Thursday, 18 June 2015

SICBA: Best Graphic Novel

Best Graphic Novel
Amongst The Stars (published by Planet Jimbot)

Aliens have nightmares too. Us.
Over 64 pages, Jim Alexander (writer) and Mike Perkins (artist) visit an alien world that is haunted by the consciousnesses of humans. Intruding into their minds, thanks to a telepathic first contact, humanity inflicts suffering on the aliens, simply by acting out their usual weekend antics.

Told through  sparse, black and white, art - with sporadic forays into more expansive panels evoking the immensity of both Space and Mind, Amongst the Stars contrasts the pure world of the aliens against the messy, and sometimes violent Earth. 

Taking in scientific theories, a procedural crime drama and the philosophical musings of the aliens as they attempt to deal with human emotions, Amongst the Stars updates the psychedelic science-fiction of the 1960s and asks profound questions about the nature of being human. 

And Then Emily Was Gone (published by ComixTribe)

Part metaphysical thriller, part absurdist meditation on life, And Then Emily Was Gone pits a washed-up detective against supernatural forces. 

Set on a remote Scottish island - and starring a cast of individuals who can only be found in extreme rural settlements - Emily plays fast and loose with the boundaries of reality, re-imagining traditional tales through the filter of modern horror. 

It recalls The Wicker Man, but adds a bitter, almost comic, glance at the conventions of comics. Strong characterisation of the two leads - and the missing Emily - ensure that the meandering story has a rare depth and charm.

Boat vol. 1 (Self published)
Dark and dystopian future time from Lumsden and Weallands. Based on the short film, the dense black and white art is a perfect match of form to content, as a father and son try to survive in a flooded world. 

Aside from outbreaks of violence, Boat centres on the relationship between man and boy, offering thoughts on how parental responsibility can be deadly, given the darkest of circumstances. 

Despite the themes of despair and survival, Boat is less a bleak tragedy than an essay on hope... spanning several years and a range of emotional scenes, the final panels offer the promise of better times ahead. 

IDP:2043 (published by Freight Books)
Celebrated French graphic novelist and illustrator Barroux, Costa Award winner Mary Talbot and artist Kate Charlesworth, ‘godfather of British comics’ and creator of 2000AD Pat Mills and graphic novelist Hannah Berry, enfant terrible of Scottish letters and author of Trainspotting Irvine Welsh and graphic artist Dan McDaid, graphic novelists Adam Murphy and Will Morris.
Story editor: crime writer and graphic novelist, Denise Mina.

'Themes of science, gender, rare, social hierarchies and privilege are tackled in the book... Nick Barley, the book festival's director, said the images conjured up by the writers and artists who worked on the project were "nothing like the science fiction visions from the 1960s and 1970s".'
'a very special comics collaboration'
Forbidden Planet International
'a quirky and thoroughly enjoyable work'

Robbie Burns: Witch Hunter (published by Renegade Arts Entertainment)
It's sharp, witty and features the Scottish bard getting busy with the bad girls. Despite what appears to be the kind of idea Hollywood could turn into a really bad movie, Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby imagine Robbie experiencing the supernatural in more than just poetic imagination. 

With running jokes about Burn's skill in verse, a strong female lead and an attention to graphic detail, Witch Hunter manages to be both an action adventure and a cheeky satire on the idolatry around the 'nation's favourite poet'. 

Rennie's experience on 2000AD shows out through the novel: clear panels, clarity of story-telling and a sly humour ensure that Witch Hunter is not just another piece of Tartan Tat. 

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