Welcome to Small Press Sunday, a spotlight on the books, artists, and publishers that make up that “other” section of the comic book world. Whether the work is independently published, self published, amateur, professional, or even distributed through mainstream channels is irrelevant, we’re not here to split hairs over interchangeably used terms, we’re here to talk some comics!
This week the spotlight is on Saltire, and the two books that make up the first graphic novel, Invasion and Inception. Perhaps the old phrase “never judge a book by its cover” should be rephrased into “never judge a book completely by its cover,” because if I worked on the cover for Saltire, I’d certainly want my kudos for bringing that big blue bad boy to life! You can get so much from this before you even read it. The name itself, Saltire, is another name for Saint Andrew’s Cross, the national flag of Scotland. Moira Mactaggert, Legion, and Wolfsbane are all famously Scottish characters, but the idea here seems to be to create a new emblem, a new cultural icon for the Scottish in comics.
Invasion makes use of the legend of the Ninth Legion, a section of the Roman army said to have marched off into the land now known as Scotland, and then to have marched right out of all history, never to be heard from again outside of the remote mentionings of a few officers. Lost to history, they’ve been made use of in such fiction as the movie Centurion, and now here to serve as the bad guys that compel ancient tribes to appeal to mystical forces for protection, such as the lead hero, Saltire. Even with a champion of their own, the Ninth legion is decimated. The second story, Inception, fleshes out more detail of the character’s conception. Throughout, the characters engage in a sort of role-playing game fashion with each other, which fits the tone of a story with so many high fantasy elements. If you’re into sacred stones, magic, swords, fantastical beasts and quests, then you’ll certainly be curious to see where in time Saltire shows up for the next installment, Annihilation!