Nemesis: twisted world-building at it’s best.

Just spent the last few days ill – and indulging myself with The Complete Nemesis The Warlock: Book 1.

2000AD was a formative influence in my life (as it probably is for many 30something British Males) but I'd forgotten just how much of that for me was down to Nemesis the Warlock.

2000AD as an anthology comic franchise has more famous characters – especially Judge Dredd – but nothing really appealed as much as the out-and-out wanton weirdness of Kevin O'Neill and Pat Mills at their creative height. Mills wanted to create something as weird and wonderful as he found in the pages of Metal Hurlant, but with the dark humour that 2000AD was known for.

Mills in his introduction to the collection:

"I liked the way the French would come up with crazy 'throwaway' worlds and plots; it reminded me of some of the wilder rock videos and, hence the musical references in the early Nemesis stories. With 'Terror Tube' and the tales that followed, Kevin an I were 'comic jamming' – writing and drawing the wildest stories we could think of, deliberately avoiding the traditional comic approach."

Of the creative partnership Kevin O'Neill states in the afterword to the book:

"We were never short of material for Nemesis – indeed we probably only put in a fraction of what we discussed… Ten pages made up as we went along – both desperate to top one another's mad flights of fancy"

The sheer amount of detail, in-jokes, strangeness, stomach-churning tentacular appendages and visual easter-eggs in each page is wonderful. Also, Mills creates a dark, funny and rollicking adventure that works as well if you are 9 or 34 years old.

Of course, as required of all great epic-adventure fictions, it has a really, really, really good bad guy in Tomas de Torquemada. Particularly once he has become a phantasm after a grizzly accident with a teleportation system. O'Neill runs wild with him from that point, and Mills gives him diabolical dialogue a-plenty to create a Moriarty-crossed-with-Matthew-Hopkins.

A fantastic, phantasmagorical blast from my past which I'd recommend anyone with fond memories of 2000AD to reacquaint themselves with; or if you've read 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' to see where Kevin O'Neill's brand of dense, twisted world-building began to hit it's stride.

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Comics: “Scarlet Traces”

Scarlet Traces
Ian Edginton

Read and greatly enjoyed this short book by Ian Edginton and D'Israeli yesterday.

It's a ripping yarn set ten years after the martian invasion of Earth as described by H.G. Wells.

Visually-inventive and richly-coloured, it leaves you on a dark and foreboding cliff-hanger setup that left me searching for the next in the series (I guess the first was by Mr. Wells)

The widescreen nature of some of the art is intriguingly infomed by the fact it was orignally destined to be seen on the web as a flash/shockwave animated web-comic.

This from the popimage review:

"It's one-time status as a web-comic has impacted the art in the final book in many ways, some as subtle as the colour palette and some as important as the design ethic. The world's devices and machinery were given a more detailed structural underpinning because there were going to be sections of 3D animation featuring the alien vehicles on the web. These principles were applied to all of the cranes, fire engines and other devices that appear in the book, and the result is an enjoyable and plausible world. The design and spirit imbued in the Martian and Martian-derived technologies is delightful and inventive, but also classically literate as well."

As a result of the abortive start to their creation it took the duo behind this ten years to get it into print – hopefully the next installment won't take as long to see the light of day.

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