Just launched on Kickstarter is a simply beautiful-looking project from Aly Fell, titled A Trick of the Light, a standalone, one-off story inspired by British girls’ comics of the 1960s and 70s.
It’s 1970. Ruth and Cynthia are two teachers at a country school somewhere in the UK. It’s a warm Summer morning like any other, and Ruth is driving them both to work. But as the day progresses, she begins to fear she is developing a migraine, and her reality starts to shift. Can she still trust her perception?
“A Trick of the Light is a black and white 40 page comic with colour elements, with some inspiration from British girls’ comics of the 1960s and ’70s,” says Aly, a creator who likes to tell original stories featuring female protaganists, usually with a spooky or Magickal angle.
“I’ve attempted to catch an atmosphere in the story; a sort of ‘frozen in time moment'”, he continues. Inspired by ‘Hauntology’, and perhaps elements of ‘Folk Horror’, it’s set in a place that could slip just out of reach. Nigel Kneale meets Timeslip…”
Alastair Fell, (Aly for short) is a Manchester- based illustrator and concept artist with over 20 years’ experience in the animation and gaming industries, having previously worked as an animator at Cosgrove Hall Films. In more recent years, he’s worked as a 3D animator and artist in the games industry.
He’s now a freelance illustrator, with clients including Simon and Schuster, Ilex Press, Asylum Press, Llewellyn Publishing and Harper Collins. He created The Shadow Glass, a graphic novel published by Dark Horse in 2016, and his work has featured in Spectrum, Fantasy Art Collections, Ballistic Publishing, Erotic Fantasy Art, Advanced Photoshop and ImagineFX.
Written, drawn and lettered by Aly, he reveals the story started with a dream back in April 2021.
“It’s so easy to forget dreams when you wake, but I’ve developed a habit of writing them down,” says Aly. “I managed to hang on to this one just long enough as I scrabbled for my pencil. However, it soon changed as I started expanding the visuals from the dream.
“The time period altered – although the location remained as it had in the dream – and the two central characters became more defined. Comics such as Misty felt like the perfect inspiration for the mood I wanted to create.
“I’ve always been fascinated by stone circles and the marks we leave on the landscape, whether ancient or modern,” he continues. “As a teenager I hitch-hiked round a number of the Neolithic sites of the UK, and for a brief period lived close to two stone circles in central England. They are the custodians and remind us we are just passing through.”
Although A Trick of the Light is a standalone story, Aly hopes to follow it up with others that have similar inspiration. For example the next, a ghost story, is already planned, and judging from the enthusiastic reaction of comic readers, who helped Aly’s new tale reach a modest target of £800 in just over ninety minutes of launch, it might not be too long before we see that tale, too! (By mid-afternoon of its first day, it had secured £2500…).
“At 40 pages, A Trick of the Light is not ‘graphic novel’ length, so I want people to be aware they aren’t buying a massive tome,” Aly emphasises in her Kickstarter. “My previous book, The Shadow Glass, was 180 pages and its sequel currently in production, is a similar length. However, unlike that, where the lettering was completed by the amazing BLAMBOT (Nate Piekos), I’ve done everything on A Trick of the Light myself, including the dialogue… I hope it appeals…”
A young student to England’s greatest occultist learns her real father is in league with the devil. When Rose finds out that the man who raised her isn’t her father, she ignores his warnings about the terrible secrets of her own past and seeks answers from childhood teacher Dr John Dee, the queen’s occult advisor
All art © 2021 Aly Fell
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.