Friday 28 September 2018

ReaditDaddy's YA / Adult Comic of the Week - Week Ending 28th September 2018: "Crowded: Issue 1" by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Triona Farrell and Rachel Stott (Image Comics)

This week's Comic of the week is strictly for YA / Grown-ups but it's a whip-smart slice of brilliance I really don't want you to miss out on...
Issue 1 of "Crowded" written by Christopher Sebela with art by Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Triona Farrell (Colours) and Rachel Stott (Variant Covers) is the sort of comic I want to force into people's hands.

"Read this, please read this. It's really flipping good! I mean REALLY good!"

Weirdly though it reminded me of something from my youth. A short piece of televisual history called "20 Minutes into the Future" which was a Channel 4 drama that came out around the same time the terrestrial channel first gave us all a reason to reprogram the other buttons on our tellies.

It was infamous for introducing us to one Max Headroom - a character that later went on to become something of a cultural icon - but the (extremely dubious) link between "20 Minutes into the Future" and "Crowded" is that the latter pulls off the same trick.

You see, it gives us a short-leap glimpse into our own app-and-mobile obsessed futures, where people stop having jobs and start hawking out their skills via a number of shared applications, the ultimate way of living for someone with the attention span of a sciatic tick.

Someone in fact like Charlie Ellison...

In the future, there will be apps for everything - even hiring out your clothes and car to random strangers
First off I'd have to say that Charlie is one of the sassiest and most fanciable characters I've seen in comics since...well probably since Tank Girl if I'm honest. So why on earth is she now in serious danger, the subject of a crowd-funded assassination campaign totalling nearly a million bucks?

Nope, no idea at all why someone would try to kill Charlie! Nope!
Charlie's forced to retaliate in the only way she knows how - by hiring a top-level bodyguard via the Dfend app. The trouble there is that top rated bodyguards cost a mint, Charlie is exceptionally skint so it's time to pick the lowest rated cheap end of the market instead.

Introducing Vita.

Despite being rated at the bottom on DFend, Vita is actually seriously kick ass - and manages to convince Charlie that she's right for the gig. Thus begins a beautiful friendship - or at least a business arrangement where you're never quite sure after this first issue that Vita won't just end up popping Charlie herself to save a metric tone of arseache.

2,249 people really want our pink-haired temptress dead. But why? 
Eisner-nominated Sebela has concocted a near-future world that politely nods in the direction of influences like Altered Carbon and Black Mirror, while keeping things funny, intelligent as heck and all too identifiable with.

Charlie and Vita are like The Odd Couple on speed and by the end of this first issue I was absolutely queued up to the gills for ish 2 (it's very rare that I'll leap on a comic subscription from the very first issue of anything these days, but this is just so durned good I couldn't wait for a collected works like I normally do).

Get in on "Crowded" before the whole durned thing becomes reality. It's seriously superb. (Additional note since this review was written: Issue 2 is out now - and is every single bit as brilliant as the first!)

"Crowded" issue 1 by Sebela, Stein, Brandt, Farrell and Stott is out now, published by Image Comics (self purchased - not provided for review).