Bled Dry

Camp VA07 issue 1. 

Writer – James McCulloch, Art – Jonathan Scott, Letters – Rob Jones

Camp VA07

Comics face a crisis, hell society faces a crisis, so why should comics be left out? No comics have been printed by the ‘big two’ since we entered the coronaverse. Local comics shops have been shut. Free Comics Day became No Comics Day.

At a time like this the best thing is to look to the outsiders. Indie comics have a chance to shine because they can do their own thing. So often what they produce is so much more interesting than the mainstream anyway. Do it yourself, publish it yourself, distribute it yourself. Punk’s not dead.

So it was in the midst of shuttered shops, Thursday night clapping sessions and PPE shortages that a copy of Camp VA07 dropped through my door, following on from its successful Kickstarter campaign. At the time of writing this subject might have seemed a bit far-fetched. A global pandemic, desperate attempts to find a solution, borders closed, politicians giving inspiring speeches whilst trying to keep expectations in check.

Camp VA07

This time society is plagued by The Red, an unstoppable menace that is killing all animal life. Starvation beckons. The solution comes from an unexpected source. Aliens who provide food in return for human blood.

James McCulloch writes horror that touches on the darkest parts of being human. In Camp VA07 he shines a light on the vast planet-spanning horror of modern industrial agriculture, without a cow or a chicken to be seen. Instead it is free-range humanity with a red-tractor label that is on the menu. People are the ones who will be farmed. A species that enslaved the natural world, humans who even enslaved each other facing a Faustian pact that puts them in chains.

The overseer can hang their heads on spikes.

 How very human of you.

Camp VA07

Panel by panel we see the true extent of just how low homo sapiens have sunk on the food chain, the horror growing as the story unfolds. Jonathan Scott’s art skillfully uses light and colour to take us through this journey. From an Oklahoma musical paradise to a chasm of degradation. Bright fields, storm charged skies, dead artificial illumination.

Robin Jones’ letters perform the difficult task of delineating human speech from that of the aliens, which offsets the sensation that sometimes the aliens’ dialogue seems a little too human.

As well as very timely moral questions regarding our relations with nature the book also raises the question about just how far we would go to survive. How long would our profession of freedom and resistance survive when really tested? I’m looking forward to reading future issues of Camp VA07 to find out.

Camp VA07 will be coming out via Comichaus

You can find more of James McCulloch’s work on his website.

Have a look at more of Jonathan Scott’s work here.Rob Jones is on Twitter and you can check out his online portfolio.

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