REVIEW: Strip #1

Cover by Alan Robinson and colour by Wamberto Nicomedes

Strips:

* KING COBRA (written by John Freeman, art by Wamberto Nicomedes)

* BLACK OPS EXTREME (written by Richmond Clements, art from Stephen Downey)

* WARPAINT (by Phil Hester and art by John McCrea)

* CRUCIBLE (by John Freeman and art by Smuzz)

* DENIZENS (by Miljenko Horvatic and art by Maxim Simic)

* BLACK DRAGON (by Richmond Clements and Nick Dyer)

Letters on strips by Jim Campbell

One page humour strips by: Gerard Leever; Mauricet & Lanssens

Review: I honestly never thought I’d see the day where I’d be reviewing a comic of Bosnian origins but here we are! I’ve been following from afar the adventures, if you can them that, of Strip Magazine and their test issues that preceded this issue. This issue is a number one but there were seven test issues that were shipped to UK comic stores over the last number of months to gauge whether or not there would be a market for a magazine like this.

Parent company Print Media had their own problems with Customs several times and they were very honest in their social media accounts in letting readers know that the test issues were in fact on the way and they were forthcoming about what the delays were. When they got to comic shops, by all accounts they were very popular. They boasted some of the best in UK and Irish creators as well as talent from further abroad and they captured an audience which led the company to put the magazine in regular newsagents with an all new number one, in fact I came across this in a newsagents in Shannon. Similar in format to 2000AD but boasting inspiration from the 70’s and 80’s heyday of British newsstand comics Strip is full from cover to cover of superb material.

As the inside of the issue says about its origins, Strip is headed up by long time comic creator and Bosnian Ivo Milicevic. Along with Bosnian-based comics publisher Print Media he began the long road to bringing a British version of their action adventure anthology to the UK back in February 2010, after their re-publication of Dan Dare from the 1950s comic Eagle drew the attention of fans. From there he decided to introduce an anthology to British shelves, hence the test issues of Strip Magazine.

The cover promises that the issue will herald the return of a British comics hero and that introduction takes place in the first strip with the return of King Cobra who first graced the pages of the now defunct Hotspur from DC Thompson in 1976, who in turn have let Print Media use the character under license for the book. Most notable about the strip itself is the artwork from Wamberto Nicomedes which is just spectacular.

The second strip is Black Ops Extreme which was one of the stories that ran in the test issues and was created by PJ Holden and John Freeman telling the tale of an anti-terrorist team who heads head for Eastern Europe when a nuclear power station is raided. With the relaunch of this issue Richmond Clements and Stephen Downey take over as creators and craft an interesting tale that I’m eager to see much more of.

The third strip called Crucible by John Freeman and SMUZZ has a great look to it where a mis-matched team are thrown together on a world where everything is not what is seems and they have to contend with the locals and each other.

Black Dragon is the fourth strip bringing together Richmond Clements and Nick Dyer for an awesome steampunk tale taking place in an alternate London. This strip was one of the issues standouts and was a one and done tale.

Denziens which is a real world environmentalist tale that was simply spot on in its execution. The art is awesome and there were some nice pacing by artist Maxim Simic. A sidenote: I don’t know if it was an intentional funny moment, but I laughed out loud at how the girls death occurred in the forest, regardless, the strip was great.

The final strip is Warpaint by the great team of Phil Hester and John McCrea and is one of the strips that ran in the test issues and is represented from the beginning with this issue.

Apart from the six strips, this all ages book, has a ton of extras including two almost MAD Magazine type one page humour strips that were just great. There are two interviews with Richmond Clements and founder Ivo Milicevic, book previews and a poster. With the news that the first 12 issues are commissioned and planned  out this first issue it couldn’t get any better and if you can find in your newsagents, grab it now as you’ll be hearing a whole lot more about it.

Take a look below for some interior art by Stephen Downey.