Bloody hell, I’m an editor now! I’ve had many ambitions in life, but this actually wasn’t one of them. But there it is, writ large on paper so I can prove it. And not just an editor, the editor-in-chief no less! So how, you might ask, did that happen?
I could talk for hours about that, but it’s just back story now. The nub of it is simple though: I missed comics like the ones I grew up admiring. I missed Corben doing his bald nudies with fearless, overblown magical-realism in “Den”. I missed Moebius’ humorous, dream-tapping “Arzach”, his reality hopping astral adventuring in “Airtight Garage”. Druillet’s preposterous, overblown space/time/mind operatics in “Yragael Urm” and “Lone Sloane: Delirious”. I missed unfettered, unburdened creativity in both the art and the writing. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t always clear what the narrative thrust was, or even what the hell the author was talking about, you just knew that it mattered enormously to them. It was bursting with passion and energy. It was, you knew, genuinely a reflection of them on the paper. And in that sense it was art. It wasn’t done for money. THAT’S the nub.
What you hold in your hands is a rarity. Nothing printed here was commissioned or paid for, it was done for the thrill of it because that’s what we do, and what we would do regardless. Be it written word, illustration, comic narrative - we can’t help ourselves! It’s who we are. Thankfully, no matter what current markets might dictate, there are creative people who remain renegade, visionary. True to themselves, not adhering to the rules, the regulations, the requirements of commerciality. I realised that I never got into comics for that. I got into it to retain my individuality! To be free from the constraints of normal society, and do my own thing regardless! I saw comics as a creative playground of endless possibility in which it might be possible to explore myself, my dreamscapes, my ability, the limits of my imagination – and my daring. I ended up, somewhat perplexingly, in the mainstream.
So realising this, somewhat deep into my career, I thought I’d better do something about it, and I found myself motivated by a group of mostly unknown, incredibly talented people who felt the same way. I then found out that many known creators harboured similar ideals they had long wished to explore. And so Mam Tor Publishing was very quickly born to accommodate us. What is it that makes “Event Horizon” special, other than the fact it was carved out of thin air and love?
Let’s look at some of it, in no particular order: Ali Pow3rs and Sam Araya’s “Wormcast” is a deep, trance-like sci-fi meditation on globalisation, nano-technology and time. It’s like jazz in comic form, asking many questions and requiring some thought. It’s not easy, and it plays with your ability to scan, think in ways not associated with regular comics. It’s an oddity, but it’s somehow beautiful. Dave Kendall and Brian Holguin’s “Rumours of Ragnorak: Sea and Thunder” is a wonderful riff on Moby Dick, but with Thor and the Midgard Serpent taking center stage. It’s classical in approach, epic in scale, and stunningly visualised and told. And Thor isn’t given his name once. It’s up to us to understand who he is, to have a certain level of sophistication and knowledge. Emma Simcock-Tooth brings gothic opulence and fine art sensibilities. Her oil paintings are wonderfully staged, near photographic works. Her writing is both ethereal and personal. Kev Crossley brings his special brand of fearless mayhem to bear in “Dragonfly”. Bagwell impresses in his sheer attention to detail, his obvious love of the material, the genre and the medium.
I can’t go through each one, but you get the picture: All the text stories have something unexpected. All the illustrations have something unique and inspired. And it’s all wrapped in Tom Muller’s innovative design aesthetic! I don’t expect you to like it all, that’s the nature of an anthology. But you may find, as I have, that often it’s the work you least like at the start that lingers in your memory.
“Mam Tor: Event Horizon” was made for people like you, now holding this book. People who don’t follow trends, fashions, what it is dictated they SHOULD follow. People prepared to work for their rewards. I hope you have found it bountiful in that regard, and that you continue to support us through all our future publications.
Thank you. We appreciate it.
Originally Appeared in Mam Tor: Event Horizon Book 2