It shouldn’t be all work, work, work! Here’s some mud in yer eye!

You know what I’ve come to realise lately. I’m not reading hardly any new comics that I really want to read!

Yes I’m reading comics, but usually because it’s got something to do with work. Or I’m supporting a publication I work for, or want to work for. And yes I do enjoy them, but there is so much more out there to enjoy!

It’s time I started exploring the world of comics again. Not just devouring a Marvel Essential I got for Crimbo. I used to read loads of stuff. Small press, Indie, Comix, Graphic Novels (in the sense of the word. Not just trade paperback collections). European albums. Westerns, Noir, Sci-Fi, humour. Old comics, new comics, newspaper comic strips! I think you get the picture!

So this week I decided to get online and order some new titles. And first up I went for a new title by a creator I’m a big fan of. Paul Grist. I love Paul’s work and was first introduced to it by my brother who came home one afternoon with the first few issues of KANE, originally self published by Paul under the moniker of Dancing Elephant Press. Some of you may know Kane and one of his other characters Jack Staff are now published by indie comic big gun IMAGE COMICS.

I’ve got to say right off the bat that this was a great pick! The comic in question is MUDMAN #1.

Now if you’re already a fan of Paul’s work then you’re in familiar territory here, but it is no less refreshing to read. If you have never read a Paul Grist comic, then you’re in for a real treat.

I love the layouts in this book, typical Grist and wonderfully creative and in some cases stylishly minimalist. Easy to follow and accompanied by such natural dialogue, Mudman is a joy to read. It’s subtle, warm, charming and very british. I instantly liked the character Owen Craig, Mudman’s alter ego. I guess he’s the english seaside’s very own Peter Parker. Owen is very quickly thrown into a situation in issue 1, which sees him embrace his new found, but still misunderstood power. Donning a costume he discovers earlier in the book, we see him leap into action against a gunman. The issue leaves us with a fantastically intriguing cliffhanger. Much of the character of Mudman is still very much a mystery and I can’t wait read more. It’s good job I ordered issue 2 at the same time! As with a lot of Paul Grist’s work I can see some wonderful subplots are probably going to be weaved through this story, and I’m in no doubt we will be introduced to an interesting cast of supporting characters and villains. I highly recommended this comic if you’re looking for a fantastic, fun, fresh take on the superhero genre, check it out!

Mudman Artwork by Paul Grist © Image comics.

I also want to say that Paul Grist was and I guess still is incredibly inspirational to me. I took the plunge into self publishing around eight years ago, spurred on by the work of Paul and another indie unsung hero, Nabiel Kanan, whose comic, Exit I greatly enjoyed. See art below.

One day maybe I will return to self publishing. It is incredibly rewarding, not in monetary terms, but certainly artistically allowing a creator to truely express themselves with no restraints. I certainly didn’t produce anything close to what I believe I’m capable of as a creator at the time (2004). I’d like to see what I could dream up in the future. Maybe I will. and maybe I’d share it with you some day.

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