In Review: Futurequake Issue 27

FutureQuake Issue 27 - Cover
Art by Andrew Hartmann
Creators: Various
Publisher: Futurequake Press
Out: Now

The Book: FutureQuake is back! The finest talents in the small press are here again to save you from boredom. Where else in the printed world can you get this much variety for such a small outlay? 48 pages for only £4.00 It would be an insult to all of creation to ask for less!

The Review: Futurequake is one of the best independent British comics anthologies on the market, regularly delivering a terrific mix of creators and strips – and Issue 27 maintains the high standards the title has previously set. Frankly, it’s criminal the title (along with the 2000AD-inspired Zarjaz and Dogbreath, also published by Futurequake Press) doesn’t get bigger sales or wider circulation. Editor Dave Evans does a terrific job putting this title together. Go find this title at conventions. Buy it online. Enjoy.

Here’s my run down of the strips featured this issue with my editor’s hat on…

Futurequake 27: An Intellectual Era
“An Intellectual Era”
“An Intellectual Era” by writer Chris Tresson and artist Miguel Echemendia

A wonderfully funny time travel story that plays with all sorts of tropes and turns them on thier head, as two scientists blunder back into the past to save humankind by influencing evolution. The script is funny and Miguel Echemendia’s art is absolutely terrific, with some quirky characters and great action. A highlight of the issue for me.

Chris Tresson is a writer from the North West of England. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisTresson

Miguel Echemendia is a first generation Cuban-American from Chicago who  has contributed art to many comic books and magazines such as Punk Planet, Free Mars (Ape Entertainment) and FutureQuake. Web: www.miguelechemendia.com| Follow him on Facebook

Futurequake 27:  End of the Road
“End of the Road”
“End Of The Road” by writer Lee Robson and artist Jim Lavery

On a world of twisted time and where alternate dimensions have combined, one man is on a mission… but what will he do when he completes it, and what will it cost him? Lee Robson turns the tables on the “hero” right at the end of this action-packed tale, with Jim Lavery delivering some great art. That said, I do think the ‘ghost’ in the story should have been more obvious throughout, which would have added an additional element to the story.

Lee Robson is the writer/co-creator of the critically acclaimed OGN Babble. His work has appeared in FutureQuake, Something Wicked and the Accent UK themed anthologies. Find his blog at www.imaginarystories.co.uk

Jim Lavery is an spiring comic artist, pugilist, amnesia sufferer and pugilist. Bereft of trousers, desperate for human contact and urgently requiring chocolate. Follow him on Twitter @jimlavery1

Futurequake 27: Loan Sharks
“Loan Sharks”
“Loan Sharks” by writer Chris Mole and artist Joe Palmer

While the script on this peculiar debt recovery story is a little confused, Joe Palmer’s art is impressive, with his “Loan Sharks” a great piece of design and some of his figure work and panels right on the money. (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one). It’s not perfect – there are panels that just don’t work, composition wise – but a lot of the choices in terms of changing angles to emphasise the threat as the lead character goes on the run are well thought out and executed.

Chris Mole is a writer based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Since 2011, he has written comics for several small press publications (including the Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel and Professor Elemental Comics (which he also edits) as well as for his own projects.

Joe Palmer’s work has appeared in FutureQuake, The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel, 100% Biodegradable and N.S.E.W. Web: www.joepalmerart.com

Futurequake 27: Murder at Apartment 104
“Murder at Apartment 104”
“Murder at Apartment 104” by writer Josh Spiller and artist Matt Herbert

Anthologies serve to offer a wide number of stories. For me, this apparent murder mystery, set on a future Earth where there is clearly an element of alien immigration, doesn’t quite gel for me. It would have worked better had it at least started with the murder and then cut to the subsequent investigation, set against a background of a police force riddled with corruption.

Art-wise, I like Matthew Herbert’s style, but in terms of storytelling,  the interrogation scenes need more changes of angle and a greater variety of mid and head shots to make the sequences more interesting. It comes across as a little too much like a re-tooled “Judge Dredd” story and doesn’t quite hit the right notes.

Josh Spiller lives in London and is a published writer of comics, short stories, and scripts. For anyone interested in a collaboration, especially artists and editors, you can contact him at: joshua.spiller AT gmail.com

Matthew Herbert has drawn for Solar Wind, Omnivistascope, Zarjaz, Dr WTF.

Futurequake 27: Operation: Oops
“Operation: Oops”
“Operation: Oops” by writer Owen Crabtree and artist Dan Goodfellow

A fast story with a dark twist ending that could be interpreted on more than one level, Dan Goodfellow’s scratchy manga-inspired art style is perfect for the fight sequences that dominate the story.

