Saturday, February 12, 2011
The Iron Moon
The Iron Moon is the first graphic novel from Print Media Productions, the company who will soon be unleashing the new monthly comic Strip Magazine. It's an impressive debut.
The 64 page full colour hardback book is a nice large format, bigger than A4, and a classy looking product. The heroine of the story is Charlotte Corday, and if that name sounds familiar it's because she also starred in London Calling last year from Time Bomb Comics. This is the beauty of creator-ownership, that characters can leap between publishers like this. There's more to Ms.Corday than that though, as she's a Jerry Cornelius type figure who can appear in completely different times. Where London Calling was set in an alternative 1950s Britain, The Iron Moon is set in the alternative steampunk era of Queen Victoria's reign.
Written by Stephen Walsh and illustrated by Keith Page, both of whom have worked on D.C. Thomson's Commando, the book tells an intriguing story of a galaxy bordering on war. As the press release puts it:
"Take Lieutenant Charlotte Corday, for instance. Born in what used to be known as France, she has risen to prominence through the ranks of the Royal Space Navy and now finds herself up to her neck in her greatest escapade yet. Watch as she travels to the mysterious Iron Moon! Marvel as she grapples with a conspiracy that may see the galaxy plunged into war! Goggle as she meets new and strange races, both mechanical and biological! Ponder how she manages to put away so many cups of tea! And prepare to have your brain scrambled as she scoops us up and carries us to the very limits of this universe... and into the next!"
Keith Page's artwork here is a joy and a revelation. In recent years his own style has really developed and The Iron Moon is proof of the dedication and hard work he's devoted to his craft. Keith has put an amazing amount of detail into the drawings and the book is a rewarding experience. I'm sure that once they've read it readers will be turning back through the book to study and appreciate the work even more. After so many black and white Commando comics it's good to see Keith's work in colour too, in which appears to be water colour work. A refreshing change from all the computer coloured pages usually found in comics these days.
The story takes up 48 pages but there's a special bonus section by Jeremy Briggs and John Freeman nicely filling out the rest of the book. It features a retrospective of Keith Page's career with comments by the artist and numerous pencil sketches done for the development of the story.
For all the people who have complained about the lack of British adventure comics, here you go. A brand new British graphic novel by a new publisher. If the UK adventure comics industry is to return it'll be through books like this, and the forthcoming monthly Strip Magazine. Don't hold out for a return of weekly serial comics. That business model belonged to the 20th Century. This is the future. It's a good book and deserves your support.
Publisher John Freeman tells me that copies of The Iron Moon should be available from early March. The Iron Moon will initially be available in comic shops, distributed by Diamond, and mail order from First Age Comics Lancaster
A variety of Keith Page's work can be seen on:
If fans of Keith Page would like to know when The Iron Moon is available in bookshops, drop the publisher a line at firstname.lastname@example.org