“Lion and the Unicorn” from Ash Pure wows its fans

Lion and the ~Unicorn Issue 1 - Cover

 

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…

Lion and the ~Unicorn Issue 1 - Sample Page

Lion and the ~Unicorn Issue 1 - Sample Page

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?

The visual and narrative style of the comic demands your full attention and, be warned, is a far cry from more traditional comic storytelling, as you can see from a couple of sample pages I’ve pulled from the first two issues Ash kindly sent me. But it’s gone down well: Issue 2 was just launched at MCM in London to a great fan response and has gone on sale to a wider audience this week via the comic’s online shop and Comixology. Geek Syndicate are enthusiastic, describing the four-issue project as “Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror meets Grant Morrison’s The Filth”, while Michael Nimmo from Three Million Years calls it “a compelling, well written story.”

Lion and the ~Unicorn Issue 2 - Sample Page

Lion and the ~Unicorn Issue 2 - Sample Page

 

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…

Web Links

• TheLionandTheUnicorn.net •  Facebook.com/TheLionandTheUnicorn

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. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek 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.



Categories: British Comics, Digital Comics

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