ALLEY CAT #1
Writer: Liam Dempsey
Art: Stephen Trumble
Matt C: There’s been a long tradition of talking animals in fiction, and the comic book medium is certainly no stranger to giving voice to anthropomorphised furry mammals. The projection of human characteristics and emotions onto anything with four-or-more legs remains enormously popular, and with the likes of Mouse Guard and Stuff Of Legend winning the approval of critics and fans alike recently, it's clear that there's still plenty of creativity being applied to the weird and wonderful creatures of the animal kingdom in comics. The possibilities are practically endless, whether utilizing sci-fi, satire, comedy and so forth, these fantasy tales can make us laugh, cry and even ponder the human condition.
So, onto Alley Cat, the first issue in a proposed series from Liam Dempsey and Stephen Trumble, who've been hawking their concept around various publishers with the view of reaching a wider audience. Set across three different times during the central character’s life, it utilizes three different art styles to evoke the state of mind the feline protagonist, Sparkle, during each period. That’s really the first thing that springs out of Alley Cat: the skill and versatility of Trumble, and how well his illustrations capture the emotions of each scene. ‘Before The Storm’, recounting Sparkle’s early years, goes for a children’s storybook approach, although with and added hint of menace. ‘The Storm’ has Sparkle as a vengeful creature of the night, dispensing her own brand of ‘justice’ to whomever dares to cross her path, and Trumble provides some edgier visuals to maximize the effect. ‘After The Storm’ scales things back, with simpler (though detailed) black and white linework, more reminiscent of the kind of thing you’d expect from an ‘indie’ comic. Taken altogether, and it’s proof positive of Trumble’s talent.
Dempsey doesn’t slouch on scripting duties though, bending his writing to fit the different tones required, and letting the artwork do the talking where necessary. The first couple of pages lead you to believe that vigilante superhero comics have been a major influence, but when we’re thrust into the past - and then into the future -it’s clear that plenty more sources have been absorbed to create Alley Cat.
It’s a strong debut, with undeniable potential to develop into something special, especially when you consider these guys have no experience in the industry (as far as I’m aware!). While they may be looking for major backing, my advice to them would be to get the book out there into the hands of comic fans any way they can. Things can snowball from there. 7/10
For further information, contact Liam here and Stephen here.