Friday, 13 May 2011

The collection has arrived!

Very excited to receive this parcel today:

So, if you look over to the right of the screen there, or follow this link, you'll find the first collection of issues 1-3 The Absence for sale on 112 pages with a new cover, including the art for all three issue covers plus a pin up section by some great artists and all for £8. Not bad is it?

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Aintitcool Review!

Well then. This is rather brilliant. The Absence has had a review on cult website Aintitcool!


Writer: Martin Stiff
Illustrator: Martin Stiff
Publisher: Self Published via LuLu
Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

THE ABSENCE is a six-part miniseries starting with issue number one, HERO, starring Marwood Clay as a soldier returning to a small village on the coastal edge of Southern England. The only problem is Clay was presumed dead, killed in World War II. Further complicating matters is the fact that the townsfolk were kinda glad he was offed and are less than enthused to see him return home. Unfortunately not all of him has made it, as ol’ Marwood lost the lower part of his mouth below the nose. He sort of resembles that anatomy mannequin in the high school nurses office but his disfigurement runs much, much deeper.

I have to give props to Martin Stiff for serving as both writer and illustrator, as just one of those duties is a daunting task on any book but to do both, and to do them well, is truly the mark of a great talent. I was a little disappointed the comic was in black and white, as I feel like I’m reading a newspaper, but that’s just me nitpicking because THE ABSENCE leaves very little to be critical of. The narrative is sharp, the pacing is just right and Stiff has a loose hand when it comes to the illustrations. I like the way he’s able to capture fear and anxiety right out of the gate which is a considerable feat considering that you really don’t know who any of the characters are and have no established reason for giving a shit about what happens to them. Stiff makes the most of his atmosphere and shadows to draw the reader into a brilliant opening sequence that involves the collapse of one man’s world. Good stuff.

Some of the dialog is hokey but that has more to do with the geography of Stiff’s setting than his execution. In fact, I think it lends credibility to the story because if it’s taking place in Southern England than dammit it should look, sound and feel like Southern England. One thing that drives me batty is when comics have aliens, monsters and mutants all duking it out on the streets of San Francisco yet they all talk like socialites from the upper west side of Manhattan. As far as THE ABSENCE is concerned, we don’t yet understand the significance of Marwood’s return or what scars he shares with the townspeople, but Stiff has done an excellent job of giving me a reason to stick around and find out. And if you’re just in it for the cheap thrills you’ll be happy to know there are abandoned churches, Germans with hypodermic needles and gratuitous beer shots. Dark, creepy and utterly satisfying, THE ABSENCE is a self-published comic that not only meets, but in many cases exceeds what you’d expect to find from any of the big name printers. Pasty likes.

Small Press Big Mouth review

A great review of issues #1-#3 over on the Small Press Big Mouth podcast. Although I've had a few written reviews it's kinda weird hearing people actually 'talking' about The Absence.

I'll post the review as an audio file in a month or so but in the meantime I heartily recommend you all head over to the Small Press Big Mouth blog and download the podcast right now! You can also find it on iTunes under the Geek Syndicate podcast umbrella.

The review of The Absence starts about 30 minutes in but do please listen to the rest – it's a brilliant podcast about the small press comics scene.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Collection cover - final version!

I banged on to a nauseating degree about the process involved in putting this cover together, here, here and good Christ, even here. For some reason this cover was a fight from start to finish. I think it's pretty complex (maybe too complex - it's been wanked to death I fear) and I've been so insanely busy with a bunch of other stuff I've just not had the time to dedicate to getting it right.

Anyway, I think, now, finally, at last, it's done. And if even if it isn't, I fucking well am.

I'm raring to get my teeth into issue #4. The last 5 pages of that issue is a sequence I've had in my head since the inception of The Absence so after 2 years and 140 odd pages I can't bloody wait to get it out!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Another detail

Yet another detail for the front cover of the collection. Think I'm might be beginning to over-work this bloody cover a bit now... Still, quite like the line work on this: