Please welcome a new contributor to Geek Chocolate, Glenn Jones, a Manchester based artist and author who has cast his eye over the first release from the Glasgow League of Writers. Launched at the Glasgow Comic Con last weekend, where contributors John Lees took home the Best Writer Award for his work on The Standard while Gordon McLean received the Best Comic Award for No More Heroes, the anthology has already sold out its first print run.
Like a team of heroes, the Glasgow League of Writers have banded together to release a comic book compendium of six short stories under the clever title of GLoW. Each tale has a different artist and writer so the tone of each story is very different.
The first story, Eggy, Is an intriguing tale about a young boy who is apparently telepathic. During a rather harsh discussion in class at school, his talents are revealed. It’s a nice simple tale, with clean artwork and dark overtones that reminded me very much of Grant Morrison’s writing.
In Three Brothers we are introduced to a trio of heroic characters: “Some say that they were not born, that the Earth itself needed them and created them to protect mankind from his own monstrous creations.” High praise indeed, unfortunately for us though, these intrepid heroes are flummoxed at the very start and fall foul to a simple bomb threat. By the end of the tale, I could not help think if that these were indeed created by the Earth, next time the Earth should try a little harder. Nice artwork, but the script is bare bones and spoiled by a poor choice of formal typeface.
The third story Retina Wrecker, written and drawn by Jane Sayer is a fun tale about a boy, who in a rather Tim Burton-esque twist, has camera flashes instead of eyes. The script is fast paced, delivered in pure Glaswegian manner and quite exciting. My only criticism is that the artwork is a little over-rendered and can become confusing at times, but otherwise it’s a joy to read.
Super Tidy is probably my favourite story in this issue. In it we meet Billy, a janitor working at a super hero team’s base of operations. We see his day-to-day duties and his interaction with a couple of the heroes he works for. The story is packed full of humour and nice artwork.
The Awesome Doggy Boy is Scotland’s answer to Kick-Ass. A young man decides in a fit of boredom that he wants to be a hero, so goes about finding a costume and then acquiring some amazing powers. It’s full of juvenile fanboy gags, which while amusing actually detract from the potential of the story, however the ending is really quite dark.
The final short story is The Healer which hits the nail right on the head. A charlatan faith healer is revealed to actually possess the power to cure people. Storywise, that’s pretty much all we get, but it’s delivered with a promise that there is much more to this story, and out of all the tales in this comic, this was the one that left me wanting more.
All in all, the comic is fun and deserves to be supported by comic book fans and artists alike. An army of writers and artists working together is a powerful thing. What this issue lacked was ‘focus’. I would have much rather seen less stories, with the extra pages dedicated to the stronger strips (Eggy, Super Tidy and The Healer). Reading more about Billy the Janitor would have been much preferable over the pointless single pages of Aaron Funk, which did nothing more than break the main stories up and offered no real entertainment value, reading almost as an in-joke, pleasing for only those in the know.
My final criticism is the cover, which is not eye-catching in the slightest, and I wouldn’t pick this up if I saw it in a comic store, nor does it represent what the book is about. Minor art tweaks and a splash of colour on the cover alone could make all the difference to this being a seller or not as the monotone cover just looks like a fanzine. A lone caped hero standing next to the title ‘GLoW’ instantly conjures the idea that this is the name of a character featured inside – maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if there perhaps was such a character in the next issue? After all, Judge Dredd didn’t appear until the second issue of 2000AD.