Thursday, 7 April 2016

Bionic Battle Rabbit

Cover of Bionic Battle Robot

One of the most talented, distinctive and prolific cartoonists in Britain at the moment is Marc Jackson.   If you have any interest in current British comics you are almost sure to have seen his work somewhere over the past year.  His “Lenny the Lettuce” strip has appeared in the Beano.   He’s had Duckless in the wonderful on-line comic Aces Weekly and Ka-Punch provides much needed laughs to Comics Heroes magazine.  

This May his Mr Pooch will feature in the revival of Deadline Magazine, “Missed Deadline” and he has a number of other strips in development, of which much more will be said over the weeks to come.

Somehow, he also finds time to self-publish his own comics under the Weirdo Comics label.  All, I think, are
booklet (half US comic) size and two have been released in the past month or so.

“Bionic Battle Rabbit” is a B&W 24 page comic with colour covers.  It tells the origin story of the Bionic Battle Robot and involves a game designer, Kill Bots and some of the best sound effects I’ve seen in a comic for a while.  There is also a great final panel reveal that I look forward to seeing a resolution too.   It’s a fun comic, quirky and beautifully produced and well worth the £4.50 he charges.           

“Funny Side Up” is a set of single page three or four panel gags featuring ‘Cosmic Cliff’, a character who has fallen through a split in time, but is otherwise, apart from a slight physical defect, totally ordinary.   He and his friend Stan, a classic straight man, deal out some great puns and sight gags.  This would make a great newspaper strip.  It’s almost set up for that already.   Just rearrange the pages and you have something that would work well in any newspaper.   Full colour, and Marc make great use of colour, this is funny.*

Marc’s art style is unique.  You’re not going to mistake a Marc Jackson comic for someone else’s.  Deceptively simple, bold and sparse, Marc needs only a few lines to create a unique character.    Facial expressions seem to be shown by changing the angle of a single line.   It’s clever and it’s effective and it works in everything he does.

He cites Bill Waterson, the writer/artist of the celebrated Calvin and Hobbs strip as a major influence along with other American greats Fred Hembeck and Sergio Aragones.  But he admits to have being brought up on the Beano and Dandy and he brings something of the sensibility of those comics to his work.  Too often mainstream American humour comics are simply not funny, often being staid or predictable.   Following a formula set-up many years ago when Mad was first started as a comic.  
Marc has some of the wildness of the best of British humour comics about him, but he understands the American comic scene and you can see that in his satire.  In some ways I think that is the thing that sets him a wee bit apart.

These are great comics.   Head over to his web-site to see details of what he has available and more details on his work, it's well worth your time.

*Marc has just contacted me to let me know that Cosmic Cliff is a newspaper strip, appearing both in his local newspaper and The Red-Hook Star from Brooklyn, NYC.

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