Pjang 4 – more of those people who just aint no good
by Rol Hirst, Chris Askham, Ryan Taylor, Tony McGee, cover by Nigel Lowrey and Davey Metcalfe
The latest issue of Rol Hirst’s Pjang sticks to the format of three short stories per comic, and just about sticks to the title’s theme of “people just ‘aint no good”. It certainly gets off to a great start with that “Heat” style cover by Nigel Lowrey and Davey Metcalfe.
It starts with “Stella”, by far the best strip for both story and art, which sees a mismatched young couple on a restaurant date; Marcus is frankly a bit of a bore, and his date Rebecca is a friend of his ex-girlfriend Stella, who left Marcus as her fame as an actress grew and grew. From the very first page it’s obvious that Rebecca has some mysterious agenda, and it’s all connected to Stella somehow. Perhaps it’s all down to the juicy bit of bedroom gossip Stella shared with Rebecca once that’s made her so interested – or maybe it’s something nastier?
(Marcus may be a bore, but something’s attracting Rebecca – we just don’t know what or why … yet. Page 1 of Stella by Rol Hirst and really lovely art from Chris Askham from Pjang issue 4.)
Stella is a really well constructed strip, as Hirst sells us the blossoming relationship whilst always keeping us guessing about Rebecca’s real motivations – or nearly, since he rather telegraphs the twist in the finale a little too soon. But aside from that, Stella’s a wonderfully crafty, interesting little short story with fine art to match from Chris Askham, who does a fantastic job, with some lovely figure work throughout.
(A dream? A nightmare? And where is it all taking place? From the second strip in Pjang 4 – telling you the title would give the game away – by Rol Hirst and Ryan Taylor)
Next up, is a strip that Hirst freely admits to being little more than a clever gag, fleshed out a touch and delivered to the page by newcomer Ryan Taylor. How clever? Well, clever enough that, even though you get it with the reveal on the final page and the title deliberately left until the final panel, it still warrants a second read to get all the little clues Hirst has sprinkled throughout in this neat tale of domestic revenge and dreamlike mysteries. Clever and fun.
(Answering that phone is going to completely change his life/lives. From Split by Rol Hirst and Tony McGee)
And finally, “Split” with art by Tony McGee, wherein we witness a very unhappy little family unit on a visit to his mom and dad. Except halfway through yet another bad tempered meal, he get’s a phone call from his dad. Except he’s just been sitting with his dad, so who’s this man on the phone? This one plays out just like a Twilight Zone episode, with another clever little idea of diverging paths in life leading us down another possible life. Again, very nicely done, but I’m not going to give it away here.
Even though Stella was the obvious standout, both in story and art, all three strips were very strong, nicely self-contained and all very satisfying. Pjang, with 4 issues down, really is shaping up to be a quality comic. All 4 issues are available from Rol Hirst’s website.