Saturday, 2 October 2010

Review; CLiNT 2

It’s the second issue of Britain’s newest comic! CLiNT! My Dad’s generation had the Eagle (although I don’t think he read it. I think he was more into humour comics), I had 2000 AD and now my kids’ generation (if I had any) have CLiNT. Except, CLiNT isn’t very British. Even though the strips are written by British people most of them are drawn by Americans. Further more, most, if not all of the strips, are set in America. (I say ‘most’ only because I have absolutely no idea where Rex Royd is set… or about Rex Royd at all). CLiNT feels as British to me as Sky One’s output.

There’s a lot that’s good about CLiNT. The overall look is nice; it actually looks like a proper mag with all of the necessary production values. This issue’s feature content and design is an improvement on last month’s although the articles resist leaving the shallow end of the pool. (This is a shame as the piece on real life superheroes had mileage. I could have done without learning that Charlie Brooker was fifteen years old when he was selling strips to Oink, though? I’m older than Brooker and was pitching strips, unsuccessfully, to Oink at the time, as I do to other places to this very day. What grown man wouldn’t find being Top Trumped by a fifteen year old who goes on to marry Konnie Huq difficult?)

As I suspected would happen (aren’t I great?), Jonathan Ross’ Turf has been dropped to twelve pages because of the creators’ production rate. His writing has been stripped back, thank God. In fact, it’s a delight to see such a dramatic improvement between episodes. Tommy Lee Edwards’s art looks great reproduced at CLiNT’s larger size too. By contrast, the other celebrity strip, Frankie Boyle’s Rex Royd, slows the reading down thanks to the concise writing style and the hard to access story.

I’ve always believed that a successful anthology needs a single voice guiding it and CLiNT succeeds here. Mark Millar is all over it, almost certainly at least approving the features and writing most of the strips (re)printed within. If you don’t like Mark Millar’s work then you’re not going to like CLiNT. As it happens, I’ve always had a soft spot for him, ever since Saviour back in the very early nineties, and although I find his self promotion can be irksome at times I think he can still write a strong, provocative, pop comic strip despite one of his eyes always being on Hollywood. Whatever, you’ve gotta respect the man for trying to use his success to give something back the British comic industry.

Unlike the Eagle and 2000 AD, CLiNT’s comic strip content is made up mainly of reprints. Only Rex Royd (which could probably do with some editing) and Space Oddities (made from online posts from fans to Millar’s website) are produced especially for the magazine. Kick Ass 2, the lead strip, might be appearing here first in eight page instalments but it’s clearly been written as a twenty-four paged comic meant for the direct market. Like the magazine’s logo, designed to look less like the expletive the name CLiNT is often mistaken for in comic book lettering, reprinting material feels disappointingly cautious to me.

But the truth is that it’s great to be able to buy this much fun content from a newsagent at the very reasonable price of £3.99. There is only a limited amount of Millar owned work out there and I hope that the only way for the magazine to continue is to commission lots of original content by British creators. This is one good reason to wish CLiNT every success. Another is that it might encourage other publishers to produce even better comics for the newsagents with even more original content. Let’s hope so.

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