Strip Magazine is here! With high ambitions to unite comic legends with new talent, it has burst on the indie comics scene. But is there space on the shelves for another comics newcomer?
As an anthology series, it has much in common with 2000AD, though with the inclusion of articles and interviews, it is closer to Clint in style, if certainly not in the latter’s laddish tone. Indeed, one of Strip’s strengths is its timeless quality. The stories don’t patronise, nor prove too complex for younger and older readers alike with a mix of adventure, science-fiction and fantasy to engage everyone. With contributors who have worked on titles such as The Boys, Doctor Who Magazine, 2000AD and Marvel to name but a few, this is set to be an exciting addition to the monthly line-up.
Starting with a belting first instalment of King Cobra (who DC Thompson fans might remember from Hotspur), Strip clearly sets out its agenda in these opening pages. With visually arresting pages, Wamberto Nicomedes artwork is incredible, and rivals other comics for its integrity whilst complimenting John Freeman’s action-packed script.
Black Ops Extreme seems to be a remarkably popular strip based on its appearance in the Strip’s earlier test issues (The Black Ops stories being collected as a stand-alone volume for release shortly). The tales of an anti-terrorist team who are not as amenable as they appear have much in common with The A Team – even down to some of the meathead attitudes of some of the characters. It isn’t for me, but I can see the appeal for its legion of followers.
More to my liking are the mysteries hinted at in Operation Inferno and Warpaint. The former, a cross between Alex Rider and Spooks merges a Steampunk London with a teenage super-agent with some promising results; if far too short in this opening episode. Whilst Warpaint’s mysterious and breathless opening leaves you gasping for more.
Denizens set up its premise nicely, and looks like it will be a tale disturbingly just within reach of real-life as it progresses. This tale of a personal tragedy with far reaching consequences is perhaps one of the more original within the collection. John Freeman’s Crucible rounds out this issue with a medieval world not dissimilar to our own in one respect – unemployment is rife! With fabulous art from Smuzz (2000AD) it is a solid (if short) start.
The earlier test issues of Strip (exclusively available in comic shops) were a little patchy in places, as if it was finding its feet. A shrewd decision to test the waters before launching properly, this new volume of Strip bursts out of the gates in breathless measure maintaining a consistency, quality and appeal that many other comics would kill for. With strips planned for at least the next twelve months, buckle yourself in for a fun-packed ride.