Filed under: Comic Reviews, Indie Comics | Tags: Black Hearted Press, David Braysher, John Farman, Sha Nazir
It’s another day of our Black Hearted Press feature, where today we’ll be looking at the last of the co-founders David Braysher. Here’s Linsay’s review of the title that started it all – Black Maria.
Black Maria issue 616 came out in 2010 from Black Hearted Press, a Scottish comics company who have had some recent and high profile success with School of the Damned. It includes 4 separate stories, including one in colour (on the back page) and some bonus pin ups one of which is by Frank Quitely.
I am assuming that there haven’t been 615 previous issues of Black Maria, however I am convinced I am missing something. The first strip is part three of ‘The Devil You Know’, a story in which the lead heroine Black Maria drags the reader into the midst of a fight between her and a mummy’s boy sorcerer wannabe and his henchman. At least I think so. The only truly distinct characters in this strip are Maria (easily identified thanks to long hair and little clothes) and the soon to be captured by Maria old woman ‘Eva’ (easily identified thanks to her looking like an overweight supergran).
The other two fellas costumes seem to change from panel to panel which meant I found things a little difficult to grasp. The dialogue is full of ‘quick wit’ and ‘snappy comebacks’ which more than occasionally feels a little silly. Almost the entire strip is narrated by excerpts from a ‘demon experts’ book. This is put to good effect and provides something a little different to wrap the fight scenes in.
The two one page stories ‘Ants’ and ‘There’s Something About Maria’ are my highlights of the book. Particularly Ants where The creators show Black Maria as a less pretentious character than most super heroes, and caught up in much less drama than most female superheroes. They poke some fun at the usually fantastical nature of the genre and end up with an interesting character study.
This theme is followed in the final and only coloured strip of the book. In ‘There’s Something About Maria’ our female lead doesn’t even make an appearance. We get four ‘super friends’ and an emotionally challenged and sufficiently inebriated barman joking about how her boyfriends always end up dead. I’m sure there is plenty to be read between the panels here on how she must be a bit of a maneater or must be a rubbish girlfriend because she chooses to battle super villains rather than clean the kitchen, but I’ll leave that for someone else.
Also check out our interview with David Braysher on how BHP all began and his future books.
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