Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Hidden deep in the back of last month's PREVIEWS...

...was Mam Tor's EVENT HORIZON #3.

I loved the first two issues of this anthology, quite unexpectedly. I thought they'd maybe be a bit heavy on the goth/fantasy angle, a little bit too Metal Hurlant for my tastes. But, as more and more contributors signed up, guys whose work I loved like Chris Weston, Ash Wood, Glen Fabry, Simon Bisley, etc, I decided to take the plunge and ordered both from Amazon, and promptly forgot all about them. They never arrived, but a while later editor and guiding light Liam Sharp announced that issue 3 would be the last, for now, with it to return at some point in the future, in another format. Feeling kinda guilty about not being true to my own agenda of feeding the tree, of attending to the grass roots of the UK comics publishing biz, I cancelled with Amazon, whatever the hell was taking them, and paypalled Mam Tor directly to get the first two issues. They arrived pretty much return of post, and were great.

The U.K's comics industry is all about anthologies, has been from the start, and every few years a new one comes along and renews and refreshes the tradition. Hell, it'd be a brave man who tried and name the first in this cycle, it was probably some long-lost Victorian Penny Dreadful. In my father's time, it was probably The Eagle, Lion and Valiant. In my lifetime, the sequence of epochal anthologies probably went Battle, Action, 2000AD, Starlord, Warrior, Crisis, Deadline, A1, with a few nearly rans like Revolver , Toxic! , Marvel UK's Hulk Comic and Daredevils. Since 1976, every other title since has failed to last the distance, but has seen their talent pools integrated (or downright nicked) by the ever-resiliant 2000AD, and since the mid-eighties, by DC Comics (best examples: Alan Moore after Warrior, and Pete Milligan after Deadline - both scooped off first to 2000AD, then whoosh!, Karen Berger swoops in for DC/Vertigo).

Event Horizon has been the first anthology in a hell of a long time to hit those same high notes, to enter that tradition, and I fully expect to see the artists who've broken through in it (especially the great Edmund Bagwell) get head-hunted and go on to bigger (if not better) things. So, enough historologizin'. My point is order issue three! Here's the under-whelming blurb - "Showcasing talents of long-time established pros (sic) Shaun Philips, Duncan Fegrado (ed: really, look at the state of this spelling), and Glenn Fabry, Event Horizon continues to please and excite with 21st century pulp fiction and art along with regulars D.Kendall, B.Holguin, A.Powers, M Raicht, E.Simcock- Tooth, Bagwell, R.Johnson, S. Kudranski, S. Perkins, R.Cormack, and more". Talk about yer soft sell.

Of course, that doesn't really tell us that much, so I contacted long-time friend of this blog Duncan Fegredo to pony up something mind-bending to help the cause. And lo! Along came the tantalizing art preview to you left! To see the big ol' version of said image, click here! It's a portfolio jam by two of the greatest British comic book artists to ever wield a brush in anger - what more do you need to know? That it's a preview to the art book they're publishing through Image Comics sometime in Autumn? Okay then! That Duncan has threatened to email Hellboy Versus The Irish to Mike Mignola, a man whose work I worship like a turnip-eatin' medieval monk? Cripes!