Avery Hill Publishing out of mighty South London are turning into one of the most interesting voices in British comics. It seems that everything they put out is intelligent, beautiful and of the moment. Speaking to those clever people at a recent London event, they are full of enthusiastic plans and intriguing ideas.
Maleficium, written and illustrated by EdieOp – out on 14th November – seems different somehow to their previous output. Different in that it deals more directly with childhood than Avery Hill’s other releases. There’s none of the autobiographical style from previous releases like A Quiet Disaster or Grey Area. It also doesn’t have the indie cool feel of books like Metroland or Reads.
And yet, what it shares with its label stable mates is a feeling of freshness, an eye to detail and a story of real beauty. It has fantastical turns and looks like a great Christmas present.
EdieOP decribes herself as an illustrator, creator of comics and truly awful things. She likes to draw in inks and crayon, occasionally paints and works with collage and mixed media to create macabre and sometimes slightly absurd illustrative narratives and comics.
Here is what Avery Hill had to say about the release.
“Avery Hill are delighted to announce the publication on 14th November 2014 of Maleficium, the first full length graphic novel from Sheffield based illustrater and comics creator EdieOP.
“Maleficium is the story of Huxley Leighton-Lomax; an aspiring wizard who should know better than to feed the darkforces that lurk in the corners of his home. Will Huxley know enough magic when it’s up to him to save the day.
“Printed in full colour A4 format across 96 beautifully illustrated and painted pages, Maleficium is available now for pre order from the Avery Hill online shop, with each pre-ordered copy coming with an original drawing by EdieOP.
“Maleficium will officially launch at the Though Bubble Comics Festival and is Avery Hill’s third all ages release after The Festival by Jazz Greenhill and the British Comics Awards nominated The Beginner’s Guide to Being Outside by Gil Hatcher.”
“Maleficium is a story that evolved from an in-joke about things going missing in the house,” EdieOp explains. “I always used to lose things and then they’d turn up in the place that I thought I had left them an hour later, so I used to say that the fairies had borrowed it.
“As the joke went on I got a bit more elaborate with the story telling and naturally a bit more sinister. I started to make up stories that things would disappear into ‘the Nether’ but only my things would ever come back so I used to say that I was friends with the Nether. It then kept evolving when I was giving thought to the theory that, if it were a supernatural force, would it get stronger if it was acknowledged and interacted with?
“It was at this point that the in joke had sort of gained enough momentum for me to consider developing it into an illustrated story.”
• Head over to www.averyhillpublishing.com/previews/maleficium-by-edieop for more information on the book, or head straight their shop at www.averyhillpublishing.bigcartel.com and grab yourself a copy. Avery Hill can also be found on Twitter @averyhillpubl
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.