Random Ink #1

Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2005
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Random Ink #1 Creator(s): Seth Wolfshorndl and Elton Gahr
Publishers: Three Trees Studios
From: USA
Price: $1.50 (int ordering info on site)(US)

Random Ink is an eclectic little anthology featuring everything from geriatric humour through to Sci Fi.

The first thing to "get over" in this comic is the cover. It is fairly uninspiring which is a shame because what lies within is well worth a look. The very first page being a case in point. It is a delightful slow revelation of the main character and his paranoia, well constructed, well drawn and just ever so creepy.

The story that follows, Bullets and Bedpans is an enjoyable and irreverent romp through a care facility as one of the patients goes berko. The sight of the elderly Mr Flint, dressed in his nightshirt, rampaging through the corridors just as fast as his walking frame will let him is a well- executed and very funny gag. Now bedpans, walking frames and enemas may not be everybody's idea of a laugh but I reckon add them to a story of an old man heavily armed and out for revenge and I reckon you're on to a winner. The story line of this the longest comic in the anthology is well structured with some confident use of sub plot [featuring a coffee swilling, techno music listening grannie].

The second comic is a brief untitled piece tracing the life of a falling leaf. It has a whimsical charm and is very effective. This is largely due to the "bookending" of the strip with two silhouetted frames and an impressive range of angles used within.

The most impressive contribution however is Dark Was the Night a superbly rendered biography of the Blues singer Blind Willie Johnson. Captions and pictures appear to be scratched into a hard black surface and this enhances the tragedy of the musician's tale. The irony of the last frame is a masterstroke. Adventurous in execution and powerful in message these three pages alone alone are worth the price of the comic.

The last three contributions fall a little from these heady heights. The Last Martian is amusing if a little obvious and I just don’t get The Vlad Squad. As for the last contribution, Intervention well I'm just not a big fan of prose chapters in comics. I normally find them a little overwritten and dominated by an overly strong narrative voice. Most of them overdo the "telling." Intervention> is better than many but still not exciting or well written enough to ensnare and captivate the reader.

In a Word: Varied.

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