It’s been a while since I did a new Moranic Review. I usually scour through the wasteland of countless comics in order to find something bold and different to review. That’s the whole point of this column. Its not for the mundane. Its not for the typical. It’s for the bold, new and interesting books in the comic industry. John Lees’ “And Then Emily was Gone” is one of those books.
Most of the comics we review on Comic Booked are mostly American based creators with American characters. We know a lot about the indie comic scene over here, but what about across the pond? I had the honor of meeting John Lees at the NYC Comic Con a couple of years ago. At that time he was promoting the first issues of his new indie comic series, The Standard. The book is being released by ComixTribe. If you haven’t picked up that wonderful series, you should. It’s a great take on Superheroes. John is based in Glasgow City, United Kingdom but still manages to make an impact with his comics all the way here. He is a talent to watch out for.
With his first book, The Standard, John proved he could write superhero stories better than some of the established “professional” writers in the industry. I couldn’t wait to read his new book, “And Then Emily Was Gone.” I hope a US publisher picks this book up because it’s an amazing piece of fiction. It’s hard to even describe how unique this series is.
Here’s a basic run down of the first issue I read. The story opens on a retired detective named Greg Hellinger. He’s seeing plagued by visions of horrible monsters where ever he looks. The art style of Iain Laurie is spooky, kooky and surreal. The only way I can describe it is that it’s a mix of Terry Gilliam’s fever dream and a Del Toro monster. The overall look of everyone in the book makes them seem creepy and otherworldly.
Anyway, Greg is approached by a young girl named Fiona to help find her missing mate, Emily. She believes Emily was kidnapped by the local boogeyman, named Bonnie Shaw (who appears to be down right creepy as hell – if I saw him in real life I’d never sleep for a week). How can I describe him…. Well he looks like a cross between Chewbacca and the Joker. We also meet an interesting murderous duo that might have a run in with our heroes in a future issue. There’s also another interesting bit with Emily’s parents. Her father is keeping a strange box in the basement that might have driven him insane.
There are so many interesting plot notes and characters in this book. I love the local flavor he gives the characters. Writer John Lees has outdone himself this time. This is totally different than his first book, “The Standard”. This book feels more mature and bold. It has something that you don’t see a lot of in this industry…. Originality.
The tone of the book feels so much like classic Stephen King. There’s a forboding uneasiness with everything in the book. There is a tension rising and a pot boiling waiting to explode but we have no idea when that will happen. I’m definitely excited to read the next issue. Unforunately the book is only available in Glasgow now, but hopefully John will have the book available online digitally somewhere. This is a book that needs to be read by many.
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I’m also a comic writer. You can read my hit comic series Dream Reavers here. I also have a Graphic novel called, Flee and Techno-mancer available wherever books are sold.