Wrapped in a stunning cover from Stewart Davies and Darren Stephens, Dogbreath 35 – the latest issue of the longest-running 2000AD fanzine – is available now from Futurequake Press (as is Zarjaz 32, which I’ll try and review later this week if I can)
Within the 48 pages there are nine strips set in the world of the Galactic Crime Commission as well as a smashing tribute to the one and only, late, great Carlos Ezquerra. from creators inspired by his incredible body of work.
I’m not quite sure if there was intended to be an overall theme to the issue, but there are a fair few stories set in bars, which prove a good test of an artist’s ability to make small talk and beer drinking look interesting.
My favourite stories are “Family Matters”, “Thrown to the Dogs” and the final one-pager, “Squirrel Tubes”, which almost made me sniffle. Unless that’s the last of the darn cold I’ve had for days…
IN THIS ISSUE
Strontium Dog – “Family Matters” by writer Richard Mcauliffe and artist Jack Davies. Letters by Bolt-01
Jack Davies delivers some great art on this story, in which an angry villain is led into a a trap…
Strontium Dogs – “Indestructible” by writer David Fenn and artist Simon Bennett Hayes. Letters by Bolt-01
A tale of true love in a deadly future where hate reins supreme. The scripting on this story of an indestructible mutant is a little uneven – and personally, I think flashback scenes would have worked better if frames had had a different style to the “present” of the tale.
Strontium Dogs – “Thrown to the Dogs” by writer Matt Sharp and artist Matt Sandbrook. Letters by Bolt-01
A very funny short story involving a bit of time travelling and a legend. Part of the story immediately gives away where Maeve and MacGinty are visiting but with some nice art and a deft script from Matt Sharp, this a gem.
Middenface McNulty – “Full House” by writer Adam Breen and artist Leigh Shepherd. Letters by Leigh Shepherd
Some down time for Middenface, Johnny, Wulf and Gronk proves the focus of this quieter tale in the issue, although it’s clear the barman serving drinks as the chums play poker clearly fears thing aren’t going to stay quiet. Given how static this story could be, artist Leigh Shepherd makes the most of changing angles, head shots (no, not that kind of head shot) and other artistic tricks to make the pages work well, and I can definitely see some potential here.
Strontium Dogs – “By the Numbers” by writer Kerchow and artist Richard Waugh. Letters by Bolt-01
With some great lines as Kid Knee tries to complete a contract – the small print proving a bit of a nightmare – Richard Waugh has some great fun with this story involving long-range take outs and an unexpected full-on gun battle. The art’s pretty good on this, although it does suffer in places from not letting the dialogue have room to “breathe”. Another artist to watch out for.
Strontium Dogs – “Recreation” by writer Mark Howard and artist PL Woods. Letters by Bolt-01
Another poker session, another bar, as the Dogs discuss each others approach to work, their bad luck (more for some than others!). Again, this is more of a character-led tale, and you’ll need to be more familiar with some of the characters than I am to get the undertones of the dialogue here. But PL Woods art is strong and he copes well with both bust frames crammed with characters and keeps things moving along nicely. An artist to watch out for.
Strontium Dogs – “Crims and Arias” by writer Richard Mcauliffe and artist Filip Roncone. Letters by Bolt-01
Heading in a pub in Wales on a mission, one Strontium Dog finds having a quiet pint just isn’t possible in his line of work. There’s some smashing humour moments in the script from Richard Mcauliffe, but it did leave me wondering if the pub featured was a real one. Albeit, usually, without a mutant on site, of course.
Strontium Dog – “Man of the Coth” by writer Tom Proudfoot and artist Jared Souza. Letters by Bolt-01
Action aplenty in this tale as Wulf and Johnny take on a shape-shifter who takes refuge in a church with some very familiar-looking worshippers. It’s a bit of fun and Wulf gets chance to bash lots of people, even if they don’t quite deserve it!
Strontium Dogs – “Squirrel Tubes” by writer Kerchow and artist Andy Lambert. Letters by Bolt-01
The issue draws to a close with a lovely one pager that will pull the heart strings of any a Strontium Dog fan. Nicely done.
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.