The Lion, a forgotten war hero, the indestructible man with a death wish. The Unicorn, a gifted psychic knight, she is the girl who wants to save the world… That’s the “one line pitch” for The Lion and the Unicorn, an in-your-face indie comic from comic creator Ash Pure, available both digitally and as a limited print edition.
The art and story on this independent four issue book takes some getting used to (and I suspect it works well on a tablet given the page design). It’s certainly a story that is one of those that starts by dropping you straight into a bizarre, confusing reality, the clues to what’s going on slowly revealed as the characters and situations unfold. Issue One kicks off with what’s left of London further decimated by some kind of psychic explosion and as the tale progresses, Ash lines up the characters on both sides set to exploit what looks like an already-runined Britain. The King is Dead and an ancient kingdom lies crumbling, it’s capital city teetering on the brink of revolution…
Slowly, it becomes clear that a multi-national conglomerate is selling its psychic technology and upwardly mobile, utopian lifestyle as the only way out of the mess the country’s in. But at what cost?
There’s no doubt the art is arresting, but some may find the desire to push the boundaries of the comic form too unsettling, despite an intriguing story set in an alternate-history story world. That said, I’d argue the story settles into a better beat with Issue Two; the characters are strong and the villains have some welcome depth. I’ll be interested to see what Ash has in store for the next issue. For the digital price, I’d suggest it’s worth checking it out, just to see how far Ash is pushing the envelope on this one…
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.