Monday 1 February 2016

Panel No.28: Cry Havoc

SNEAK PREVIEW EXCLUSIVE! The Cartoon & Comic Book Tour Of London blog usually appears as a series on The Daily Constitutional(the London Walks blog) and is then collated here on this standalone blog. But for Panel 28 I'm breaking with tradition for an outstanding new London-set comic book Cry Havoc.

For a post on how the Cartoon & Comic Book London blog first came about, click HERE.

Thanks for reading!

ASG London, 1st Feb 2016


Daily Constitutional editor Adam continues his Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London

Panel 28: Cry Havoc

This Cartoon & Comic Book London blog sometimes takes on a life of its own. Time after time I sit down to blog about one subject only for another to elbow its way in and take over.

"Events, dear boy, events," to borrow from the quote often attributed to former Prime Minister Harold MacMillan.

(MacMillan was on my mind as I've been making notes for a post on political cartoons in readiness for the mayoral election later this year. The idea of Prime Minister as failed superhero starts in the UK with MacMillan in 1958, from the pen of London Evening Standard cartoonist Vicky

I'll be back to both Mac and Vicky at a later date.)

The post originally intended for this slot featured what is rapidly becoming a running theme in this series – Big Ben.

The world's most famous clock has chimed in on no less than EIGHT different cartoons/comic books so far – Deadpool & SpidermanThe Fantastic FourScooby Doo, three different Disney films and Kieron Gillen's Über.

The clock was due to strike nine in my assessment of the view from Diana Prince's new flat – she seems to have moved into County Hall, SE1…

… in DC's Wonder Woman The New 52 (visit the DC website HERE or pick up a copy at Orbital Comics on Great Newport Street WC2).

Yup, Wonder Woman's a Londoner now. I wonder if she pays the Congestion Charge in her invisible plane or if she just tosses the fines in the bin like the American ambassador?

Anyhoo… I'm holding the Wonder Woman post over until a later date but although the post has changed, the clock remains the same.


There it is again, ol' Big Ben

… on the cover of the outstanding new book Cry Havoc written by Simon Spurrier and drawn by Ryan Kelly. (Variant cover shown is by Cameron Stewart).

It's unfair to pass judgement after just one issue, but on the evidence here we're in for a white-knuckle ride with Cry Havoc.

This first episode is a fireworks display of great storytellingliterary and mythology references and exceptionally strong artwork. A particular nod goes to the colourists - Nick FilardiLee Loughridge and Matt Wilson. With the tale unfolding along three separate strands, each colourist creates a unique feel in their particular storyline.

The title refs Shakespeare; it is part set in London. It's got music in it (and a serious contender for the best comic book band name of all time – The Squids of Forbearance!). The narrative features supernatural creatures and the fantastic line, "I think I got mugged by a werewolf". AND there's a black ops mercenary mission behind the lines in Afghanistan.

Seriously. What's not to like?

Cry Havoc has particular resonance for this blogger as it features a location from one of my London Walks walking tours – Ghosts of the Old City. More, it features a direct reference to one of the London legends explored on the tour, that of the Black Dog of Newgate Prison.

I've visited the Old Bailey, on the site of Newgate prison, before in this series (in Panel No.14V For Vendetta) and that location features prominently in issue one of Cry Havoc. Artist Ryan Kelly has made some excellent choices in terms of angles on this famous London landmark. Big Ben doesn't make it into the narrative this time, but is deployed as an excellent setting device on the variant cover and London Zoo features, too.

But the London location I've chosen from issue one is Dalston.

Our contemporary comic book writers and artists are really putting our less glamourous neighbourhoods on the map (see earlier post, Panel No.10 on Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's The Wicked + The Divine set in Brockley).

Here's Dalston's debut in Cry Havoc, I'm loving the hipster gag…

… and Spurrier also adds some pithy comments about gentrification in his annotations.

Issue One is hanseled by a quote from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. And just like Conrad's tale, Cry Havoc opens in a seemingly familiar, almost reassuring London, only to quickly unfold into an unsettling, and thoroughly engrossing world of imagination.

We Londoners are spoiled at the moment for great London-set comics – the aforementioned WikDiv, the adaptation of Rivers of London and Metroland to name but three. 

Taxi to Metropolis? Gotham City? At this time o' night, guv'nor? You're 'avin a laugh, intcha? Cry Havoc is yet another reason to never leave London. Can't wait for issue 2.

Issue 2 of Cry Havoc is out in February, published by Image Comics.

*This post will go out on the Daily Constitutional on the 2nd February 2016

Coming soon on The Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London… Vicky, Wonder Woman, Gillray and Comix Creatrix at the House of Illustration. 

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