1989: Stormwatcher

Stormwatcher (1989) #1-4 by Ian Abbinett, Alan Cowsill, Andrew Currie et al.

What’s this then?

Ah, it’s another British import. It’s “published” by Acme Press, but “released” by Eclipse.

And it’s a comedy barbarian thing. The artwork’s pretty good, although the artist only puts in background in every nineteenth panel.

The plot is a classic: An old guy has to get the old gang together to fight … something… So he leaves and goes on a quest to gather all the people. It’s an old trope and it’s an old-fashioned way to introduce the characters… but if you’re doing a four issue series, the danger is that the series will be over by the time you’ve got all the characters together, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen here.

I’m guessing (based on the humour) that the writers are very young. I mean, it’s not wince inducing or anything, but it’s all pretty obvious.

The artwork’s pretty accomplished, though, so perhaps he’s more experienced?

“A second issue to fill…”

The (British) editor explains that, indeed, the authors are young, but so is the artist? And this was originally going to be published by Harrier Comics in the UK, but they eventually passed on it, which is why it ended up at Eclipse.

And the first issue was rewritten and redrawn? Then I’m curious as to what the second issue looks like…

A Dave Sim joke: Very of its time. And “I went to this nightclub with a blonde” is probably not what he’d say today.

Hey! The artwork in the second issue doesn’t look any worse than the first issue. In some ways it’s better? It has more of a scratchy organic feel to it. Still no background, though.

While the writing on the first issue (which is apparently the newest one) was clear and concise, this issue is (story wise) a bit of a mess. And the writing is just so… choppy. Things happen without much structure and it’s hard to remain interested. If the first issue was even more messy, I can see why they redid it.

And the humour is even younger.

We were promised (in the first issue) back-up features that would explore the characters more in depth, but instead we get a something by Carl Stevens, Jacob Monroe and Mr. Kurtz, allegedly. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the main feature, I think, but it’s hard to tell, because it’s more concerned with doing schtick than a story. Which is fine by me.

But Dave Sim and an aardvark does make an appearance here, so… er… So there.

They try for a madcap pile-on humour effect, but none of the jokes are that good. It feels like a fanzine piece.

We’re promised a new concept in graphic novels… a hardback 32 page comic book for $6. I think Acme/Eclipse managed to get two of these out? We’ll be covering them later in the blog series, of course.

Suddenly, near the end of the third issue, the artist discovers Richard Corben, and everything starts looking distinctly as if he’s just tracing old Den stories.

That jumping pose is a classic Den pose.

Well, that’s odd, but if you’re going to rip somebody off, I mean develop artistically by absorbing the influence of others, you could do worse than Corben.

The fourth issue is mostly fight scenes, so having Currie draw them as if he were Corben is rather nice.

The Harrier editor drops by to explain why they didn’t publish Stormwatcher: They tried, but after soliciting the first issue, they got less than 1600 copies ordered. The weird thing is that they say that that would still not be losing money for them.

Currie gets some nice dusty, shadowy effects going on in the final issue, which ends just after they’ve gathered all the gang, and nothing much is accomplished.


The backup story ends in a similar manner, but slightly funnier.

So this is a comic by young comics makers, and it’s not successful, but I’ve certainly read a lot worse comics. It’s got charm.

Andrew Currie is still working in comics and looks to be very successful.

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