Sunday, February 27, 2011

Signal Watch Reads Comics: Knaves' Ward - Luster of Vengeance

Its always cool to see what sort of creative things you Corpsmen are up to.  This weekend, Horus Kemwer had his directorial debut shown at a film festival in Beaumont, which had participation from our own JimD and Daniel Lloyd.  That's the movie Pleadings, by the way.

Well, that same Horus Kemwer has a brother who is doing the indie comic thing, and I recently received a copy of one of his works, Knaves' Ward:  Luster of Vengeance.   I believe the kids are using the term "speculative fiction" these days for works that don't focus on "science", exactly, in their fiction.

Firstly, let's get this out of the way:  this is a DIY, straight-from-the-mind-of effort by the contributors, Matthew Isaac and David Goodman.  Its not as polished as work from a mainstream company, and there's no doubt there's a certain rawness to the work. In the manner of many independent comics, Isaac is responsible for both story and art chores, and in this outing is finding his way with both.

What the look and feel of the book reminded me of is the unmitigated creative explosions set off during the black and white indie days of the 1980's.  Isaac may be too young to remember walking into a comic shop and seeing shelves full of books that were unleashed on the world in the wake of the rise of the direct market and the fallout of the pre-kiddie-explosion Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Back then, Dark Horse published Concrete and titles like Boris the Bear and the notion that a Dark Horse title would ever see a movie seemed laughable.

The story itself has roots in socially conscious sci-fi work of the early 20th Century, such as Lang's Metropolis.  We only get snippets of the world of Knaves' Ward, but there's a sharp contrast between wealth and poverty, haves and have nots, and some of the have nots are all-too happy to play the pilot fish to the sharks of the upper classes.

An amnesiac awakens from surgery, cold, metal cybernetic replacements where his hands were.  From here, he has to fight to survive and recover his past.

I quite liked the story, and I think it shows that the creative team has a lot of potential.

Isaac's work is featured at his site, Eye of Infinity.

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