Wednesday, 31 July 2019

"Ella Upgraded" by Dan Whitehead, PR Dedelis, Abby Bulmer and Jim Campbell (ZebraComics / Gumroad Publishing)

A lot of dads from my generation had two main obsessions when they were kids. On the one hand you'd find them blinking in the twilight of an old CRT telly, stabbing buttons on a rubber-keyed ZX Spectrum in order to make an on-screen collection of pixels bend to their every whim. On the other hand you'd find them running around with a copy of their favourite comic rolled up and unceremoniously stuffed into their back pocket (how many issues of Krazy Comic did I lose this way? More than I'd care to mention).

So what happens now that us Dads have kids of our own who have picked up some of our habits? Well, in Dan Whitehead's case, writing awesome game-themed comics with mighty girls in them seems to be a good place to start.

"Ella Upgraded" by Dan Whitehead, PR Dedelis, Abby Bulmer and Jim Campbell is absolutely right up our street (drop by Dan's Kickstarter page for more details on getting in on funding Issue 2 and find out more on the Facebook Page).

We begin the tale with Ella, just an ordinary everyday girl who loves comics and games. Ella's parents were tragically killed, so her older brother looks after her. All she has to remember her dad by is his awesome collection of retro gaming stuff, including Ella's favourite GameBox, which never leaves her side.

After a horrifying accident, Ella is saved by her scientist brother. 
Her brother is a complete brainbox nerd, who works in the fields of neuroscience, particularly in areas where machine and mind meet.

Ella unfortunately ends up the victim of a horrible road accident (kids - note from your parents - never get too glued to your game screen when you're out and about, OK?) but somehow her brother manages to save her by implanting the guts of her favourite game console in her head in order to save her life.

Ella doesn't realise it at first, but the cartridge slot in the back of her head becomes an interface to bestow her with game-based superpowers! So now she's a superhero, she'll need a snappy name, right?
Yipes!! Game-super-powers GO!

In issue 1 Dan weaves a brilliant origin story drawing us into a cyber-savvy world of pixel-powered superhero-ness with Ella at its heart, our kind of gal who swiftly realises she can put her new powers to good use. There are going to be a lot of girls and boys who are going to absolutely love every single page of this, so I truly hope Dan and his awesome team are cooking up issue 2 post-haste.

Every superhero needs a nifty outfit, right?

Sum this comic up in a sentence: Pacy, frenetic and exciting writing with fantastic action-packed art from Dedelis, Bulmer and Campbell on letters, this is a truly polished and professional piece of work that definitely deserves a wider audience.

"Ella Upgraded" by Dan Whitehead, PR Dedelis, Abby Bulmer and Jim Campbell is out now, publised by Zebra Comics (kindly provided for review in digital form).