Comics Anonymous

TINPOT HOBO #1 by Craig

Being an indie/small press comic must be tough – it must be especially tough to try and get people interested in your book while out at cons too. With so many other creators fighting for your attention you need something that’s going to stand out and grab people – and that’s exactly what Tinpot Hobo did during our recent trip the London Super Comic Con. As is the same with a regular monthly comics order, money and spare time dictate just how many comics you can buy, and although we’d love to pick up every small press book at every con, you have to instead take a gamble and pick up what you expect to like – which is even harder when sometime you’ve got no prior knowledge to go on. So simply put, was Tinpot Hobo worth the gamble?

Short answer – hell yeah! But that wouldn’t make for an interesting review. During a quick look round the small press stalls on the Sunday (Saturday was far too busy to get anywhere near them!) Tinpot drew me in straight away. The art and colours flying off the front of the covers, the sample artwork, the sketches on show (ok I’ll be honest, there were some Batman ones that probably caught my eye) – all of this combined I was like a deer in headlights. With 2 issues for sale, I was quick to snap up issue #1 after hearing that the four copies on the table were the last available in the latest batch of prints. My only regret now is not picking up issue #2 at the same time – d’oh.

Tinpot Hobo is (impressively) created, written, drawn, coloured and lettered by one guy – Jack Lawrence. It’s an amazing feat considering the top notch quality provided throughout the comic. It’s professional look was one of the first things I noticed when flicking through the book, with the artwork akin to an animated feature or cartoon. Which isn’t surprising considering Jack worked in animation before entering the world of comics. In fact Jack’s already done a hell of a lot in the world of comics, including work for Image, 2000AD, Dark Horse and BBC Magazine – so it’s no wonder that something he’s mainly created himself has such high standards.

Without giving away too much of the story – it’s a comic with its own fully fleshed out universe, kind of like Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica – it could be the future, it could be “a Long time ago in a galaxy far far away” kind of thing. Fans of Star Wars and Mass Effect will love this book – there’s lots to emerse yourself into, from alien races and dialects to different factions and districts. Like all good space stories, this one factors round the beginnings of a misfit crew starting their adventures on the vessel the comic is named after – the Tinpot Hobo. The cool thing here is there’s no clear indication of who is really the good guys and who is the bad guys, and there’s also an interesting start to the comic which is sure to come back in an interesting way later in the series.

A great deal of effort has gone into the design of each of the characters in the comic, managing not to fall into the trap of generic alien #1, generic alien #2 etc. Similarly, the other person involved in the creation of this book, Adam Lawrence, has spent a lot of time on the ship designs on show. When I went back and looked at the credits and noticed that Adam was listed as “Ships built and created by” I suddenly noticed just how much detail had go into the pages I’d just read. Just like the character design, it’s not just your usual metal box with wings and guns styles of ships – there’s proper thought gone into these depending on the people associated with each. The comic looks good enough to be a weekly cartoon with it’s own line of merchandise, and by the looks of it, there’s plenty of universe to explore.

There’s also plenty to see online if you’re interested in the comic – not only does it have one of the coolest websites I’ve seen for a comic, there’s also no need to wait for the postman to deliver you a copy of the book as you can buy digital versions from the site too.

Also make sure you check out the Deviant art pages for Tinpot and Jack, Facebook and Twitter for more info.

Craig @hastiecraig

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