Review: London Horror Comic #5 / Author: John-Paul Kamath / Artist: Drew Moss, Dean Kotz / Published by: London Horror Comic Ltd / Release Date: Out now
When Starburst was asked to review London Horror Comic #5, we jumped at the chance. Readers may remember we were blown away by the professional content of this self-published horror anthology last year – it got a rare 9 out of 10 from us. We weren’t the only ones impressed by editor-slash-writer John-Paul Kamath’s modern take on horror conventions. London Horror Comic went on to become the Horror Comic Awards 2012 best anthology of the year, garnering more than a third of the readers’ votes.
Now in its fifth year, the London Horror Comic has grown to 52 full-colour pages but this time cuts back the story count from five to four. Kamath has said he wanted to expand on characterisation rather than tell each tale as swiftly as possible before moving on to the next.
Does this work? The anthology’s opening story The Game would arguably fall down without it. Boy meets girl. Boy turns out to be a vampire. Girl turns out to be… well that’s the plot twist. The story resolves itself through characterisation. But we would have liked to have seen more under-the-bonnet characterisation in the next tale, Dead Love. What drove the coroner to necrophilia in the first place? But kudos to the artist for the final panel – one of the sickest things we’ve seen since Crossed.
As before, the art changes style to suit the story being told. He Said, She Said is a light and frothy Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus relationship tale set in a supermarket – but with a zombie, a werewolf and two gorgons. The art is big, fun and slick, with the story punctuated with deadpan puns and touches of humour.
No humour though for final tale Friends. The gritty art style returns for this non-fantasy story about a lacklustre wage drone who loses his best friend.
Great stories backed by plush production standards making this a stanDout comic amongst the independents. But its real strength is Kamath's deep determination to keep going with it. Being an independent is hard graft that sees many creators flake out after one issue after the rigmarole of writing, finding artists, raising cash, selling their wares, promoting, making a website, and so on. To do so for five years while raising the bar of quality is a rare feat indeed. We look forward to the next five years of London Horror Comic.