This is a book I've been intending to plug for a while now so I'd like to start by apologising to its author Tim Perkins for the delay. Tim has put his heart and soul into this book and it deserves as much recognition as possible.
Worlds End Volume 1 - The Riders on the Storm is an impressive 88 page large format hardback graphic novel from Tim's company Wizards Keep Publishing. Tim has been a comics professional for almost 30 years, having worked on diverse titles such as Transformers, Doctor Who, ThunderCats and Triffik! A few years ago he took the brave step of setting up his own company to self publish books, prints and related merchandise and Worlds End Volume 1 is the first major publication from the company.
I should confess that normally I wouldn't touch fantasy books with a ten foot wizard's staff but I'm glad I purchased this as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Tim has really packed the book not only with a 52 page full colour comic strip but also with over 25 pages of bonus material; character sketches and profiles, creator profiles, extra illustrations and so on. In all good fantasy story traditions the book leads off with a map of the world of Gaeyrth, and I'm sure you'll be as amused as I was to find lands named after various familiar comic creator names such as K'rby, Brry K'tsyn, P'Crg Rssull, Ploogg, and even one which made my day, - L'Strgor. A land free of trolls I hope.
The story itself has the expected fantasy elements of an old wizard, his young familiar (named Geek) and a battle against evil forces but what I liked was that Tim had mashed in SF elements with the fantasy. The big bad are an invading alien army intent on aqua-forming the planet, and this has enabled Tim to really go to town on the designs of the invaders and their technology.
One of Tim's many influences is Jack Kirby and, although the King's artistic style isn't readily apparent in Tim's, what has carried over is Kirby's sense of spectacle and impact. Kirby had the ability to blow the reader's mind with the turn of a page and that's something that happens in Worlds End too. Just as the story begins to relax a bit Tim throws in a fantastic landscape or a new alien design to impress us.
The only downside of the book, for me, was that it's a continued story. Admittedly the words 'Volume 1' on the cover should have clued me in but as this is an all-ages book that is hoping to reach a new generation of readers (along with regular comic readers) I'd have thought a more self-contained story might have helped. Then again, I can't wait to read Worlds End Volume 2 - A Hard Reign's Gonna Fall, so what do I know? I'm sold on the sequel already.
For the price of £15.99 this is a great value book and Tim makes it work as a story that should appeal from anyone from 7 to 70. This is the sort of graphic novel that should be in every school library across the UK really, and certainly deserves to be supported by the UK comics community.
Worlds End Volume 1 - The Riders on the Storm by Tim Perkins. Foreword by Bryan Talbot. Introduction by John Ridgway. 88 pages. Full colour hardback. An all-original British comic book, well written and illustrated and full of timeless adventure with top class production qualities. To order your copy, visit the Wizards Keep website here: