay the quest to clear up a troubling case of giant Kali crabs that are running amock across the ship. This action is interspersed with flashbacks of Ganesh collecting his motley crew of Indian Gods to help him on his quest, and it’s this inclusion of frequent flashbacks that sometimes gets artist Prestwood in a little trouble with his layouts and leaves the reader struggling to work out what’s going on. But it’s never too bad to really spoil the fun of the strip.
(Undertow part 2 from Paragon issue 4, confusing yet interesting stuff.)
The final strip is the one that I had the most trouble with. It’s another second part, but this time there’s no first part online to help me out and I felt rather lost. Undertow is doing it’s best to be mysterious and sinister, with it’s tale of a man returned from the dead capable of seeing some strange and decidedly unnatural things. And whilst he’s on the phone to the man who identified his corpse, there are some very sinister looking men outside trying to work out just how to kill him all over again. It’s too short and fragmented to really say I enjoyed it, but I have a feeling that I’d be interested in reading the whole thing at some point. Interestingly Dave Candlish’s art looks like a very rough and stripped down Rian Hughes in parts.
Last but not least, the best artwork in the issue belongs to Paul Harrison Davies with his back cover illustration on Peter Cushing, very nice….
(Lovely Cushing pinup page from Paragon issue 4 by Paul Harrison Davies.)
It’s an odd little anthology, with a mix of styles and strips that some might find too eclectic. But all in all, not bad, not bad at all. Issue 5 is promised in the new year, details and ordering information from the Paragon blog.