Volume One of General Emplumado’s Arthouse Comic, subtitled “Here/\After”, available now, is a limited edition, darkly exquisite anthology of four graphic short stories from the art house, Flaming Lady Of Hay in Hay On Wye.
Beautifully produced, limited to 600 copies, this 60-page A4 anthology, featuring some adult content, offers four very different visual stories from artists and makers behind a cover by Tim Varlow, inspired by the Circo Gringo’s pigeon sculpture, the original of which you can also find at the Flaming Lady of Hay.
As I regularly declare, one purpose of an anthology, for me, is to present stories in a variety of styles, and this first General Emplumado’s Arthouse Comic certainly does that, leading with a hauntingly brilliant ghost story, “Dive”, from Keaton Henson.
Keaton’s tale is followed by “Where Ye From”, an illustrated poem from multi-disciplinary Irish artist Dee Mulroney, for me, a powerful declaration of identity, influenced by Dee’s work as a performance artist, the words carrying you along with its poetry. This is an illustrated story rather than a comic strip, but more than deserving of its place here; the poem has a powerful resonance to it, deserving more than a single reading.
Grimly Dix, aka Dix, is, perhaps, the most familiar name to many downthetubes readers, for his work on Crisis, his collaboration with actor Jim Broadbent on Dull Margaret, published by Fantagraphics, and the haunting graphic novel, Klaxon, written by the late Si Spencer. He’s currently working on a new solo graphic, The Idris File, due for release in Spring 2023.
“Skimask” is the savagely creepy short tale you’d expect from a creator always pushing into the edgy, and without spoiling the story, you may look at some of your local cafés in a whole new light after reading this!
The anthology rounds off with “Terror Stoned” by James Rueben, a story that starts deceptively in kitchen sink drama, but with scratchy visuals that quickly take you somewhere else entirely.
Overall, the kind of package that, for me harkens back to the variety within the pages of Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury’s ESCAPE magazine of the 1980s, General Emplumado’s Arthouse Comic is an entertaining, often thought-provoking read, with a challenging mix of stories.
Although, I can’t help but be left wondering what happened to that missing cat…
The Flaming Lady is an art house, an inspirational and welcoming place for creative discovery, free thought, and revelation. It endeavours to tell stories, spark up discussion and connect people all under one small crooked roof.
It’s arisen from a desire to address the inequality in the arts, whilst keeping the anarchic flame and creative spirit of Hay-on-Wye burning along with the legacy of King Richard Booth who made it the world’s first Book Town.
Artfully set within a tiny iconic building in Hay-on-Wye, the Flaming Lady is a must visit immersive sanctuary. It’s a place to absorb art, find creative treasures, browse inspiring books on film, art and performance and step outside of your everyday world.
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.