Saturday, January 9, 2010

Orc Stain #1

by James Stokoe

James Stokoe's work is quite unique, with the exception, perhaps, of work done by Brandon Graham. Both artists marry a European sensibility to manga, and create comics that feel like they surf the stream of consciousness. Stokoe's Wonton Soup is a wonderful series about intergalactic foodie truckers, and it is a prime example of his unbounded imagination.

Orc Stain is his new monthly title from Image. It's about Orcs, the foot soldiers of the Lord of the Rings books, and countless other fantasy stories. In this comic, the fractious and internecine Orc tribes have been united under the grip of the Orctzar, who is searching for something called the Ganga-Gronch, which is some sort of phallic symbol, apparently. He learns that it can only be recovered by a one-eyed Orc.

At this point, the narrative switches to said one-eyed creature, who is a scavenger and robber, with incredible skills at opening things, such as safes embedded into bears. This is when you know you are reading a Stokoe comic - the endless stream of ridiculous (yet masterfully designed) inventions and details can be overwhelming.

Stokoe's art is incredibly detailed and frenetic, and his colours look fantastic. He's chosen to shade the world in greens, purples, and blues, making it clear that this is no ordinary world. This looks to be one of the most inventive and unexpected books of 2010.

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