Hot Pools #2

Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2007
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Hot Pools #2 Creator(s): Ned Wenlock
Publishers: Self Published.
From: New Zealand
Price: NZ$ 3.00

I enjoyed Ned Wenlock’s “Hot Pools #1,” I liked the way he married a fairly cute artistic style with a macabre storyline. I thought it was an interesting initial foray into the small press world and a title worth keeping an eye out for. I am pleased to report that “Hot Pools #2” does nothing to alter that initial enthusiasm. This mundane look at the horror genre has its own unique charm and is bound to cause a wry grin from even the most jaundiced reader.

In this latest instalment Ned builds on the initial promise shown in the first edition and in particular develops the ironical tone evident in #1.

The format remains the same, a single A3 sheet folded to make a 16 page mini comic, brown text and pictures on a cream/ buff paper. Like so much about this title it is simple but effective.

Ned promises us two further mini comics in this series before he turns his hand at a longer title. I must say I find this approach encouraging; it is as if he is experimenting with something smaller and therefore able to be controlled and developing his art before he takes on a more adventurous project.

So what do we find within? Well much of it follows a similar vein to “Hot Pools #1,” namely as mix of cute characters in everyday situations who are inherently evil [the hairdresser who uses his customer’s shorn locks to satisfy his personal frustration being a good example here] and the just plain bizarre. I mean a story of a young woman who gets washed up on an island inhabited by serial killers but does not fit any of the stereotyped traits of a victim and therefore causes confusion amongst the would be murderers is a pretty bizarre concept.

The ongoing story, “Pipe Industries” confirms all of our initial fears implied in the opening chapter and goes from being ambiguous to just plain creepy as we delve further into what it is that smells rotten in the factory.

The last story is a stand alone tale of a queue monster which is obviously a great concept but just does not work as an effective one page gag. That final page aside though, “Hot Pools” whilst hardly a deep and meaningful read is a highly enjoyable one. Ned has a distinctive style that he is well in control of and, generally, a good sense of story structure and development.

He is continuing to hone his skills in this mini comic and I predict that the best is yet to come.

In a Word: Serialised.

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