Clodagh issue 1
Written by Simon Birks, with art by Willi Roberts and letters by Rob Jones.
An evil witch brings terror to a small town nested somewhere in the wilderness. With a thirst for eyes and driven by unrelenting hatred she uses fear as a weapon. Not just fear of her, but fear of outsiders, whom she cunningly blames for the evil that she herself has wrought.
Simon Birks tale of the ex-warrior Clodagh who takes up arms for a town that would rather blame her for their misfortunes, strikes a familiar chord in an age where ethnic nationalism and fear perpetuates divide-and-rule and dictates political outcomes across the globe.
With echoes of folk horror, tales of Baba Yaga and the Brothers Grimm; Clodagh also has clear fantasy and sword and sorcery elements. It will be interesting to see how the balance between these is handled as the series progresses.
An outstanding element of Clodagh is the art of Willi Roberts. There is a touch of Steve Dillon about his art which can be seen in the diverse and expressive faces which, even in crowd scenes, avoid seeming too similar. Individuals like the Minister are imbued with real personality.
The wilderness that surrounds the unfortunate town in Clodagh is almost another character in the book. Willi Roberts depicts the misty hills and forests wonderfully with washes of eerie green and yellow colour that heighten the sense of danger.
That eldritch aesthetic is also reflected in the lettering of Rob Jones. The witches’ speech balloons are coloured in a sickly yellow and a sense of their menacing speech is conveyed by the rough border of the balloon as well as the jagged edges of the letters themselves.
This opening issue pleasingly sets up a number of questions that we look forward to being answered in the rest of the series. Who is Clodagh and what is her relationship with the witch (or witches)? What do the eye guzzling crones really want? I look forward to finding out.
Clodagh is published by Blue Fox Comics. The series will be published in five issues and be released in a collected edition late in 2021.