Samuel Hickson’s Liquid Realm
I have to thank Samuel Hickson. His story Nigel, Guru of the Suburbs gave me my biggest laugh in weeks. If you are a middle aged man having a mid-life crisis and thinking of moving to India, opening a small shop selling craft beers or guitars, or starting a podcast (or indeed a comic review website) then you owe it to yourself to read the last panel in this story.
I’m not going to spoil any of the gags here but the two volumes of Liquid Realm that I reviewed were full of smartly crafted and usually very funny tales like that of Nigel. A build up that takes the story in one direction, with a pay off that skewers the clichéd, the boring and the pretentious.
Do the good guys always win? No, probably because the good guys usually don’t win and they are only good guys in their own heads anyway. Should a young man working in a factory while he prepares for university take revenge on his proletarian tormentors with a giant robot suit? I mean, sounds like he was a prick and he deserved a bit of tormenting?
Liquid Realm has a real underground feel but with roots in the indie comics that companies like Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly put out. Dan Clowes’ Eightball would certainly be a reference point, both the satirical elements but also the weird and disturbing likes of Velvet Glove Cast in Iron which has echoes in the story Nightmare Tory Hellscape.
There are tributes to Robert Crumb with his Keep on Truckin’ becoming a more British Keep on Ploddin’. The second issue has something of Jaime Hernandez about it. Lots of black out and good use of negative space, especially in the story 8 O’Clock Rot.
The UK needs more comics like Liquid Realm and Mat Greaves’ Blat. It could be a new underground comics renaissance, or some pretentious old twaddle like that!
You can order copies of Liquid Realm here.