David Broughton has just published the seventh issue of his self-published Shaman Kane title, a Strontium Dog-inspired tale of space-zombies and supernatural menaces and the Shaman Order that battle them across the galaxy.
Focusing on his hero, Kane and following on from a two-issue saga that brought the first story cycle to a spectacular end, this issue picks up after the climax of issue six.
Following the end of a big story arc is always difficult and David has taken the wise decision not to try to outdo that crescendo. It’s easy for comics to get into the business of trying to out-epic the last story and it almost always ends in tears.
Issue Seven returns Shaman Kane to the successful formula of the one-issue self-contained action-adventure story, thought doubtless there are hidden clues to future tales. As such, “The Arcadia Incident” is something of a throwback to the early stories of Kane, with the story telling of him facing down a zombie menace with the assistance of Shaman Jane Rain, on board the spaceship, Arcadia.
This story is a flashback from Kane’s past, allowing David to reset and prepare his readers for bigger things to come, and it’s interesting to note both the similarities and differences between this issue and those early tales. The plot is a fairly standard one-issue adventure, similar in scope and execution both to those early Kane stories and to classic 2000AD, but David’s artwork and storytelling has come on in leaps and bounds.
David’s distinctive style, which mixes design elements from Carlos Ezquerra with the quirky figure work of Steve Ditko, and his own expressive and unique take on the human (and inhuman face) is still present, but his increased ambition with more complex layouts is obvious.
Most impressive is his confidence in including larger, more dramatic, panels and double page spreads. These changes were an essential aspect of his epic cosmic adventure, but it is good to see it continued in this, a much more claustrophobic story and to such good effect.
Shaman Kane has been a favourite among the various 2000AD inspired, small-press comics. David’s artwork impressed from the very beginning, and it been a real pleasure to see it improve steadily with each issue. Issue Seven may lack the scale and overall drama of the previous two-part story, but it was a necessary step to slow things down, just a little, for this story and to prepare for future developments.
Shaman Kane Issue Seven does provide an excellent jumping on point for anyone new to the strip, and will bring with it a little touch of nostalgia for anyone who remembers the heady days of self-contained, entertaining comic stories in 2000AD.
All seven issues are still available from David.
• Shaman Kane #7 US Format, 36 full colour pages, self-contained story. Message David Broughton direct on Facebook for a copy, and he’ll include a pre-drawn sketch with your order for £7.50, including post, for UK Customers. Overseas customers, message David for postal costs. Again, pre-Drawn A6 size sketches are available.
• Shaman Kane #7 – including back issues – should also be available soon from GetMyComics, and #1 – 6 are also on sale. Search for “Broughton Books” in the indie section of their catalogue
Peter Duncan is editor of Sector 13, Belfast’s 2000AD fanzine and Splank! – an anthology of strips inspired by the Odhams titles, Wham!, Smash! and Pow! He’s also writer of Cthulhu Kids. Full details of his comics activities can be found at www.boxofrainmag.co.uk