COMIC REVIEW: Reads from Avery Hill Publishing

Reads by Avery Hill Publishing is a collection of four stories all quite different. We range from magic, to death by a spear to struggling with the human condition in the twenty first century to indie music. This anthology is a breath of fresh air in the indie comic scene providing us with something that is top quality, and quirky at the same time.

The cover showing the various characters is nicely drawn by Rebecca Strickson and made me want to open up the book.

The first story (Revenge of the Dinosaurs by Steven Horry and Ricky Miller) is a well-told interesting tale. All the basics are there from the beats to page breakdowns. Page three’s interplay with structure to page four’s symmetry are clever tools used effectively.  It was a smart move by the editor to put this story first as it intrigues the reader and will make you want to read on. The breaks are clever. They are stark and different, feeling almost Warholesque. The second one in particular works very well. However the first feels slightly unwelcome. If Revenge of the Dinosaurs had finished half way through the story it would have made me want to read the next publication. But by having this break the reader feels that we are moving on to a new story. When we realise that we are getting part two, although you are happy you are also slightly disappointed that something new and interesting has not appeared, making this break feel pointless. Better structure would have been to have one of these breaks at the beginning of the story and at the end (where the second one is).

Bad Times Ahead by Michael Gosden and David White continues to show that structure can be flirted with. The opening page cleverly is shown as a document in a file. Even more intriguing are little touches by the creative team such as the fact that the name of the story is on the sides of the other documents in the file. The story like its predecessor breaks down well and keeps up momentum.

Suburban Dreamer by Tim Bird has a flavour of Kieron Gillen’s Phonogram. The writer/artist uses a clever technique to show time and place changing. In the middle panel on the page we see the girl in one place. In the bottom panel on the page we see her legs (attached to herself in middle panel) in a different place. This is very effective, dragging the reader along for the journey.

Writer/artist Ricky Miller works on multiple stories in this collection and should be credited with bringing out some amazing moments. His panels are sharp and crisp. His ability to change his style is impressive and shows that he is an intriguing talent. His story Metroland’s style is reminiscent of Alan Moore’s classic From Hell telling a very different tale. It maintains the nine panel gird that Moore has become synonymous with. Further his drawing style has a flavour of Eddie Campbell. Miller’s pencils subtly develop through the script. They start off as quite scratchy yet by the end of part one his lines are becoming more bold and predominant. His style continues to develop with a beautiful panel reminiscent of the work by Lowry

This book managed to make me want to read on, want to see what was going to happen next. Not many anthologies have this ability but this one managed to do it.  I rarely enjoy an anthology as much as I enjoyed this one.

Price is £3.00 plus postage, and can be bought online from here: http://www.tinydancing.blogspot.com/2011/11/reads-issue-1-real-version.html , and also digitally from Graphicly here: http://graphicly.com/avery-hill-publishing
Orbital Comics in London and Travelling Man and OK Comics in Leeds also have some copies in their small press sections.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
GS Reporter: Luke Halsall

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