Taxidermy Tales

Published On June 1, 2012 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

Taxidermy Tales

By Gill Hatcher and A.J. Smith

Taxidermy Tales is a flip comic, a gentle horror double bill from Gill Hatcher (Team Girl Comic) and A.J.Smith (Khaki Shorts) with each artist getting just 10-pages, including the cover, to try and tell their tales, and although it’s short and sweet, both artists actually do rather well; getting over the essence of the storyline quickly and concisely to deliver a couple of satisfying tales. Smith probably makes more of his 8 story pages in all honesty, but simply through the device of cramming the page with panels, art, and dialogue. And that’s crammed as in tightly packed, but not in a derogatory sense. Tight, yet readable.

Hatcher’s 10-pager is The Museum Curator, a simple little tale of one girl’s unfortunate trip into Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum chasing after her wandering cat who has no idea of the trouble his owner is about to get into by following him into the Museum. What trouble? Can’t tell you, sorry – go and read it.

Hatcher describes the Museum as having a “creepy crepuscularity” and she certainly captures that little bit of gentle darkness and mild chill found in big, empty buildings of all kinds, especially on the page where the girl has to sneak into the museum chasing her errant cat, that switch from her normal style to something far more ornate and detailed is a very nice moment.

On the flip side we have Smith’s “Created By Clive” which is a bright, brash, and bold contrast to Hatcher’s more laid back and gentle tale. This is psychedelic 60s pop fashion smashing up against cybernetic doom, all through the medium of swish boutique shopping at “Created By Clive“, one of those very hip and very happening places just off the high street.

All it really needs to start it all off is a group of fashion conscious at a swanky fashion expo…. and here they are…

You can just tell that they’re not long for this world can’t you? And it’s all to do with the slightly malevolent blank stare of that pale girl dressed all in white. But they can’t see that, all they see is the uber-cool nonchalance, the blank look of a fashion icon. And they want in. They want the look, they want her style, her attitude, her blank stare….

And it’s simple, and all to be found once they walk through the door of Created By Clive, London hippest, happening-est hangout. Like it says on the flyer…. You haven’t arrived, till you’ve been …. “Created By Clive”.

Smith’s busy, detailed, packed out artwork suits the frenetic pace of his tale, again, just 10-pages including the cover, and just like Hatcher he manages to deliver a fine piece of storytelling in those pages. It’s bolder, louder, sillier than Hatchers, but compliments her sombre, creepy tone, with a pop horror all of its own.

Brilliantly, the whole thing is actually Smith repurposing the lyrics to an obscure 60s song of the same name by a band called The Syn, very much early Pink Floyd, or the more off-kilter bits of The Kinks. He’s even done a little music vid for us all to go along with it, using the track and bits of the comic…. enjoy:

You can buy Taxidermy Tales #1 from Adam and Gill’s webstore.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton

– Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he’s written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard’s day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children’s graphic novel library in the country.

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