zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Monday, September 28, 2009

Great Deeds Against The Dead


Great Deeds Against The Dead Issue 1

by Rob Jackson


robjacksoncomics great deeds 1

The first part of Jackson's new supernatural horror story two-parter is a  horror of the psychological kind rather than an all out gore-fest. Much the better type I've always found. And Jackson's creeping tale of lost love, old age and voices from beyond the grave works so much the better for it's low key stylings.

Tisdale Carnegie is an ageing artist seeking solitude and isolation following the death of his beloved wife, Eleanor. A suitable house is found, but it's a house with a past and old, dark secrets; something Carnegie discovers as he starts painting again and finds his new portrait of Eleanor talking to him. Is it his mind or is it the house or is it something more? It leaves Carnegie in even worse shape than he was when he moved in, teetering on the verge of madness, which is when his agent comes round to collect a couple of signatures. Events seem to be conspiring against the agent, and a storm traps him overnight in a house that seems intent on driving him away. It seems there's something very, very wrong with Carnegie's house.

Rob Jackson 1

(See, there's definitely something wrong with the house. From Rob Jackson's Great Deeds Against The Dead.)

From here it all gets creepier and darker. The agent meets a couple of Psychic Adventurers in the village pub who are looking into the house;  describing it as "mentioned many times in the dark literature of the supernatural". Meanwhile Carnegie's paintings are talking to him again, confusing him, telling him that his agent's been ripping him off, explaining how there's an angelic lawyer waiting to take up his case against the agent. And all they need's a bowler hat to get started. Yes. A bowler hat:

Rob Jackson 2

(Avoiding the heaven question and requesting the bowler hat; could it be that Carnegie's Eleanor isn't all she seems?)

So, what's the voice that Carnegie's hearing? – It might be Eleanor or not, but it's very doubtful that the voice is a heavenly one. In fact, all the clues are pointing down instead of up. And what's the secret of the house? Where do our psychic adventurers end up? Questions questions. No more answers from me. Go and read it yourself – there's nasty goings on and a mysterious appearance at the very end that will need answering in part two.

Rob's pulled off a very nice psychological supernatural tale here. The dark doings are dark indeed, and there's some clever subtle moments in the story and the art all the way through. You know it's going to be good when the first page sets it all up so well (below) when Rob perfectly runs through the events of Carnegie's life up to moving in, portraying the grief, loss and confusion of Carnegie as life just begins to rush past, with him standing as the confused observer:


(First page of Great Deeds Against The Dead by Rob Jackson – very nicely summarises events and sets up what is to come.)

All in all it's a very impressive first issue and I'll be looking forward to the second issue to find out exactly what's going on. And maybe I'll find out what the bubble gum machine thing on the cover is as well?

Also included is a 8 pager; Colonial Amusements which starts out as a travelog strip like Jackson's done in the past but, if I'm reading it right, goes somewhere far sadder and darker. And there's a nice, light "Why I Draw Comics" single pager in colour on the back.

Great Deeds Against The Dead issue 1 is probably the nicest and most enjoyable of Jackson's works I've seen so far. Get it from Rob Jackson's website shop.

Richard Bruton.

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