The Heady Aroma of Comics

That Comic Smell Comic 2

That Comics Smell issue 2 cover
That Comics Smell issue 2

It’s been a little while since I cranked up the keyboard to review some comics. But what better way to reinvigorate your love of comics than to review this book. The That Comic Smell team of David Robertson, Mike Sedakat, Tom Stewart and Nando are comic creators and podcasters who have an intense love of the comics medium. 

The second volume of their anthology comic features contributions from all the TCS team alongside fellow Dundee comics doyen Olivia Hicks plus (in a shocking expansion outside of their Tayside redoubt) pennedguinologist Alan Henderson contributing several pages.

The book has a vibe of its own – there are elements of classic British comics like The Beano (must be in the Dundonian water) and Viz Comic but there is also a strong indy comic influence reminiscent of the likes of James Kochalka.

It is a packed book with no less than 14 individual strips many in full colour. Mike Sedakat’s spectacular cover features a dinosaur fighting a giant gorilla on a motorbike as a city burns in the background. I would say this sets the tone, but I’m not sure anything could really live up to that.

Jeff Lynne explains Xanadu by Olivia Hicks and David Robertson
Jeff Lynne explains Xanadu by Olivia Hicks and David Robertson

Highlights for me include Olivia Hicks and David Robertson taking an imaginative look back at classic Olivia Newton John movie Xanadu through the eyes of ELO legend Jeff Lynne who provided the music. Like 99% of the population I know the song but could not face the movie. This is a case of ‘print the legend’, in fact write the legend then print it. David does a nice job with composition of panels here and choice of colours. Disturbingly, I kinda want to watch Xanadu now. 

Alan Henderson contributes several strips my favourite of which is One Liners in which a tale is told in one continuous pen line which makes up four panels. Simple, brilliant and pure comics. 

That dinosaur/gorrilla battle returns in Mike Sedakat’s Loki and Lisa. This strip would almost fit nicely in a 70’s British girls comic with its tale of school bullies, magic and norse gods. Hopefully D.C Thompson will resurrect Mandy and publish this immediately.

Loki and Lisa by Mike Sedakat
Loki and Lisa by Mike Sedakat

Tom Stewart’s strip Perception is a stoner reflection on colour, physics, reality and life. We’ve all had this conversation. Usually in the wee small hours of the morning in a smoky room, and, perhaps fortunately, we tend to forget what we rambled about the next day.

The strip Kobe and I is contributed by Nando and as you might guess is a biographical tale of the basketball legend. It has an attractively spare line style and some nice use of panels especially the final six as a bouncing basketball comes to a halt.

Kobe and I by Nando

The That Comic Smell Comic 2 is filled with the spirit of indy comics. Nobody here is trying to get a Netflix series – although surely The Owl and the Pussycat in Space must have potential! 

That Comic Smell Issue #2 by That Comic Smell Podcast (David Robertson, Fernando Pons, Mike Sedakat & Tom Stewart) and guests (Alan Henderson; Olivia Hicks)


On sale now at

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