Torsobear: Yarns From Toyburg Cover

Spinning strange and creepy yarns: Torsobear Kickstarter launched

Torsobear: Yarns From Toyburg Cover
The cover of Torsobear: Yarns from Toyburg, by Hal Laren

 

Brett Uren and over twenty other comic creators, including Hal Laren, Cy Dethan and Kieran Squires have been beavering away on an intriguing-looking toy-on-toy crime anthology book the Aylesbury-based creator has conceived and is now seeking crowdfunding – Torsobear: Yarns from Toyburg, about the bright but blighted make-believe town of Toyburg.

 

 

The Kickstarter to get the one hundred-plus page title published is now running and is going strong, having made nearly 40 per cent of the required funding of £5600 as of Day Three.

Brett very kindly sent me a preview of some of the pages, and it’s definitely a project worth checking out – an oddball concept poking fun at toys old and new, with some familiar brands alluded to in the stories presented. The tradition of having toys come to life unseen by human eyes is given a completely new twists in the stories, which are a fun read and beautifully realized.

 

A page from "Clean Heart, Dirty Paws" written and drawn by Brett Uren
A page from “Clean Heart, Dirty Paws” written and drawn by Brett Uren
A page from "Clean Heart, Dirty Paws" written and drawn by Brett Uren
A page from “Clean Heart, Dirty Paws” written and drawn by Brett Uren

 

Torsobear is a story about the inevitable loss of innocence in a brutal world, first created by Brett Uren, for the digital anthology, Outré. Expanding on the original short story, Yarns From Toyburg pulls a host of new and established creators into exploring the twisted world of Fluffy Noir.

“There was a positive reaction to the original story from readers and press, with interest from comic book creators, that a collaborative project emerged from that small initial idea,” Brett explains, “growing into a whole world with a rich history and social structure.”

In the city of Toyburg, the streets are teeming with crime, passion, and murders are most foul. They are walked (for the most part) by grim detectives, burned-out has-beens, femme fatales and tragic heroes.

The dismembered bodies of teddy bears are being found in back alleys of Mindy Mile district, and it’s up to our hero, rookie detective Ruxby Bear and his partner officer Hazbrow to solve this string of murders, no matter how high and far the clues take them.

Between cases, we take a look into the lives of Toyburg’s citizens, police and criminals. No matter where you turn, this city has something sinister hidden just behind the storybook surface.

Remember, it’s always fun until someone gets hurt…

The original Torsobear story introduced the character of Ruxby and Hazbrow, childrens’ toys who are thrown into a chilling noir cycle of murder, deceit and intrigue, where the horror of events stands in stark contrast to the bright and cheerful world in which they take place.

The toys of Toyburg blissfully enjoy their waking lives. Most will never encounter anything nasty. But when they sleep, all will experience the strange and sometimes disturbing violation of The Playtime. Sometimes, they remember…

 

"A New Hopelessness" by Kieran Squires
“A New Hopelessness” by Kieran Squires

“We need the funding to pay our diverse creative team for their input, and the first printing of the book itself,” explains Brett, “for shipping to backers and sale at conventions. We will also make it available digitally.”

There’s clearly plenty of interest in the project, and the Rewards look great fun, especially for those able to contribute more to the cause.

“Excitingly we have just seen the prototype handmade plushie of detective Ruxby Bear that is available for one of the higher pledge levels,” enthuses Brett.

Old time Toyburg cops beat on immgrant bears in Janos Honkonen's "The Big Wind Up". Art by Saoirse Towler, letters by Mick Schubert.
Old time Toyburg cops beat on immgrant bears in Janos Honkonen’s “The Big Wind Up”. Art by Saoirse Towler, letters by Mick Schubert.
"The Big Wind Up". Art by Saoirse Towler, letters by Mick Schubert.
“The Big Wind Up”. Art by Saoirse Towler, letters by Mick Schubert.

 

Edited by Brett and Glenn Møane, with a cover from Reaper Comics Hal Laren, this first volume will feature the writing talents of Brett, Cy Dethan (Cancertown), Janos Honkonen (creator of the Finnish novel Kaiken yllä etana), Glenn Møane (Fubar: American History Z, Outré), Brockton McKinney (Ehmm Theory), Kieran Squires (The Shadows of Vicenti), Frank Martin, Jake Young and Grainne McEntee (Apes ‘n’ Capes). Art will be provided by Pete Mason (Cancertown), Carlos Nick Zamudio (The Remains), Saoirse Louise Towler (Discworld stamps, Whispers magazine), Joel Cotejar (Toxic Storm), Randy Haldeman (The Jacket), Matt Rooke (Apes ‘n’ Capes), Jon Scrivens (Little Terrors) with pin ups by artists to be announced. Lettering comes from Nic Wilkinson and Michael Schubert with colours by Brett, Pete Mason, Harry Saxon and Faye Harmon (The Vale, Kuzimu).

I think it’s a great oddball project and from the pages I’ve seen so far, definitely worthy of your funding consideration — so if you have some spare buttons…

View the Torsobear: Yarns from Toyburg Kickstarter

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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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