P M Buchan, co-creator of the 44FLOOD folk-horror comic-book series HERETICS, will release Chapter Three of his four-part Gothic-horror series with artist Karen Yumi Lusted, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, at True Believers Comic Festival this weekend, on Saturday 4 February 2017 in Cheltenham, UK. Featuring a love story for the ages about two lost souls damned to hell, and based on the John Keats poem of the same name, La Belle Dame Sans Merci is a contemporary exploration of the concept of the femme fatale.
The new 36-page chapter of the series, which has been recommended by The Times Literary Supplement, The Beat and Exquisite Terror, features pinups by Sally Jane Thompson (Fresh Romance, Atomic Sheep) and Luna-Razuli, with design by Michael Stock (HERETICS, The Kill Screen).
La Belle Dame Sans Merci has already inspired a short film by Mitsuko Studios, a soundtrack by composer Brendan Ratliff (aka Echolevel/Syphus), and a song by Oklahoma, US-based dark punk-rock band For the Wolf. The series previously featured colour work by Kate Brown (Young Avengers), an essay by feminist pop-culture blogger Miranda Brennan and pinups by Kate Holden (Fan Dan Go), Kate Ashwin (Widdershins) and Anna Fitzpatrick (Between Worlds).
Speaking of the comic, P M Buchan said: “Now that we’re approaching the end of La Belle Dame’s journey, it’s probably safe for me to confess that the plot was originally inspired by the Moors murders, carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. I’m not sure that anybody would have picked the first issue up if I’d been more explicit about this, but the idea of nature versus nurture is something that factors heavily into a lot of my writing, and I always wanted to apply that interest to the myth of the femme fatale.
“The femme fatale is one of the most striking tropes in film noir, but I’ve always felt like you could trace her back further, at least as far back as the poems of the Romantics. Historically women have been blamed for a great many of men’s weaknesses, but saying that something is true doesn’t necessarily make it so, and the idea that some people are born bad doesn’t sit well with me.”
Karen Yumi Lusted is the creator of Tommi C and the Cat Burglar, Final Blossom and Super Jax, as well as being a contributor to 1,000 Ideas by 100 Manga Artists. Her work has been published in SCREAM: The Horror Magazine, The Bleed, Leek and Sushi Waves and the Non-Repro Press J-Cult anthology.
P M Buchan is the co-creator of the 44FLOOD series HERETICS, featured in Kerrang! Magazine, BLACKOUT, Love Will Tear Us Apart and The Object of My Affection. His comics have been published in Starburst Magazine and SCREAM: The Horror Magazine, and he has written for Rue Morgue Magazine, Bleeding Cool and The Times Literary Supplement. For the last four years he has acted as a juror for the British Fantasy Society’s British Fantasy Awards.