London Horror Comic #4

A comic review article by: Kelvin Green

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My review copy of London Horror Comic #4 came in a bundle with the previous three issues. I mention this only because the improvement over the course of the title's existence is clear to see; whereas the first three issues showed a great deal of enthusiasm and talent, the fourth is in a different league, boasting a level of quality and presentation that puts some of the output of more established publishers to shame.

To be pedantic for a moment, the title of the comic is a little misleading as one of the stories is a somewhat comedic superhero tale and another could only be defined as horror in the most generous sense, but it seems churlish to complain since good horror is often more about mood than plot or subject matter. So it is fitting that, while some of the stories are darker than others, all are effective and all -- even the lighter strips -- share a sense of bleak, eerie wrongness. Writer John-Paul Kamath also does a good job of pacing the stories and conveying the characters' personalities, even in the limited space afforded by the short, twist-in-the-tail approach he's taken. All of which, of course, adds depth to the horror and occasional humor.

It's also worth noting that despite the shared mood, the anthology remains quite varied in terms of subject matter, with the aforementioned superhero strip rubbing shoulders with tales of economic blight, urban loneliness and one straight supernatural story for those readers drawn in by the zombie on the cover. The artists also contribute towards this variety, with Deak Kotz taking the darker tales and Lee Ferguson handling the others, and the match of artist to strip is well-made in each case; although I tend to prefer Kotz's style in general, I couldn't see the superhero story working anywhere near as well without Ferguson's storytelling, for example. 

There has been a gap of a couple of years between the third and fourth issues of London Horror Comic and in his latest editorial Kamath goes into some of the difficulties in getting the most recent issue into print; the honesty and enthusiasm of the writing is inspirational, but it would all be hollow sentiment were it not for the quality of the end product, which shows that all the heartbreaking setbacks were worth it in the end.



Kelvin Green erupted fully formed from the grey shapeless mass of Ubbo Sathla in the dark days before humans walked the earth. He grew up on Judge Dredd, Transformers, Indiana Jones #12, The Avengers and Spider-Man, and thinks comics don't get much better than FLCL, Nextwave and Rocket Raccoon. Kelvin lives among garbage and seagulls and doesn't hate Marvel nearly as much as you all think he does.

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