Way back in time, the main staple of comic books were the anthologies. These books would have a number of shorter stories, featuring a diverse set of characters. From these types books many a hero was born. Over here in the UK, we have probably the best known of anthology books with 2000A.D, which recently celebrated its 2000th issue. Anthologies are a great way for creators to get their wares out, to focus on the need for tight storytelling, due to the shorter page count. It’s like a smash and grab style that should leave the reader wanting more.
In that vein, Chapterhouse Publications second issue of True Patriot Presents hits the racks. Here is the bang you get for your buck:-
Crude:- “Tale from the Pond (w) Fred Kennedy; (a) Dave Bishop; (c) Sigmund Tore
First up a story that is one of the most used in comic book transformation, with similarities from across a number of comic characters from Swamp Thing, the Joker and to some extent Spider-Man. Jessie Schurr sneaks into a restricted lab, is shot and then dumped in a pond of industrial goop. If you can’t guess what happens next, then you don’t deserve to be reading comic books!
Fred Kennedy writes in a standard format way. What gives him an edge, is the setting of the majority of the tale. Using a dinner and a recounting style, allows Kennedy to edge the reader along the story, which is important as the actual story isn’t the most original idea. Kennedy also recognises the limitations of his setting, his characters being self-aware enough to comment “this is where I can give you a first hand reference”.
Dave Bishop is on art duties and like the writing, it’s quite a standard fare. That’s not to say it’s not enjoyable, it’s just pretty standard. There are some good camera angles on show, which shows that Bishop has an eye for storytelling. Bishop’s work is helped by the colors of Sigmund Tore who looks like he had a lot of fun with the title character and in fact, goes a long way to giving the story a professional feel.
Domininon Jack:- “Mob Mentality” (part one); (w) Jack Briglio; (a) Dominic Bercier
Every good superhero needs a good super villain and in the opening salvo of this story, Dominion Jack potentially meets his. With powers similar to his own, Jack’s long-time dead friend Andy is back. Along for the ride is a mob of angry spirits controlled by Andy all of whom want revenge on Jack.
Jack Briglio has a different problem than the previous stories writer. Billed as part one, Briglio needs to grab the reader’s attention, pique their interest as boom, after four pages or so its “to be continued” time. In this respect Briglio does well; I am curious as to how this plays out with the once friends now becoming the best of enemies.
The art by Dominic Bercier is not my type of art at all. That said, variety is the spice of life. Comparison wise, I can see a little of Cam Kennedy in the mix with maybe a little less structure. Artists need to match the book/story that they are working on, so despite the art being not quite my cup of tea, it does in fact fit the story stylings with the after life and spirit shenanigans going on.
Arrowhead:- “Phase 1.5: Totally Shot” (w & a) Jay Stephens
Jay Stephens is the writer/artist/creator for the third story. Arrowhead is a 1950’s techno suit found by a couple of kids. As this chapter unfolds, there is an assassin, a group of possible government spooks and of course the suit. The writing has a comedic feel to it, which caught me a little unawares, in a good way. The works with the story, with a Mike Parobeck vibe that works with some of the kooky script elements, which seems like an homage to those many failed attempts by groups like A.I.M to rule the world from the 70’s comics.
When checking out an indie book like this, it is massively important to keep an open mind. The stories may not be the most original and the art may not be what you are used to, but these creators are pouring the their heart and souls into the books. Recognize their strengths, where they can improve and enjoy the ride with them as they work on crafting their storytelling skills.
Written by Jack Briglio, Fred Kennedy, Jay Stephens
Art by Dominic Bercier, D.A. Bishop, Jay Stephens
Colored by Dominic Bercier, D.A. Bishop
Cover by Jay Stephens
Lettered by D.A. Bishop, Jay Stephens
Edited by J. Torres, Tony White
Publisher ChapterHouse Comics
Get your copy on comiXology HERE