COMIC BOOK REVIEW: ENDANGERED AND MORE STRANGE STORIES / WRITER: DANIEL CLIFFORD / ARITST: LEE ROBINSON / PUBLISHER: ARTHEROES.CO.UK / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The United Kingdom is currently undergoing a very quiet revolution when it comes to comic books. Sequential art conventions such as Kendal’s Comic Art Festival and Leeds’ Thought Bubble festival are becoming internationally recognised affairs. The spotlight is on the UK’s growing indie comic scene, and it appears to be thriving. Comic creators Daniel Clifford and Lee Robinson, aka Art Heroes, are an excellent example of this.
The duo have recently produced Endangered and More Strange Stories, a book aimed firmly at getting children into the world of comic books. With the rise of magazines like The Phoenix and Moose Kid Comics getting into circulation, another book like this is very welcome. It features three stories; Endangered is the tale of a very young girl who has been recruited into a team of time travelling animal rescuers - it’s a nifty little tale about courage and responsibility which is also exceptionally cute; Outlaw is a daft tale of hi-stakes hi-jinks in the Old West; and Monster Book is a great little adventure about kids coming together to get frightened out of their wits (and yet learn something in the process). We also get a fun little one-page strip at the end about pigeons.
Robinson’s artwork is bright, accessible and fun. Joy is poured into each page and it’s impossible not to get sucked into each world with a slight grin on your face. Clifford’s storytelling is designed to appeal to a broad audience, but at no point is it condescending. Rather it strikes the balance between simple-to-understand yet also engaging. It helps that each individual concept is quite strong, though Endangered is clearly the most developed of the four stories.
Endangered and More Strange Stories also features a lot of advice on getting to draw your own comics, which makes a lot of sense; the Art Heroes spend a lot of time wandering across the North of England teaching young people the joy of sequential art and encouraging kids to write and draw. This is the sort of book that conscientious geeks include as a stocking filler for the shorter, younger people in their lives who might need a slight nudge in the direction of comic book fun.
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