Thursday, December 30, 2010
The Freedom Collective
I received an interesting package a few weeks ago from longtime comic fan Iain Henderson which included this fine comic, The Freedom Collective. Published a few years ago by Glasgow's Rough Cut Comics the 32 page one-shot is well worth a look.
Edited and co-created by Iain Henderson (or Igor Sloano as he's called here) the idea behind The Freedom Collective is What If Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had been born behind the Iron Curtain? What kind of comic might they have produced at the height of the Cold War?
Like most people with an interest in comics I'm a huge fan of the Lee/Kirby comics of the 1960s. However it can't be denied that some of the anti-Communist stories in the Marvel Comics of the era were a tad over the top. This seemed only natural at the time of course, and what The Freedom Collective does is to cleverly mirror that from the Soviet perspective. "Communism's Mightiest Super-Heroes" are a Red reflection of Marvel's Avengers, with "MIG-4" instead of Iron Man, "Mastodon" instead of the Hulk, "Ajys the Ice Goddess" instead of Thor, "Homeland, Spirit of the Soil" instead of Giant-Man, and "Krimson Kommissar" instead of Captain America.
The script and inks are by Colin Barr with pencils by Dom Regan. The plot involves the Collective traveling to America to "rescue" a defector and his family from the evil clutches of capitalism. Everything is played straight and in doing so it heightens just how extreme Marvel used to be with their propaganda. Of course it leads the reader to chuckle along with the creators who are obviously enjoying turning our expectations upside down. In lesser hands this would have been done as a basic humour strip but here it's produced with intelligence and wryness.
As an added bonus even the ads in the comic follow the same conceit, inviting readers to send for the Kremlin Kraft Photo Retouching Kit and to Record Your Parents Voices At Home. There's also a letters page too, with of course any "subversive" anti-Soviet comments blacked out and the editor threatening the young readers with KGB intervention.
All in all it's brilliant. Simply brilliant. If you didn't buy a copy when it came out, put it on your list for 2011.
Igor Sloano's Freedom Collective MySpace page:
Rough Cut Comics website: