In Review: Zarjaz Issue 39

Featuring cover art by none other than 2000AD‘s Dave Taylor himself, the latest issue of the not-for-profit fanzine Zarjaz – Issue 39 – is available now, with another fine mix of strips from a range of comic creators.

Zarjaz 39 - Cover by Dave Taylor
Zarjaz 39 – Cover by Dave Taylor

Published by FutureQuake Press, Zarjaz 39 sees Halo Jones join the roster of strips as the Robomonkey147 and artist Daniel Reed once again want to go – out! (Who can blame them?)

Other stories this issue include return trips to Mega-City One, in particular a fine story “Anti-Social Behaviour” from writer Dan Whitehead and artist Ste Pickford, a visit to the world of “Flesh“, “Leader Of The Pack” by Alan Holloway and Ed Doyle and a great little “Future Shock” by Graham Cannon and artist Eddy Lyle.

These three stories are definitely my favourites of this independently produced non-profit homage to 2000AD, But that is not to dismiss the efforts of others contributing stories. Indeed, far from it.

It’s testament to the determination and energy of the Futurequake Press team that Zarjaz has reached 39 issues, and I am assuming they will have something rather special planned for Issue 40. Along the way this title, and the other FQP projects have introduced me to a number of up-and-coming artists and writers, both from the Uk and beyond, and it’s been interesting to see how some have gone on to do bigger independent projects of their own.

It is just a shame that there are few opportunities for them to spread their wings further, with paid professional work, on a newsstand title. Thankfully crowdfunding platforms and the web are providing different opportunities for today’s rising comic talent, which at least affords the chance to see more of it.

To be honest, in some ways I am loathe to pick out favourites from an anthology such as this, simply because the creative teams involved are at very different stages of their development. But this is why independent titles like Zarjaz are so important, because they provide a platform for new artists and writers to hone their skills, and hopefully make more of them as time progresses.

The Ballad of Halo Jones - Flood by writer Robomonkey147 and artist Daniel Reed
The Ballad of Halo Jones – Flood by writer Robomonkey147 and artist Daniel Reed

However, a review requires some personal opinion, so here are my top picks. First, the prequel to “The Ballad of Halo Jones”, the story “Flood”. I have no idea who “Robomonkey147” is, but they have done a standout job with this background story, which must have proven quite a challenge given the talents who created the strip in the first place, Alan Moore and Ian Gibson. Whoever they are, they have definitely honoured the source material, and I enjoyed Daniel Reed’s art, too, and I’ll be investigating his work further, on his SF adventure, The Mcycelium Complex, perhaps.

Judge Dredd - Anti-Social Behaviour by writer Dan Whitehead and artist Ste Pickford
Judge Dredd – Anti-Social Behaviour by writer Dan Whitehead and artist Ste Pickford

Of the Judge Dredd stories in this issue, “Anti-Social Behaviour” by Dan Whitehead and Ste Pickford is top draw, and while dependent on a bit of homage to the very early 2000AD stories, we get a great bit of satire at the expense of well-known social media platforms.
Plus, as with this issue’s Future Shock story, “Alien”, by Graham Cannon and Eddy Lyle, we get a smashing cameo from an old 2000AD favourite – always welcome in what is, after all a publication for fans of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic.

Future Shock - Alien by writer Graham Cannon and artist Eddy Lyle
Future Shock – Alien by writer Graham Cannon and artist Eddy Lyle

Indeed, along with another “prequel” tale “Leader of the Pack” by Alan Holloway and Ed Doyle, it’s “Alien” by Graham and Lyle that perfectly capture the essence of what a title like Zarjaz as is, and hopefully will continue to be. That is, a terrific test bed for new ideas and a great platform for both up and coming and long established independent creators, and respectful homage to 2000AD itself.

But overall, just fun! Long may it continue…

John Freeman

Zarjaz 39 costs 48 pages for a mere £3.00 and other great FutureQuake Press titles are available from www.futurequake.co.uk

ZARJAZ 39 – THE FULL LINE-UP

Flesh - Leader Of The Pack by writer Alan Holloway and artist Ed Doyle
Flesh – Leader Of The Pack” by writer Alan Holloway and artist Ed Doyle

Flesh – Leader Of The Pack by writer Alan Holloway and artist Ed Doyle
Future Shock – Alien by writer Graham Cannon and artist Eddy Lyle
The Ballad of Halo Jones – Flood by writer Robomonkey147 and artist Daniel Reed
Judge Dredd – Anti-Social Behaviour by writer Dan Whitehead and artist Ste Pickford
Judge Dredd – ‘Bank Raid’ in the court of appeal by writer Robert Frazer
Judge Dredd – Dear Billy by writer Chris Hallam and artist Sinclair Elliott

Zarjaz 39 - Tales of Mega-City One - A Cold Heart by writer Heath Ackley and artist Dave Peloe
Art from “Tales of Mega-City One – A Cold Heart” by writer Heath Ackley and artist Dave Peloe


Tales of Mega-City One – A Cold Heart by writer Heath Ackley and artist Dave Peloe
Tales of Mega-City One – Foolproof by writer Matt Sharp and artist Luke Haynes
Tales of Mega-City One – Small Fry by writer Tom Shapira and artist Sam Weller

Zarjaz 39 costs 48 pages for a mere £3.00 and other great FutureQuake Press titles are available from www.futurequake.co.uk

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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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