What’s not to love about an irreverent comic centring on four brothers who gain superhuman abilities from getting drunk? Because that’s exactly what you’re being offered in The Mary Boys by comics writer and artist Karl Stephan… and it looks great.
Currently seeking funding for two issues in one go on Indiegogo, The Mary Boys is about four teenage Knights Templar at the fag-end of the 20th Century, fighting to rid their backwater English town of crime and an impending biblical apocalypse.
“This is a very British black comedy that will appeal to fans of comics like Tank Girl, The Goon, Cerebus, TMNT, Marshall Law and TV shows like The Young Ones and The League of Gentlemen,” says Karl, whose graphic novel, Sparko, was published by Slave Labor Graphics and other work, such as OONTZ, by Velocity, and is trying his hand at crowdfunding.
“The sensibilities are retro, harking back to the era of irreverent indie comics of the 1980s and 90s,” Karl, a South African born artist living in the UK, continues. “The aim is to fund the first two issues which contain their complete origin story… Your contribution will help bring this deeply personal yet patently untrendy comic into the world!”
So, what The Mary Boys all about?
The Mary Boys are quadruplets born with a rare genetic condition that causes enlarged hands and feet, distorted facial features and prevents sufferers from growing any body hair. Their condition also affects the way they metabolise alcohol. Drinking beer gives them almost superhuman strength strong and endurance (unlike the rest of us, who send drunk texts to people we really shouldn’t).
“The boys are from a backwater English town called Basham, where they were raised by an old priest named Parrish,” Karl explains. “Many years ago, Parrish was the victim of an attempted robbery which left him with a bullet in his skull and flashbacks to a past life, when he was a member of the original Order of the Knights Templar hundreds of years ago. Using this new-found knowledge, he trained the boys in the Templar fighting traditions.
“Basham is riddled with many social problems, thanks to a huge retail corporation driving out small businesses, cutting jobs and leaving large sections of the community impoverished and at the mercy of gangs.
“Parrish prophesied that Basham will suffer a great biblical apocalypse unless it is purged from its evils. So, the boys roam the streets at night with their cricket bats, heavy boots and lager cans to bring in the needed salvation by force.”
And the ‘Mary’ in the title?
“It’s a reference to the Boys being Catholic – and also to the mysterious image of the Blessed Virgin being ever present in their nocturnal missions, guiding them in their fight against gangsters, hooligans and wrong-uns, including Basham’s own police force,” Karl reveals.
Oh, but Karl – is this comic suitable for children?
With covers and interiors traditionally illustrated with ink washes in a style influenced by artists like Jack Davis, Will Eisner and Wally Wood, The Mary Boys looks definitively old school, but that works for me!