Written by an Ulster man living in Scotland, drawn by an English woman, published by a Canadian company and set in small town America, Turning Tiger is quite the international collaboration. Originally published as a two issue mini-series, it has now been collected into a Special Edition and bolstered with a selection of extras.
Three fighting robots have been created for the US military which their scientist creator thinks of as her children but the general in charge of the project thinks of as tools. During their first, initially successful, live weapons test, one of the robots, JEN, stops and then flies away from the test range and abducts Sarah, a young girl who has just survived a car accident. Having been taken into the woods by the robot, Sarah discovers that JEN wants to play with her.
Writer Richmond Clements takes a concept that could so easily have been just a big robot story and gives it a tweak that turns it into something much more. The concept of how the robot and child react to, and then interact with, each other becomes the core of the story leaving the reader with a touching if somewhat unusual story of sibling love. While it feels short for an American style offering, if this had have been presented as a European style book then it would probably be just the right length.
Alex Moore's slightly stylised artwork works well with both the robots and the characters while her character designs page at the end of the book shows just how far the robots came from her original design concept for them. The selection of pin-ups at the end of the book gives her the chance to have a little fun with the characters and if anything I prefer the tongue-in-cheek illustration of the robot playing softball with Sarah using a tree stump as a bat to the one that was used on the front cover.
Richmond Clements is a familiar name in the small press comics scene in the UK and is well known for writing for and editing a number of titles, including the A4 anthology Futurequake and the A5 2000AD zine Zarjaz, as well as organising the Hi-Ex comics convention in Inverness with Vicky Stonebridge. Alex Moore on the other hand is relatively new to comics having previously worked as a story board artist but, based on this offering, I would be interested to see more of her work and she is currently working on The Liberty graphic novel written by GM Jordan for Markosia.
Turning Tiger is a story that could so easily have been a Transformers movie style shoot-em-up but overcomes all initial assumptions to be a nicely touching character piece.
There are more details of Turning Tiger on the Renegade Arts Entertainment website including details of how to purchase e-copies.
There are more details of Richmond Clements' work on his blog.
There are more details of Alex Moore's work on her website.
Richmond Clements, Alex Moore and Renegade Arts Entertainment will be attending the Hi-Ex comic convention in Inverness this weekend, Saturday 31 March and Sunday 1 April 2012.
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