Owen Crabtree is an Irish SF writer. He has a movie review website called crabtreereviews.com

Dan Goodfellow is an internationally published artist/illustrator living and working in Glastonbury. As well as illustrating numerous books from Celtic mythology to childrens stories, album covers and posters, he has drawn the critically acclaimed graphic novel Krik for Serbian publishers Rosencrantz and is currently drawing the series Highlander 3030 for Emerald Star Comics, to be released later this year.

Futurequake 27: PTSD
“PTSD”
“PTSD” by writer Chris Nicholson and artist Rafael Chrestani

Opening with a superhero in a therapy session (with some stunningly beautiful studies of said hero), Nicholson’s script is a quiet change of pace in this issue, offering a pause from the mayhem as he challenges us to think what makes a hero. Overall, the script works and has some good beats, but I think perhaps needed just a little more honing.

On the art side, despite some impressive storytelling and gorgeous panels, I’d like to have seen more changes of angle in the “talking scenes” and some odd figure work on occasion lets the story down. It’s great to see that Futurquake has space for this kind of story though.

Writer Chris Nicholson is based in West Yorkshire. Follow him on Twitter @chrisnic1980

Rafael Chrestani abandoned career as a teacher to devote himself entirely to comics. His first professional job was at age 21, with a magazine for the Canadian market. He is currently part of the renowned group of Brazilian comic artists ED Benes Studio.

Futurequake 27: Retirement Day
“Retirement Day”
“Retirement Day” by writer Daniel Bell and artist Alfie Gallagher

Another fine time travel tale, as a young man’s destiny is shaped by his future self in ways he wasn’t expecting – but at what personal cost? Daniel Bell delivers a great script and Alfie Gallagher successfully interprets the story with some great pages condensing a remarkable life into so few pages with skill.

Daniel Bell is a writer and artist best known for his work on Psircus and the medieval set graphic novel, Defiant! Follow Daniel at facebook.com/danielbellcomics

Alfie Gallagher has had comic material printed through Uproar Comics, SCAR comics, Water Closet Press and Zarjaz. He has also self-published his own series Charlatan Tales in the past few years. Web: www.alfiegallagher.com

Futurequake 27: Ten
“Ten”
“Ten” by writer Stu Perrins and artist Scott Twells

A one page time travel story that defies any description without giving the gag away, but suffice to say, it works!

Stu Perrins is the creator and writer of Demonic Advisory Centre, Prime and Harvey Spig. Follow him @stuperrins

Scott Twells is the comics underground best kept secret, as in almost no one knows of his existence. Let’s just keep it that way a while, huh?

FutureQuake 27: The Immortal Lives of Working Men
“The Immortal Lives of Working Men”
“The Immortal Lives of Working Men” by writer Rhys Ware and artist Joe Palmer

Rhys Ware offers a moral tale of wide-scale deceit here, with echoes of a corrupt “cargo culture” that’s given an accomplished and assured telling at the hands of artist Joe Palmer. Without spoiling the story, while the denouement doesn’t seem to ring quite true (but suggests other motives on the part of one of the protagonists as another is given a life choice), but overall this is a finely created tale, to the credit of both creators.

Follow the work of Rhys Ware at www.swampeye.com

Futurequake 27: The Root of It All
“The Root of It All”
“The Root of It All” by writer Pete Hobson and artist Andrew Hartmann

Superhero versus super villain? To all intents and purposes, that’s what this story might seem at first, but Hobson deliberately confuses the reader by making you unsure of the narrator, right up to the final pages of this moral observation on modern society’s fears. Hartmann’s art is perfect for this ambiguous script, evoking a bit of Corben in the more personal scenes and those requiring a good reaction shot.

To contact Pete Hobson mail him petehobson53 AT hotmail.co.uk

Andrew Hartmann is a graphic artist/illustrator from Pennsylvania, currently hard at work on a variety of projects, including the S*** Flingers, Obscurist, and The G.A.T.E. Check out his work at http://trainedmonkey88.deviantart.com

Futurequake 27: What Am I Bid For the First Man In Space
“What Am I Bid For the First Man In Space”
“What Am I Bid For the First Man In Space” by writer Mark Howard and artist George Coleman

A real gem of the issue, with terrific art by George Coleman, who seriously should be getting more pro work – has he really only ever drawn one “Judge Dredd” story for 2000AD? If theBritish comics industry provided enough work he’d surely be able to go full time with such talent, in my view. Hobson’s time travel story has a couple of mis steps, but overall it’s a well executed tale with great dialogue and pacing. Another great short story from another great issue of Futurequake.

Mark Howard is currently homeless and writing short stories on an old BlackBerry. He’s still smiling, though.

George Coleman is a fine artist whose work features at http://thedodecscrawls.blogspot.co.uk

• Futurequake Issue 27 is available now from the FQP Webshop

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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