By Chris Tresson
In the British small press, there’s a lot of people self-publishing work, but I can probably count on one hand the amount of them actually doing a good job of trying to get their work noticed and actively seeking out new readers… Self-promotion (or "The Hustle" as I like to call it) is key to success in any creative field, but I see a lot of guys and girls putting stuff out, mentioning it once, then sitting back expecting people to just fall over it… If you asked me to name creators doing things right, the lads from Madius Comics would more than likely be the first creators I think of.
They are self-promoting machines and I’m constantly seeing them put in the work on social media to let people know they’re making books. If you’re creating books in the small press, go and follow their social media accounts, you might learn a thing or two.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll move on to the book I’m about to tell you about…
Laudanum is a one-shot horror story set in Victorian times and is the next piece in this creative team’s series of books which they call Tragic Tales of Horrere. It may be a short one with only 13 pages of story, but it’s quite a nice little horror story about the love between a husband and wife and what happens when one has become a victim of demonic possession… If you aren’t familiar with any of these dudes, this could be a good point to start getting familiar with them…
Reading through, the story is fairly light on dialogue but I think that works to its advantage, it gives the artist a chance to tell the story visually; allowing the art to breathe rather than bogging you down in overly verbose captions or dialogue that aren’t necessary to create the atmosphere... because of this, artist Alisdair Wood really shines here. His artwork is all black and white, and in a style that is uniquely his own. There are some great panels, and overall, it’s all laid out pretty well. I flew through this story but I went back and looked through the art again and spent some time really soaking it up… It’s a beautiful book and you really can’t complain, especially when the price of the book is only £2.00.
In terms of self-published/Indie books, this really does look like a high quality product and you should probably check it out purely because of that. The production and design of the book is as impressive as the story is. For those of you with your interest piqued, Laudanum will be available at this year’s Thought Bubble Festival (in Leeds, UK) from either Rob Jones and Michael Sambrooke at the Madius Comics table (186-187a in New Dock Hall) or from artist Alisdair Wood’s Horrere table (table 80 in the ComiXology Marquee.)
Also, whilst I’m writing this, you can check out Tragic Tales of Horrere #1, the first book from this creative team and others for free here. It’s free at that link until Tuesday morning (Greenwich Mean Time), so grab it quickly! If you like your horror comics, you’ll more than likely enjoy Laudanum, and you can check out their first book for free before you decide to take a punt on this one. I’d say fuck it and just buy it anyway without reading the free book because it’s well worth the price of admission.
Tragic Tales of Horrere Presents: Laudanum
Writers: Rob Jones and Michael Sambrook
Artist: Alisdair Wood
Publisher: Little O/Madius Comics