COMIC BOOK REVIEW: THE BALLAD OF HALF-HANGED MACNAGHTEN / AUTHOR: DANIEL MCLAUGHLIN / ARTIST: ADAM PESCOTT, DANNI COYLE / PUBLISHER: UPROAR COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The Ballad of Half-hanged MacNaghten is a short (36 page) grey-wash comic based on the urban myths surrounding Anglo-Irish gambler and ne’er-do-well John MacNaghten who lived between 1722 and 1761. It was produced by Uproar Comics, a publisher based in Derry, Northern Ireland.
The story follows MacNaghten living the high-life at Trinity College before succumbing to the lure of gambling, drinking and womanising, before frittering away his inheritance. He escapes Dublin to return home to Derry where he tries to settle down, finds love, and exploits the generosity of his friend Andrew Knox. Of course there is more to the story and MacNaghten is a rogue who it is hard to find lovable - hard that is for everyone except for Mary Ann, the daughter of his friend.
Everything ends badly and MacNaghten is tried for murder. Why is he called half-hanged? You’ll have to read the story to find out.
Visually the style is fully fleshed-out and evocative; some of the artwork reaches out and pulls the reader into the story, which moves along at a pace. The characters show real expression and the story is a decent read. The grey-wash adds a particular effect: rather than shades of black, the artwork has the effect of suggesting illumination rather than shadows and several frames look illuminated creating a distinct style.
The Ballad of Half-hanged MacNaghten is well-priced in print and an absolute steal as a digital download.
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