Edited by Laura Howell
Midlands Comics Collective
Something of a mixed bag anthology this one – 12 tales dealing, in one way or another, with the end of the world. The quality varies rather markedly throughout, and there were a couple that just did nothing for me.
However, lets give you a little of the good; staring with Ryan Taylor’s Eisner evoking cover – good, striking stuff (although to be honest his later Moebius tribute strip is a little weak compared to his other stuff I’ve seen). And once inside we kick off with a nice quartet. Simon Woolford’s Parasites and Tony McGee’s Elysium both of which have that slightly 2000AD-ish Future Shock/ Terror Tales vibe going on, but Tony McGee’s tale wins out, purely for the much better artwork:
(Tony McGee – Elysium, from Midlands Comics Collective’s The End Of The World Is Nigh)
Hunt Emerson, one of Britian’s best cartoonists, and occupying the mentoring granddaddy role with the MCC, provides something very Hunt Emerson-ish with the fun and funny, all told in rhyme 4-pager The Tower. It’s almost unthinkable to me that there are people out there who don’t know Emerson’s work, given that he’s been a mainstay of UK comics for decades now, but I guess there aren’t. Here’s a great chance to find out. Not one of his best perhaps, and I’m unsure whether it’s new or not (I think possibly not) although the rhyming story raised a smile all the way through, but the artwork, whatever the story, always fills me with delight:
(Hunt Emerson – The Tower, from Midlands Comics Collective’s The End Of The World Is Nigh)
And whilst we’re on fun stuff, great art, and the ability to put a smile on my face, I loved, loved, loved Ellie Cummins’ Last Nanook In Paris.
In fact I loved it from the single page introduction. Silly and funny, it put a stupid smile on my face across all 4-pages. Her art style might not please everyone, but I really thought it lovely, light, a breath of fresh air.
And there’s a smoking polar bear in a fedora romancing his way through Paris’ women. How could you not enjoy that?
(Ellie Cummins – (A Bit Of Background To) Last Nanook In Paris, from Midlands Comics Collective’s The End Of The World Is Nigh)
After this initial quartet, things went a little down to be honest. There’s obvious talent in the Midlands Comics Collective, but it’s raw. In some ways that’s forgiveable, and I applaud the desire to get stuff out in front of an audience this way, and I hope they don’t take my words too much to heart. Treat it as a challenge, a well done and all that, but go away and get better, then make me change my mind. I look forward to seeing what they do next..
Push The Button by Kevin Lee Bennett did little for me, a space based prank, storytelling and art that didn’t really flow too easily. Likewise Giuseppa Barresi’s Ministry Of Destruction, despite having a great little premise to hang gags off, the gags didn’t really flow as well as they should and the final page smacked of casting around for an ending that it didn’t need. Josh Clarke’s two pages of dino-extinction gag were nice enough, but lightweight, same as Morgan and Masci’s Die Ja Vu, another 2-page gag, and just like Clarke’s it could be done, just as well, in 2-panels. Quite liked John Crawford’s comedy ending Jurassic Villa Park, mixing football and dinodsaurs, to comedic effect, but again, nothing wow.
But let’s not end on a low, let’s go back in the comic to a couple of good ones….
Mikey B’s The Cockroach Shall Inherit The Earth is a simple tale, and not one you’ll be surprised with, but it’s neatly told, confident artwork, nice gag at the end.
Even better is Jane McGuiness’ The Fruit Tree; a nothing story across 2-pages, more a tone poem, musings of a figure on the page. But the art is simply lovely. I’d like to see more.
(Jane McGuiness – The Fruit Tree, from Midlands Comics Collective’s The End Of The World Is Nigh)