100% Biodegradable is a quarterly digital-only sci-fi and horror anthology comic, now on issue #9. It is a mix of the old and new, on-going stories and one-off shorts. Featuring a range of styles, themes and ideas, there’s sure to be something of interest for all comic fans.
There are seven tales in this issue, featuring John Freeman (Judge Dredd Megazine, Marvel UK) and Alan Burrows (2000AD, Red Dwarf) and some new talent too. The first story is A Hope in Hell by Paul H. Birch and Gary Crutchley. Beginning with a mysterious meeting between an Asian man and naked, be-shadowed woman who is more than she seems. The art is luxurious, although I’m not sure why – in the context of the book – the nudity is ‘artfully’ concealed. The script is a tad confusing but the final pay-off works well. Next up is a short comical post-apocalyptic jape called Bunk Mates by the 100% Biodegradable editor David Hailwood, with sketchy yet bold art from Paul Harrison-Davies.
Lucid Dreams features the work of Scott Melrose and Denis Vermesse. Presented in a style reminiscent of some of Dave McKean’s work, it is perhaps the most effective story in this book, capturing the feel of nightmares. Which is not easy in a few panels over a few pages. It is bleak, dark and a visual treat. Death Duty Renegade is the continuing story from previous issues. I guess it’s the headline act in a way. The story is by Hailwood and Freeman with art by Brett Burbridge. Having not read the previous storylines, this was a little lost on me. It has an intriguing premise with interesting characters. The art is nice, especially the backgrounds – plenty of style.
Changing tact completely is another of Hailwood’s stories. This time, with ‘pictures’ by Tony Suleri, remixed by John Kirkham. Entitled Living the Dream, we are transported into the life of Dennis, who dreams of amazing adventures night after night. However, he believes they are real, as he explains to his doctor. He even has physical side effects (which again the doctor explains away). The payoff is fun, if predictable. Interesting that the two best stories here are dream related…
Black & White and Dead All Over is a single page horror gag by Hailwood, Stu Smith and Neil Alexander. A zombie apocalypse shown in a couple of panels, which had begun in a zoo. One man is pursued to Arctic Station Zero, only to discover an unlikely truth. Clever and imaginative to tell that gag in 6 panels of proper horror artwork. The final tale is The Heartless Mind, script by Oscar Maltby and art by Dave Snell. This one has a lightbulb moment which I liked; a case of why had I not thought of that before. It examines what happens to Egyptian pharaohs after they die and are prepared for the afterlife. The art is slick and dramatic and brings the comic book to a fitting end.
Anthology comics inevitably feature a variety of styles and ideas. In its favour, 100% Biodegradable, is a thematic concept that works well. Seven short horror and sci-fi stories with a satisfying payoff. Individually, some work better than others. As a showcase of creators, however, it is an interesting and worthwhile way to spend some time with 30 imaginative pages. Available on on Drivethru and Comicsy (with ComiXology to follow, once it’s been approved), 100% Biodegradable is worth checking out.
Title: 100% Biodegradable
Reviewer: Ian J Simpson