Monday, July 25, 2011

Spirit of Hope launched and looking good

The official book launch for Spirit of Hope took place on Saturday 23rd July, with around twenty of the contributors present at London's Forbidden Planet Megastore.

As most of you must be aware by now, Spirit of Hope is a charity book produced in aid of the victims of the New Zealand and Japan earthquakes and tsunami. Many comics people rallied to the call and the 116 page book is an achievement that all of us involved are proud of.

Saturday was the first time I'd seen the finished book and I was amazed at the sheer variety of styles within its pages. As one reader noted, it really does show the huge versatility of comics.

Contributors include long established professionals to relative newcomers and small press creators, proving the equality that exists within the comics community. With an anthology book like this there is always a risk that some pages will be weaker than others but there really isn't a duff note in the entire book. Every page is clearly from the heart, and the passion and, well, spirit of hope, that each contributor felt carries over to the reader. It's a very moving book, and a very uplifting one.

There's some really powerful and emotional stuff here. One that got to me was Courage by Leonie O'Moore; about the two dogs that were rescued, one standing guard over his injured friend. Other stories are equally as emotional and, such as The Ship by Richard Clements and Inko, heartbreaking.

About halfway through the book there's a bit of light relief with David Leach's Psycho Gran making a welcome return. A comedy strip but not disrespectful to the theme.

The editor faced with the enormous task of making this book work was Alan Cowsill, and what a fantastic job he did. Alan has paginated the book well, so strips don't clash in style and the book is nicely paced. The book features a choice of two covers; the main one by Jimmy Broxton and a variant by Michael Allred.

To coin a cliché, if you only buy one book this year, make it this one. Spirit of Hope is published by the Comic Book Alliance and can be ordered from their website:

It was great to meet up with some old friends in the comics industry at the launch. I hadn't seen David Leach or Jon Haward for a few years. It was also good to meet new people in the business and sign the books for the readers (and for each other). Here's a few photos from the signing at Forbidden Planet:

We had an unannounced signing at Orbital Comics later in the afternoon and photographs from that can be found on Jason Atomic's Facebook page:

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