Filed under: Comic Reviews, Indie Comics | Tags: Black Hearted Press, John Farman, John Howard, Royal Descent
The latest offering Black Hearted Press sees Britain in a new light……but the approach has brought with it an original idea as well as the media tag of being “sick”. As Indie titles have always been free of the shackles that a big publisher can bring it’s no real surprise that something like this was due to come along – but what makes this release different?
While risk taking has always been the most exciting aspect of the indie/self-published comic book world it’s always been strange that any topic should be taboo. TV, film and more have taken those types of risks with an equal amount of distaste flung in their direction but it can be a balancing act between walking that thin line of acceptability and teetering on the edge of a good old PC-bashing. With this release though, it’s fresh to feel a connection with the topics in a comic in the way I do.
It’s no secret that the title takes a look at what first appears to be a fairly messed-up Britain where a BSE scare of record proportions has rocked the political landscape and brought with it a wave of revolution but somewhere in that satirical setup……..I seemed to think that this could be a possible Britain…..much more plausible than I first realized. Weaving through the issue is the real focus for that controversy tag – a full-on TV battle titled “Battle for the Crown” which sees members of the Royal family go toe-to-toe on a remote Scottish island in a Battle Royale/Hunger Games style mash-up and while writer John Farman may have seen these as an early inspiration for the tale – it’s the presence of the Royals that shake things up. If anything each aspect of the establishment is fair game but then surely that’s what satire is able to do – making us question authority that exists for us in the real world……and the knee-jerk reaction of certain media-types only confirms what we already expected.
The writing from John Farman makes us question what we’re seeing – although for me, that was much more of a “Why not?” than a “Why?” and certainly never a feeling that the idea was sick. Alongside the writing the artwork from John Howard is masterful – easing the combat and its inevitable kills with the political unrest that Britain is overwhelmed with and all while each of those aspects are televised for the population to see. The only criticism I have is that I was so swept up in the release that it felt like a real disappointment that it ended…..but that’s more a slight on me and my impatient reaction to a release that caught me off guard.
Issue #1 brought some fairly big questions with it and a strangely dark sense of fun too – could be that’s my nature, could be that’s what an open-minded response to the issue was always going to be but the controversy should hopefully bring this the success it deserves – there’s no such thing as bad publicity right???
Head on over to the BHP website for this and their other titles.
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