13 Aug 2014

The Indie Club: FACTION #1-3

The Indie Club is an irregular feature where we take a closer look at any small press or self-published books that have crossed our path.

Writers: Various
Art: Various
3 Bad Monkeys $Various

Matt C: When considering thriving comics communities across the globe, I would imagine those of us in the Northern Hemisphere don’t really think to look towards the Antipodes for examples of four-colour creativity as a first port of call. The likes of Dylan Horrocks and Roger Langridge may have made names for themselves on both sides of the Atlantic put beyond that there aren’t many names that will ring bells for the common or garden fanboy. Which isn’t to say they’re not there, you just have to either know where to look for them, or at least be pointed in the right direction. Tim Gibson’s current digital series, Moth City, was an eye-opener for a number of reasons, and the colourized version of the Moth City prequel entitled 'The Reservoir' led me to this, Faction, an anthology series featuring work from some of the best Kiwi comics creators.

It’s worth remembering that New Zealand is the home of Weta Digital, which employs some of the finest digital animators in the business, and even without personally knowing the employment history of the various individuals presenting their work in the three volumes (so far) of Faction, I would say it’s highly likely a few of them have probably spent some amount of time at that effects house. Either way, it’s quite clear from the variety of different styles and storytelling techniques that there is an abundance of creativity Down Under and its unquestionably worth highlighting.

As always with anthology titles not everything hits its mark, but that’s often an issue of personal preference rather than something the writer/artist is doing wrong. I would say the hit rate is higher than a lot of anthologies I’ve looked at in the past, and there are certain shorts featured across the three books that really soar, whether it’s Damon Keen pre-empting Gravity with ‘One Giant Leap’, Katie O’Neill’s bleak but poignant apocalyptic tale ‘Don’t Let Go’, or Gibson’s aforementioned ‘The Reservoir’, just as impactful in the non-'Guided View' format.

There’s an enormous amount of talent on display, the majority of it from creators I’ve never heard of before, many of them exhibiting a great deal of potential, making me eager to see what else they’ve got up their collective sleeves. There’s clearly a thriving creative community in New Zealand and I do believe that, with the right exposure, several of the guys and gals presenting their wares here have the definite potential to go on to much bigger things in the future. The paper editions may be slightly cost-prohibitive to import but the digital versions are very, very reasonably priced and should be sought out by anyone who’s always on the lookout for something new. 8/10

Faction is available through its website or via Comixology.

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