I’ve been reading Rol Hirst’s blog Sunset Over Slawit for quite a while now. Rol’s taste in music and film is sufficiently in tune with mine to keep me nodding in agreement and sufficiently different to be educational. When it comes to writing, though, Rol’s a professional and I’m a minor league dilletante. So when Rol asked if I’d have a look at issue one of his new comic project, Too Much Sex And Violence, I said yes.
Rol sent me a copy by return. I read it. I liked it and I thought, I must blog about this.
Then I took a week’s hiatus from blogging to finish the draft of my current novel project and Dad Who Writes – The Blog (if not Dad Who Writes – the Whinging Twitter Stream) dropped down a mineshaft for two months.
But, lo, I am returned, Rol’s comic in hand. And it’s still good.
Now, this isn’t your Avengers-type comic. This is more Garth-Ennis -writes-Adrian-Tomine-in-Grimsby with a touch of early Ramsay Campbell. It’s funny, twisted, sharp, not a little bitter and full of tight characterisation.
Grimsby Fathomsby is a tiny fishing village where “they don’t judge you like they do everywhere else.” The loosely connected stories flip from horror to domestic violence to petty organised crime and back again, sometimes all within the space of the same tale. The abrupt switches in tone could be a little jarring but Rol’s mordant ear for Northern dialog pulls it together. Each episode is drawn by a different artist. Rather than work against the cohesion of the whole project, this actually adds to it – some of the more dramatic contrasts and transitions in tone are eased considerably by the switch in art style. Some elements work better than others (not sure about the vampire DJ, though I like the idea). Others completely and delightfully blindsided me (like Dot and her marvellously termed Globes of Opiate). Rol owns up to a Psychoville influence but he sets up an ambitiously broader canvas. And he’s funnier.
You know, I think I’ll pay for the next one. Which, as it happens, is due imminently and available here at Rol’s main site.