Published by Paragon Comics
Edited by Dave Candlish
Cover Art: Dave Candlish
Colours: Jim Cameron
This is a small press anthology some of the contributors can be found in other anthologies such as the The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel, Zarjaz and Dogbreath.
Paragon is 44 pages of A4 in black and white, reasonably priced at £2.50. There are five stories in this issue all are either complete or start this issue – making this a good ‘jump-on point’.
The contents page includes a short cartoon, the size you might find on the ‘funny pages’ in a newspaper, entitled Monsters Zinc. A Mummy and a Vampire in a bar, scoping for girls… quite funny.
There are spoilers below but I’ve left them reasonably light.
SPENCER NERO and Mrs SIMPSON
Writer: Greg Meldrum
Art: Stephen Prestwood
Spencer Nero is a British Agent fighting dark occult forces in 1940s Britain.
This tale deals with the God Saturn, his Human host Stephan Reisen and Edward VIII having his soul sucked out by Mrs Simpson… yes the lady in the title is THAT Mrs Simpson.
A rather tongue in cheek boys-own style story the plot zips along nicely. The art is in a similar vein. There are a few rather wordy panels but the letterer copes admirably.
THE BIGGEST STICK
Art: Jim Cameron
A very well put together tale about arms dealing on an intergalactic level. The main characters being rival arms manufacturers MacMurchester Munitions and Procter Industrial.
The art is delightful, whimsical cartoon characters that have a very warm feel to them, dealing in the deadliest trade. Excellent combination. The characters are all slightly familiar and yet I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what the style reminds me of.
JIKAN – Demeter
Writer: Mark Howard & B Stoker
Art: Chris Askham
Letters: Jim Campbell
Jikan is a Ronin, a dimension travelling Ronin, who fights Demons. Sort of Dr Who if Akira Kurosawa had made it I guess.
Jikan arrives on the ship Demeter and locates a Demon, who locates more. All out combat ensues. The script gives plenty of surprises along the way, with a couple of reassuring predictabilities.
The art is dark and moody. A stormy sea, rain coming down. The lighting used is brilliant and the motion in the action sequences works well.
EL BIGOTE – La Noche de Los Muertoads
Art: El Chivo
Undead Mexican bandit wandering the haunted badlands, riding an Ostrich. Yes, not what I expect an undead Mexican bandit to ride either.
Another zipping along plot with plenty of chatter and plenty of action. The over-written accents are fun and assist swift characterisation. The art and lettering work well together. The Muertoads put me in mind of the Slann from Warhammer (back in the early 90’s, they seem to look different these days).
BLUDD & XANDI
Writer: Mark Howard
Pencils: Tom Newell
Ink: Dave Candlish
Letters: Jim Campbell
A Police procedural with Angels and Fallen Angels. Again a rather light-hearted look at murder and mayhem with one cop sticking to the book and the other sticking it to the book.
The art is a little inconsistent with the faces of the characters but over all not bad. I got a D in my ‘O’ Level Art in 1984 and I can’t do sequential art so I’m not really one to be too critical, I do like the light and shade in the inks and the final panel with a bold figure in the foreground and half-seen figures through the windows of the diner is great.
I certainly can’t question the lettering, a great job done leading the eye through the art and making good work of the space.
Over all a very enjoyable read, a nice mix of styles and content making a great example of an anthology.