Briitsh onlince comics publisher Broken Voice Comics has just published Chapters 9 and 10 of its flagship title Shades on its website (www.brokenvoice.co.uk).
Written by David A J Berner, the new chapters of the comic continue BVC's timely examination of the characteristics and traits that have come to define the British national character and are the first to be illustrated by the new art team of E.C. Nickel and Muamal Khairi.
“The fact that its story is set in the UK means that Shades is able to re-examine the super hero genre in a way that US comics usually don't,” suggests Berner. “The conventions and norms of the genre are so well-established in the US mainstream that they often seem to be taken for granted or self-consciously spoofed.”
The first half of Shades (Chapters 1 - 8) was illustrated by Harsho Mohan Chattoraj and is available to read in its entirety online. It tells the story of retired tailor Stanley Miller as he attempts to reunite a group of faded British heroes - a group which includes a prehistoric shaman, a World War 2 fighter pilot and the First Century warrior queen Boudicca!
Covering some five centuries of British history, these opening chapters pitch this motley group against an evil mystic, a giant experimental super-bomber and a demonic serpent.
In the second half of the story (Chapters 9 - 16), the stakes are due to be raised even further, as our heroes are forced to confront a threefold threat to the nation.
The new art team for this part of the story comprises Brazilian artist E.C. Nickel (pencils and inks) and Indonesian colourist Muamal Khairi. The challenge for them was to retain something of the distinctive style set by Chattoraj while bringing something of their own to the title.
“Nickel and Qoiri are already doing a fantastic job,” says Berner. “Anyone familiar with their work will know they each have a distinctive style of their own but that they both share Harsho's love of detail and character.”
As for the future plot, Berner explains that readers can expect the action levels to increase significantly from here on in. “Shades was always designed to be a single-story graphic novel,” he says. “And so Chapters 9 - 16 will essentially be building towards the climax of that story.
“Without giving too much away, I can reveal that we'll be seeing a lot more of the bad guys in the new chapters. We'll be getting to understand just how they became the people they are and, as their evil plans unfold, you can be sure the action will start ratcheting up through the gears!”
Broken Voice Comics was founded in February 2006 by David Berner, formerly the Senior Editor of webcomic studio Midnite Comics which ceased operations at the end of 2005.
Since its official launch in March 2006, BVC has been the new home of Berner's own comic projects, notably his online graphic novel Shades and his two four-part fantasy mini-series, The Spires and Hunted. In addition, the site also hosts a small number of Guest Titles which initially comprised three titles previously featured at Midnite Comics (Rob Jones's Perfect Storm and two titles by E.C. Nickel, Immortality and The Long Vigil). More recently, the site has added Lee Munday's The Lumbering Dead to its line-up, as well as Thy Will Be Done, another title by E.C. Nickel, created in collaboration with Alexandre Lobao.
Established fan favourite G.A.A.K. by Darryl Hughes and Monique McNaughton is the most recent addition to the line-up.
• Shades is updated every Monday on the BVC web site. It is also serialised at the Graphic Smash (www.graphicsmash.com) and Drunk Duck (www.drunkduck.com) websites.
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