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Saturday, 24 March 2012

In Review: Jennifer Wilde Issue 1

Set in 1921 Jennifer Wilde is the Eagle Award nominated lightly supernatural title from Atomic Diner, written by Maura McHugh, illustrated by Stephen Downey and based on a plot by Maura McHugh and Robert Curley.

Jennifer Chevalier is an artist based in Paris who is visited there by her father. As Jennifer walks to the restaurant the next day to meet him for lunch, she discovers that he has been knocked down by a car and killed. While the French police accept this as an accident, Jennifer believes that he may have been pushed. Visiting her father's hotel room she discovers more about her father than she ever knew before - secrets that her mother had kept from her - including his male lover.

Dublin's Atomic Diner Comics have been putting out a selection of US format comics that in the last year or so have included the WWII team title The League Of Volunteers and the Victorian horror title Roisin Dubh.

The supernatural part of the Jennifer Wilde plot is that Jennifer sees ghosts and this is presented in such a matter-of-fact way that it does not strain the reader's credulity. Jennifer's ghost partner is the Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde, who died in Paris in 1900, who joins her because her dead father's locket, as shown on the front cover, contains a picture of him as well as Jennifer. Stephen Downey uses a much more pencil-like style when drawing the spectral Wilde as opposed to the harder blacks that he uses for his living characters.

A letter to her father from London and written in Gaelic intrigues Jennifer and sets her and Wilde off to London to investigate. Quite where the story is leading plot wise I'm not sure, but that is a good thing as it makes me want to read on. Geographically the plot is heading from France to England and apparently onwards to Ireland at a time when the region that is now the Republic Of Ireland was separating itself from the rest of the United Kingdom and was about to descend into civil war.

To describe Jennifer Wilde as Adele Blanc-Sec meets Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) is an apt, if somewhat brutal, description of what is a lovingly crafted comic. Maura McHugh's script mixes intrigue, scandal and the supernatural in fairly equal measures which, along with Stephen Downey's moody artwork, makes sure that I am already looking forward to future issues.

There are more details of Jennifer Wilde on the title's website

There are details of other Atomic Diner titles on their website.

There are more details of Maura McHugh's work on her
website.

There are more details of Stephen Downey's work on his
website.

Maura McHugh will be appearing as a guest at the
Hi-Ex comics convention in Inverness on Saturday 31 March and Sunday 1 April 2012.

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