! UPDATE ! THE EDGE OFF ****A Kickstarter Comic Preview by Manster****
*UPDATE* I’ll put the update right up front here…The Edge Off was fully funded within 4 hours of going live. There are some great offerings including variant covers by Garry Brown and Frank Quitely as well as commissions and original pages of art from Iain Laurie. The commission offerings were sold out almost immediately (I was an hour or so too late to snag one of those). As of this writing (Monday 4/30) there are still 19 days to go and the Edge Off has reached $4883 of it’s $1929 goal and unlocked two major stretch goals – those being physical prints of the awesome variant Garry Brown and Frank Quitely covers for anyone who ordered a print copy of the book (a very reasonable $6 for any cover version and $17 for all three covers) and hi-res digital images for the digital backers. Take a look at these images below. If you don’t want that Quitely cover there’s something wrong with you. With 19 days to go I imagine there will still be some nice stretch goals to unlock. Don’t waste time, get out there now and fetch yourself a great book. I’ve attempted to include a link to the Kickstarter page.
Those familiar with the crowd-funding platform that is Kickstarter are probably aware that there are some great projects worth backing. This comic book collaboration between writer Fraser Campbell and artist Iain Laurie which kicks off April 20, 2018 should be one of them.
If you’re looking to sit and relax with an “easy to read” comic book that you can absorb in a single read through, one that will take the edge off of your rough day, just to forget about it five minutes later…then look elsewhere. This is not that book. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a book that will challenge you and stick in your psyche like a well-cooked strand of spaghetti thrown onto the ceiling, then you need to read “The Edge Off”. Then you need to read it again. And a third time.
Check out the cover and title above. We have a British mobster-looking fella wearing two skinny neckties holding a shank in one hand while removing a mask of his face in the other which exposes a sort of bloody tangle of stringy tendrils. And the title is part upside down, part forwards and part backwards. Right away you suspect there will be skewed perceptions and tangled realities. And you would be right.
Lee is a “fixer” of problems and he suddenly has a serious problem of his own. He wakes up to find himself dosed with a new psychotropic drug called “Rapture” and discovers that the one thing he cares about, his daughter Kayla, has been kidnapped. Lee suspects his recently deceased bosses’ son Eddie is responsible for his troubles. Desperate to get his daughter back he sets out on a nightmarish journey where the horrific madness invading the edges of his perception soon becomes indistinguishable from his horrible reality. If this book was accompanied with a music soundtrack I imagine it would be “Atrocity Exhibition” by Joy Division.
Fraser Campbell has done a fine job with the story and dialogue, as they are intentionally misleading and confusing to the reader. And just like Lee, we do not quite understand what’s going on and what’s real. I was not familiar with Campbell’s work before reading “The Edge Off” but after reading this Hard-Boiled Nightmare-Noir tale, I would like to see where this Kickstarter takes him next. Perhaps a slightly less surreal book with a strong female lead?
Iain Laurie shot into my radar a couple years ago with “And Then Emily Was Gone” He’s got a signature artistic style I would say is rough around the edges brand of unsettling horror in the vein of Jeff Lemire. His other-worldly imagery is a perfect fit to convey the hyper weirdness and effects of the drug-addled visions seen by Lee. Everything from strange ten-gallon-hat-wearing super creeps, to tentacled monsters reaching into dark alleys, floating balloon heads, multi-nosed-eyed-mouthed faces and several others atrocities beyond description.
David B. Cooper handles the coloring of these disturbing images with a masterful balance of bold reds, purples and blues with just the right splash of bright colors and pulls it all together with a generous dose of black. The final piece of the creative team is the lettering by Colin Bell. Lettering works best when it does not detract from the flow of the story and the lettering here is easily readable and never distracting. There’s one bit of double imaging and another moment where the lettering changes color because the character has changed and it all works without missing a beat.
As Lee’s journey reaches its conclusion (no way am I giving up the slightest hint of the ending) you will immediately want to go back to the beginning and reread it. And then again. It will stick with you. Iain Laurie’s art will stick with you. Like I said right at the start, this is a Kickstarter you should back. As it is not live yet, I do not know the pledge levels or the offerings, but I hope it has a physical book and stretch goals and I wish them the best of luck. If you have never backed a kickstarter before, and you like creator owned or quirky or crime noir or monsters then go ahead and make this your first. It won’t hurt.
Trust the Manster.