Publisher: Olive Press
Imagine a horror anthology comic like Tales from the Crypt, but with the Cryptkeeper replaced by a jovial barman, and the zombies, ghosts and werewolves removed in favour of folk going out for a night on the tiles; that’s not a million miles away from what you’ll get from this new anthology from some of comics’ rising stars.
There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking in terms of plotting here, as all the stories are rather mundane tales of ordinary people doing what ordinary people do on a night on the town. The strength of the comic lies rather in the skilful ways that the creators convey those mundane events, and none of the stories here are boring, despite their familiarity. For example, 2000AD’s Bob Byrne delivers “Say a Prayer For Me,” a semi-autobiographical tale of a drinking session gone sour, culminating in a rain-drenched walk home and improvised sleeping arrangements; there’s nothing particularly dramatic in the story, but Byrne’s cartoony art is full of character, and his writing does a great job of conveying the feeling of the evening’s festivities.
I last saw Declan Shalvey’s work on Moonface Press’ Hero Killers one-shot, and his artwork here is of a similar high standard as he illustrates Mike McLean's “Hustle,” a tale of drinking games and elaborate bets. It's another simple story, but one that's brought to life with good characterisation and evocative art from Shalvey, who has worked out the stiffness that occasionally marred his earlier work. Shalvey also turns in a short solo piece towards the end of the comic which displays a rougher-edged inking style that I actually like a bit better than his work in the main piece. Rounding out the issue is James Hodgkins' “I Drink Therefore I Am...” which again doesn't offer any profound insights into the human condition, but nonetheless boasts a witty script and energetic and expressive art that conveys the comedy effortlessly.
While the stories contained in Tequila aren't exactly Herculean feats of plotting, the enthusiasm and considerable skill of the contributors shines through, resulting in a series of entertaining and evocative stories that are well worth a read.
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