By Chris Tresson
I’m dipping my toes in that big ol’ indie review pool again, this time I’m taking a look at Treves: A Restless Night by writer Tom Ward and artist Luke Parker. Now, I realised something when I decided to read and review this book: There’s a good chance that the majority of you who have come to see what’s been reviewed on Comic Bastards today are going to have absolutely no fucking idea what this book or the story it’s connected to is. I accept that. I’m going to try and bring you up to speed...
Tom and Luke created a comic called Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman and I ripped this from the Merrick website to save myself some time trying to explain it… Here’s what Tom Ward can tell you about Merrick in his own words:
Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman is a Victorian adventure/horror/cape gaslamp comic set in 1880s' London. Based on a fictional version of the life of Joseph Merrick, it steps between historical facts and turn of the century folklore juxtaposed with the American superhero comic conventions of super powers, masks, secret identities and fantastic adventures.
This is going pretty badly. Download issue one of Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman here, read it and come back. I’ll just be here bangin’ my head on this desk for a bit…
You’re back! (I’m assuming you read it!) It’s pretty good, yeah? In that issue you’ve just read, you saw Fredrick Treves. This book which I’m reviewing is set before he meets Merrick, and is based loosely on a story taken from one of Treves’s journals which details his travels through India and his first encounter with the weird shit going on in the world. That’s probably the longest introduction to a comic review I’ve ever written, haha. Here’s what I thought.
I really liked this book; the quality on show is refreshing and for a change, when opening an indie title, I felt like I was reading something completely different. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure about it before deciding to review it, mainly because I didn’t want to be dropped into a world I knew hardly anything about, but I soon found that I didn’t really need to know everything about this world to read it. It works well as a standalone book and can be read without having read anything that has come before. I’m really intrigued by the world Ward and Parker have created in the series. It seems vast and full of potential, with a lot of different avenues and stories that could be told. If you’re into your occult stuff and history, you’ll more than likely enjoy what’s on offer here.
It feels a lot like a Mignola book and Parker’s art reinforces that opinion for me. His style is right up there with the big man. It’s simplistic, but it works so well to give the book that certain feeling it needs to stand out. I’m sure he’s had the comparison before now. There’s a few silent pages where Luke Parker really gets to shine and tell parts of the story with his art, though the pages with dialogue don’t feel overburdened with text, so really, the art shines throughout. I was very impress by the art overall and I absolutely love Parker’s coloring in it; it’s probably some of the nicest I’ve seen in indie books and it really makes the art look fantastic. I’m a sucker for the dark and the weird, so this book was right up my street.
I would recommend purchasing this book and also the four issues of Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman that are currently available. The lads are currently funding the second arc of Merrick on Kickstarter and it’s fully funded but I’d suggest going and pledging to it. £7 ($8.74) will get you digital copies of everything, so it’s well worth it! Be quick, though… The kickstarter finishes soon.
Treves: A Restless Night (One-Shot)
Writer: Tom Ward
Artist: Luke Parker