Celtic Clan Cover
Reviews

Review: The Celtic Clan 1-3

Nigel Flood from Punt Press sent me The Celtic Clan 1-3 to review. Looking at this from a Road So Far point of view, I’ve combined the review of the series to this point into one post, taking a look at series overall, rather than on an issue-by-issue basis. As always, I aim for the most positive aspects of a book as much as possible in my reviews.

Another Irish Superhero Story?

For such a small country, our comic creators love to create large teams of Irish superheroes. Buttonpress have one. Cremona Press have one. And, though they also release other titles, Punt Press have one. There’s always a problem with scale when it comes to superhero stories – just how many characters should you attempt to fit into one story? – and I think for the most part, Flood and co. have the max figured out. The Celtic Clan featured in the book, if you ignore the additional ensemble of supporting heroes, is enough to make the difference on the panels, and allows for a few different stories to be told at once.

I should say, I preferred Flood’s other work – The Globalists – but there’s a lot of fun to be had in the pages of The Celtic Clan. It’s definitely a more jovial comic, not quite on the all-ages spectrum of Buttonpress comics, but with a lot of the humour that a more violent comic needs when the cast are wearing spandex.

Villainsssssss

When I initially read the comics, I thought the idea for the villains was a bit…silly? I’ll settle on silly. I even thought that when I was tired and made my notes for this very review. Several days later, and taking into account everything I’ve already said, I revise that statement.

The villains of the comics are snake people. Yes, snake people. Lizard people, maybe. But definitely reptilian in nature, with a fun throwback to one of the strangest conspiracy theories we still occasionally hear about – the underground lizard people who rule the world!

Flood takes advantage of this to cast an eye back into Irish history, and manages to create a greater sense of mythos within his comics than three issues should really allow. (Bravo on that!)

The books are fast-paced, and artist Frank J Right succeeds in driving the story along expertly, and fleshing out the details on a wholly bizarre set of characters, seemingly without issue.

(And, it should be said, the characters vary in so many different ways. There’s a cat-man, lizard-people, a pixie-esque-woman, a classic warrior, a barbarian-ish old man, a speedster in spandex, and a monster made from whatever the ground can provide, be it turf, concrete or street poles. Despite the massive mix, he manages not to deviate from his style, and depicts everything skilfully.)

All in all, The Celtic Clan is a fun series. It’s worth checking out if you like superhero comics and want to support small press. How long we’ll have to wait for issue 4, however, remains to be seen.

Reviews

Review: Thimble #1

In 2015, Buttonpress Publications released their third title, to publish alongside Wren and Artos. The new book, written by letterer Phil Roe’s wife, was Thimble.

Where Wren is a superhero book, Thimble is a fantasy. She’s still a hero, and looks very much the part in the first issue cover, but her story focuses much less on the Irish heroes in Dubh Linn. Instead, it focuses on local folklore, and a small protagonist’s big dreams. Cursed to be minuscule, Thimble is a charming girl who wants to explore the world around her, with the aid of some magic keeping at her to regular proportions for the sake of a normal life.

This is a remarkable debut from a new writer at Buttonpress, Sarah Roe, which really shows off the potential of the books that the company can produce. Charming, with incredibly inviting, Roe’s story will draw readers in and leave them wanting more.

The book’s artist, Jason Browne, has shown in this latest title his ability to capture the life of a modern day rural Ireland. Thimble shows us how far his artwork has come since the first Wren comic. Colour is the man’s best friend, giving his style more life and vibrancy.

Thimble is a powerful, story-driven tale, so enjoyable and enthralling that readers young and old (hey, it is an all-ages comic) will have no difficulty with the book, except that it has to eventually end.

You can catch Thimble #1, as well as WrenArtos, and Buttonpress Publications’ newest book, Stoat, at Dublin Comic Con this weekend. In the meantime, Thimble fans will need to wait for Browne and co. to finish with the next issue. At least they’ve got plenty more to keep us interested.

The Earthbound God Cover
Reviews

Review: The Earthbound God

In 2013, Anthea West released The Earthbound God. Six years earlier, I became acquainted with her online. I’ve been a supporter of her work since she started producing comics; I need to state this before I get into the review, to be clear that I adore her work, and consider her a vital friend in the comic book world.

When I picked up The Earthbound God, during its initial release, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that shortly thereafter, the book sold out, and Anthea West needed to print more to meet demand. I can only imagine what might have drawn people to this book – pun definitely intended. It must have been – and I really can only guess – the beautiful concept of the book, one that inspired me to support her IndieGoGo campaign for the first print run. I was not disappointed with the book, and I know that I am not alone.

West tells a wonderful story of wayward sisters in a frozen world, sisters by bond rather than blood, travelling from two very different places in the mountains. During the winter, they must find and kill the Earthbound God, Mij, a bounty kill that would secure their future. Through their journey, West paints a clear picture of a strange world, where language is a constant barrier and a superstitious force, and something to be played with in the writing. In few words, West shows readers the importance of story in a world without electronic communication, where instances to find food and warmth can be few and far between.

Of vital importance in this tale is the relationship between the sisters by bond, Yaeya and Eusha, dressed in thick furs, with remarkably expressive faces. Their relationship is complicated, but understand easily in the ways they interact throughout the book.

This is a fully fleshed out book, drawn in black and white in such a way that the frozen-over world can be felt through the pages. The creative use of panelling, and the value placed upon blank space, draws a complicated picture.

With clear influences from Princess Mononoke, and a long history of her own creative drive in character and monster creation, West delivers a powerful book, with a disturbing antagonist and a harsh environment to offset the embodied enthusiasm within our heroes.

The book is available through Forbidden Planet Dublin; if you ask nicely, and if she has copies available, Anthea might be able to bring copies to Dublin Comic Con. (Update: Anthea will definitely be bringing copies of the book to DCC.)