Written by John Farman
Art by Will Pickering
Publisher: Vital Publishing
Disclaimer: Do not read if you are either American, Conservative, Pro-Gun, Pro-Choice, read the Daily Mail or really dislike anyone disagreeing with your opinions.
I admit that I am a big fan of John Farman’s work and while I might grumble about not reading enough of his comics on an annual basis, this is not a dig at him personally. I know he is a one-man band and has a plethora of pressures which prevents him from publishing comics at the rate of knots I would like him to be releasing comics at.
Vital Publishing, the company he launched back in 2014 with Marc de Launay, is about to release a new comic and it has me agog at where it is going to go. The fact that the art is by Will Pickering is another bonus as Will is a drinking buddy and he is not commissioned for work enough.
(See, full disclosure from me. You won’t find me failing to declare how many houses I’ve got!)
From the disclaimer above, you might be able to guess who Generation Gun is going to mightily wind up. However, for me, John is one of the proteges of the Pat Mills’ school of comic writing. This latest comic follows in the tradition of the 1976 pulped Action comic and the raw anger that produced Crisis in the late 1980s.
Generation Gun is set eight minutes into the future and features scenes as depressingly familiar as those that sadly have taken place again this Week at Santa Fe High School, and previously at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Cleveland Elementary School – but with a subtle Columbine twist.
However, what is interesting is that John’s take on it is not that of the lone wolf driven to extremism but a group that are willing to kill to get their message across. The echoes of Munich 1972 are enough to make me shiver – and this is only issue One.
Anyone tackling the issue of gun crime and the toxic gun culture of the United States is going to prompt a lot of reaction, from all sides. Any comic where kids are threatened with death will cause a massive reaction as many still cannot accept that comics are as valid a form of expression on modern culture as any article in The Times.
(I’m sure the creators behind the Image Comics published Where we Live anthology are getting similar commentary).
From seeing the massive online debate about the attempts to introduce intelligent gun control in the United States, the reactions to this comic will vary widely.
I realise that this review is long on exposition but short on detail, but I daren’t spoil the story for the discerning comic fan. In a nutshell, though, if you have read any comic from Vital Publishing before, this is the most challenging issue to date.
If you have not read any comic from Vital Publishing before, then look to see what comics you have read that have spoken to your social conscience and consider if you agree with Maus or Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary. If either of these comics do not match your values, then don’t bother buying any issue of Generation Gun.
A life-long comic fan, specialising mainly in UK adventure comics, Colin did his very best to support his passion for the comics of his youth, Commandos (still going!) and any small press that interested him. Sadly, Colin passed in March 2021, an invaluable downthetubes team member, much missed by us all