I thought I would review these titles for together for 2 reasons. 1) they have the same writer and artist team Benjamim Read and Chris Wildgoose respectively and 2) I can sum them up with the same word. Beautiful.
Both are beautiful in every way. The poetry of the writing, the gorgeous and intricate wrap around full colour cover, the grandeur of the interior art, it’s all beautiful.
Improper comics market themselves as a small comic and graphic novel imprint focusing on stories that have a touch of the fairy tale, the Gothic or the macabre.
These two stories show that Improper comics know who they are and fill their niche with panache.
In Porcelain we follow a young girl, a nameless street urchin whose crew have forced her to break into the grounds of a mighty evil wizard. She is of course caught by the evil wizard who is actually not a wizard but a
creator of artificial life from porcelain (think of a steam punk version of an artificially intelligent robot). The artificer in question is a desperately lonely man with a haunted past and a dark secret to which we are not party. The relationship between him and the girl is fascinating to watch as they realise they can bring something new to each other’s lives. The girls’ street smart dialogue is hilarious, while not disguising her great need. Read also does an amazing job of capturing the artificers great loneliness. In perfect c
ompanionship to Reads writing, Wildgoose’s art is simplistic yet his characters have such evident emotion that like every good comic artist, his work is as much part of the storytelling as the words. The version I read was black & white but the little I have seen of the colours by Andre
May tell me that Improper Books know exactly what they are looking for in an artistic team. This reads as an ongoing story and this slow burning gothic fairytale has completely drawn me in.
In the Butterfly Gate Benjamin Read has written a story without words. It follows the story of 2 children who discover a mysterious portal while hunting Butterflies in the woods. This story moves from charming to macabre with a truly disturbing conclusion. An ongoing story, consisting of three arcs and I am anxiou
s to see what awaits the children on the other side of the portal. To write such a truly engrossing story without words is an amazing feat and Read and Wildgoose show the magic of their partnership here. Once again the colours added by Derek Dow this time and flatting by Alexa Rosa are a perfect match.
Suffice it to say, I am a fan of Improper Books, a company that makes the macabre beautiful.
GS Reporter: Monts