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Gareth Brookes' Comics
gulagcomics
I recently traded a bunch of my comics with Gareth Brookes, who has been self-publishing comics on the UK Small Press scene since 2005.

He very generously sent me a stack of 5 books in the post, and the first one I read was 'The Smell of the Wild'

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This is a tiny and very charmingly illustrated little comic-zine, filled with Gareth's romantic, wistful poetry about the birds, beasts, flora, and fauna that make up our beautiful British countryside. My favourite poem (or perhaps stanza, I'm not sure if they're intended as a complete work or not) is the first one, which I'll take the liberty of quoting here;

The power of gods and men combine
To form the poets crafted rhyme
The poet pens another verse
O watch the cares of men disperse!

Next in the bundle was 'The Black Project 1'; an altogether darker, more sombre book. This comic tells the tale of a young chap who decides to combat his teenage loneliness by constructing a girlfriend out of craft materials and other bits that come into his possession. For me, there was quite a sinister undercurrent beneath the story. The ending was actually quite shocking, and Gareth really managed to convey his narrator's feelings.

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Finally I came to the trio of 'Man Man and Friends' comics...

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These were really funny, and a huge departure from the past two books I'd read. Using simple drawings and stick figures, Gareth cracks jokes about the meaningless absurdity that punctuates our day to day existence. The sense of humour, and the subject matter, reminded me somewhat of Matt Groening's 'Life in Hell' strips - though Brookes' sense of humour is frequently more sarcastic and cynical.

Gareth Brookes' comics are available from his website, which can be found here.

http://www.appallingnonsense.co.uk/about.html

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