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Friday, 16 March 2018

Review: Energy Realms

Top Class Comics
W/A: Noah Brown
Black and white
£4 plus £1 postage UK/£4 postage anywhere else 

Noah Brown describes his comic this way:

"I'm a musician/artist/comic creator from Leeds UK, have done lots of music-related art and a few comics here and there. Following a longish break from art, I've just finished the first issue of my new comic - 48 pages of reprehensible adult pulp action. It's somewhere between Richard Corben and Johnny Ryan, or old 2000AD if it was made by someone serving life in prison, that's what I'm aiming for anyway!"

I've had to censor a couple of the pages as bad language causes problems on and off CBO -and we try to be safe for our readers!

The first thing to note is that Brown's comic is not a mainstream one and so there are different criteria when it comes to reviewing.  For one thing -the artwork. Even Brown comments about this and it is what it is.  I did wonder whether it might make a difference if Brown was just the writer and he had an artist to work with?

"Pat Lord: The Sensual Terror" has a very British Dr Strange-in-training and there is possession, gory violence and all sorts of sexual shenanigans. There is actually some quite good and humorous dialogue in place - the emergence of the homunculus and Pat's dialogue being memorable.

"Power Squad in the Mysterious Zone" to live and gain more power the characters have to kill and the more defenceless the life forms they kill the more power they gain.  Now that is a very natural prey-and predator order of life: predators kill the weakest to survive and only the strong survive. Deep thinking...or me over analysing?

Next there is "Whiskey Weasel and Stabber Duck in The Luck of the Rogue". Interesting use of toner in some of these pages which helps things stand out art-wise.

As I've already noted, there are some nice bits of dialogue and story in places and, yes, maybe an artist to work with might help.  However, there is something I have noted over the years: there are those who draw badly and there is no "feeling" in the work. It is just bad drawing on paper. The best review I ever gave a Small Press comic was in the early 1990s -the art was awful but I read it and you could tell the creator was enjoying what he was writing and drawing.

For all the artistic downfalls it is very clear that Brown is enjoying himself. If you have read comics as long as I have (over 5 decades now -I wish I could write only 10 years!) and you have read Small Press comics (since the 1970s) you can pick up on a great deal by looking at pages.  True, comics are sequential art so there is no reason why you cannot 'read' a foreign language comic if well put together, but your eye and brain picks up more than you consciously think. Sorry -I am over explaining things.

Basically, if it is drawn like crap and the artist did not really care and put nothing personal into it then it is just crap.  My first thought was "Do I really want to read this?" but I knew the answer anyway. And it is because I read Energy Realms that I realised there was some nice writing there and that the art was created with fun and enthusiasm.

You should never be stuck up your own hole about Zines.  So many people are.  If it is not "intellectual" or have a deep social message then it's not worth anything -and some of those stuffed shirts praise comics drawn just like Brown's but because it falls within a clique.

Remember that this comic is meant for adults and fun. View it in that way and without prejudice and you may well enjoy it.  Whatever, it goes into the Hooper Zine Archives!

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