Mancunian #1 - Cover SNIP

In Review: Mancunian #1

Mancunian #1 - CoverPublished by Volcano Comics
Created and Edited by Brian M. Clarke and John JJ Jackson
Art by John JJ Jackson, Colour by David Robinson, Spot Art by Nick H. Jackson, Back Cover by John Royle
Out: Now – available from eBay | Forbidden Planet Manchester | WOW Comics

The Book: A tribute to Silver Age storytelling, which includes a feature on 1940s British superheroes

The Review: Right from the opening page of the main strip “When Strikes the Metal Masters”, you just know that Mancunian is going to be out and out super hero fun, as the Mancunian and his sidekick Impact are threatened with being covered in molten plastic and turned into their own action figure, and lines from the ever so serious Mancunian such as “Crime never takes a holiday!”.

Mancunian- #1 Sample Art

Mancunian- #1 Sample Art

Brian M. Clarke‘s credits include editor of London Editions Magazines Batman Monthly and he was the original editor of Crikey! magazine, while artist John JJ Jackson , perhaps best known for his creation “Albert the Mouse”, has been drawing comics as far back as when I was publishing my own fanzine and he, his, in the 1980s.

Colourist David Robinson may not be a name familiar to many, but his comics career is impressive, too – he was an artist and writer on the British MAD between 1978 and 1994, and numerous strips and cartoons for various magazines, including Computer Talk.

Together, through their new publishing imprint Volcano Comics, the pair are clearly determined to deliver some four colour homage, not only echoing the deadpan humour of the 1960s comic but the British superheroes of the 1940s, too.

John’s art is highly individual but striking, and the perfect artist to tell a very funny, tongue-in-cheek story with so much affection for its source material, as Impact faces the dilemmas of everyone getting her name wrong, or bopping villains when she’d rather be out bopping on a Friday night in downtown Manchester.

The story centres on a Phantom of the Opera-like villain, Dr Adam Tractor, who develops a deadly magnetic weapon to steal money, all too win the affections of one Dr. Thyme. Not only does Mancunian have to face him, but deal with a police boss who hates working with costumed superheroes, too.

It’s all great fun, with the reader thrown straight into the action with no back story origin of Mancunian (a deliberate choice, we discover, in a feature on the character’s origins as “Mosquito Ghost” whose animated adventures “Mancunian in From the Depths” and “Mosquito Ghost in The Power of Atom-Ra” from Bullet Productions feature on YouTube).

Personally, I don’t mind the lack of an “origin story” – it’s as if, to a new reader, Mancinian’s adventures have been running for years, all of which neatly segues to a fascinating overview of British superheroes published in the 1940s such as Acromaid, Captain Crash and Black Whip (no, really).

Mancunian- #1 1940s Superhero Feature

The comic rounds off with a hilarious one page strip, “Captain Terrific” by John and a back page pin up of Mancunian and Impact by John Royle.

John JJ Jackson and Brian M. Clarke with Mancunian #1 outside Forbidden Planet Manchester
John JJ Jackson and Brian M. Clarke with Mancunian #1 outside Forbidden Planet Manchester

Mancunian is just the first in a weird and wonderful range of titles Volcano Comics will be launching over the next year or so. It’s a great start from a team who describe themselves as “lifelong comics nuts”. They clearly had a lot of fun putting this comic together – and it shows!

Mancunian #1 is on sale in Forbidden Planet and WOW Comics in Manchester, but for those of you who can’t get there, you can also but the comic on eBay here

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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