04th Jul2012

Episode 1 – It Begins!

by Chris Thompson

Welcome to the first episode of the Pop Culture Hound podcast with Chris Thompson (@popculturehound) & Taylor Lilley (@capelessT) from The Orbiting Pod podcast. In this first episode, Chris & Taylor discuss various up-and-coming creators who are producing comics in print and for the web. Comics & creators discussed include:

To get in touch, discuss sponsorship opportunities or submit projects for consideration, please email reviews@popculturehound.com. You can also follow me on Twitter: @popculturehound. And if you missed last week’s episode (or any others) you can find them right here or subscribe via iTunes. You can also support the Pop Culture Hound podcast by clicking on the DONATE button below. Your contributions will help us maintain the site, get new equipment, and encourage us to keep going on those cold lonely nights.

06th Dec2011

Small Press – Killjoy #1 by Robert Brown

by Chris Thompson

I have to thank Camila at Orbital Comics for pointing this one out to me. I wasn’t at all familiar with Robert Brown’s work, but his new series Killjoy is a joyous exploration of childhood memories and simpler times (despite what the title may suggest).
Described as ‘a comic for the discerning nostalgist’, I can certainly see where Robert is coming from with that sentiment. The I Am David homage cover immediately drew me in, and for anyone else who was forced to read Anne Holm’s novel as a child it will bring back many memories (although not necessarily good ones).
The interiors maintain the same standard as the cover and perfectly straddle the line between poignancy and awkwardness. There are moments to make you laugh, others to make you cringe, and an overwhelming flood of sentimentality for the innocence of childhood. In an age where that’s all but disappeared, Killjoy makes for a delightfully indulgent read.
I look forward to issue 2 in 2012 and trust it will once again transport me back to a time when life was simpler yet somehow felt more complex. Although these are Robert’s own stories and experiences, they awakened a whole host of memories in me which, I believe, is one of the intended by-products.
Killjoy #1 is available now from Orbital Comics or direct from Robert himself. For £2 you really can’t go wrong! Check out his website at: http://pygmyking.blogspot.com/
(Apologies for the incomplete image of I Am David. I couldn’t find a better picture of the original, so hopefully this is enough to jog your memory or give you some idea of the similarity between the two covers.)

09th Nov2011

Review – Sandcastle by Frederik Peeters & Pierre Oscar Levy

by Chris Thompson

A group of strangers find themselves trapped on an isolated beach as things start going wrong. People are dying, children are aging rapidly and yet, despite it all, they can’t seem to leave. Can this motley group discover how to work together and escape the beach before it’s too late? That’s the basic premise behind this exciting new book from artist Frederik Peeters, writer Pierre Oscar Levy and publisher Self Made Hero.
Doug and the crew at Self Made Hero have done an incredible job of securing and translating some stunning European releases this year, and Sandcastle is no exception. Credit must be given to translator Nora Mahony who also translated David B’s Black Paths which I enjoyed so much earlier this year. With their current output, Self Made Hero are putting forward a strong argument for why more European volumes should be translated into English.
Art-wise, Peeters cleverly employs his style to contrast the tranquility of the setting with the growing uneasiness of those involved. It’s a delicate balance which puts you in the position of a voyeur – a helpless bystander observing silently as events unfold. I hadn’t planned on reading the book in one sitting, but for a brief period of time I was transported to the sands of that deadly beach and forced to watch the story play out.
Of course, the book couldn’t survive on art alone, and writer Pierre Oscar Levy does a wonderful job of creating characters you know. Not necessarily ones you like, but definitely ones you will know and recognise. The result is to reinforce the unsettling truth that you can’t always choose those you find yourself surrounded by. We go through life together and make do as best we can.
I won’t spoil the ending as the mystery is key to your enjoyment of the book. This is the kind of book I’d imagine Rod Serling writing in a Parisian cafe if he was looking to submit something at Angouleme. It’s no surprise to learn that Sandcastle was in fact nominated for the Grand Prix at the Angouleme International Comics Festival earlier this year.
As part of the excellent Comica Festival, Frederik Peeters will be signing copies of the book and taking part in a Q&A at Gosh! Comics London this Friday, November 11 from 6:30pm. Head down and pick up a copy of Sandcastle along with one of the free bookplates designed especially for the event. Maybe I’ll see you there …