I recently stumbled across Professor Elemental Comics (no, I don’t know how I missed it, either) – a glorious comics anthology series filled with short, whimsical tales of adventure, centring around a mad Victorian scientist/explorer/inventor/drinker of tea named Professor Elemental and his friends and accomplices, including Geoffrey (his monkey butler) and his beloved partner Sadie Bell.
Issue Four of the comic, on sale now, sports an eye-catching cover by The Walking Dead‘s Charlie Adlard, and featuring work by Paula Albaneze, Adam Page, Joe Koziarski, Ben Wilsonham, Melissa Trender, Michaela Corcoran, Reuben Amarna, Brendan Purchase and Bob Molesworth.
Professor Elemental, the creation of Paul Alborough, is a hip-hop/ steampunk rapper (renowned for his love of tea and fine trousers) who has performed internationally after shooting to fame through his Youtube success – two of his music videos, “Fighting Trousers” and “Cup of Brown Joy” share over three million views and have earned him a string of high-profile shows across both the UK and North America.
He has recently released a short TV series entitled The Chronicles of Professor Elemental (financed entirely by crowdfunding ), brought out his new album The Giddy Limit to critical acclaim, been named the ‘Greatest Living Eccentric’ by the British Eccentric Club. Some time ago, Sheffield-based writer Chris Mole approached the Professor to discuss the creation of a comic about his character, having established that he was also a lover of comic books and shared Chris’ enthusiasm for the medium.
“I volunteered to write the stories and edit the comic, liaising with artists and speaking to printers,” Chris, who has numerous comic and music credits to his name, recounts on his web site. “From there, the project has grown exponentially.”
Each story is illustrated by one of the finest talents in the small press comics scene; the first 24-page issue featured a cover by Marvel Comics artist Michael Hawthorne (now the penciller on Marvel’s Deadpool) and stories by Owen Watts (Dr. WTF?!, The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel), Liam Byrne (Dr. WTF?!, Vanguard) and James Feist (Zarjaz, Futurequake).
The 56-page Issue #2 was much bigger, featuring a cover by Archaia’s Tom Brown (Hopeless, Maine) and a host of stories and artwork by small press titans such as Jennie Gyllblad (Clockwork Watch, SKAL), Gibson Quarter (Undertow) and Christian Wildgoose (Porcelain), among many others.
Issue #3 continued this trend while going back to a more compact form, with a gorgeous wrap-around cover by Disney’s Brian Kesinger (Big Hero 6, Otto and Victoria) and stories illustrated by Verity Glass (Doctor Who) and Daniel DePaolo (Neotrash Comix).
Each story is a short, colourful and stand alone adventure full of humour, steampunk and excitement, suitable for all ages, which Alasdair Stuart of SFX Magazine praised as “a flamboyant piece of steampunk that’s pretty much a must-have for fans.”
Issue #4 of Professor Elemental Comics features the continuing misadventures of steampunk’s most eccentric mind, Professor Elemental, in 36 lusciously-printed pages. See the Professor get trapped on an airship in “Perish With Difficulty”; travel back in time to meet the Prof’s ancestor “Lord Elemental, Earl of Sussex”; join the Scarlet Woman in her triumphant return to London’s dingy streets; and meet a new hero, the steam-powered cyborg Locomotive, in the first part of a thrilling three-part tale.
“My collaborations with the Professor have also extended out beyond the anthology comics themselves,” reveals Chris, who was a founding member of progressive folk-metal band Northern Oak.
“We are currently in the planning stages of several multimedia (comics/music/video) projects utilising the Professor’s character.”
World domination surely cannot be far away… so go check this project out. With cover artwork by Charlie Adlard and stories from some of the brightest stars in small press, it’s steampunk fun for all the family!
• Professor Elemental Comics: www.professorelemental.com
• Find Chris Mole at www.chrismole.co.uk