How about a crime caper story set in a lucid dreamscape that's as nuts as a walnut whip filled with nougat-less snickers, cashews and brazil's rolled in a bowl of bar nuts sat in bat guano in a pink fluffy sequin dipped straightjacket on bath salts? It’s an underground outlaw style comic called Jinx Freeze by Hurk.
If you’ve read our reviews before or spent much time with us at Comic Book News UK you might have noticed how much we bloody love Avery Hill publishing. We’re not affiliated with them, we, like any other creator can, are sent comics to consider. If we like them and can find the time you’ll get our honest opinion, that’s it. No transaction, so you can believe how genuinely enamoured we are by a piece we read. Personally, I know there's always an audience out there for a particular comic and aim to grab their attention, but I’ve still got to have enjoyed it enough to be enthusiastic for it to score well in my ratings. Anyway, Avery Hill publishing means a lot because the comics they curate are special. Their emotional journeys from diverse creators have so far always brought something wondrous.
Jinx Freeze is different. Firstly because it’s not particularly poignant or emotional, secondly the art is a lot more outlaw than the previous catalogue and finally as I’ve already mentioned it’s completely out there in a mind-bending way. I mean it makes Inception look as pedestrian as Blue Peter and honestly it’s one of my favourite comics ever. I do love a bit of weird and this one lets the freak flag fly.
So, let’s start with the art. Hurk has an art style that really speaks to me. Certainly in a voice inside your head sort of acid frenzy mind-bending way as that’s the vibe of the art. Yet also, and mainly, for its underground and outlaw comic styling. Art like this is precious because of its unique qualities. It’s art that is unapologetic in delivery, almost punk rock in its mentality of look this is me and this is how we do things. Hurk as an artist strikes me as this sort of personality, when you see his press photo in the back of the book you’ll hopefully agree Lord Hurk is, as he describes, a comicsmith which is a great way of phrasing it as he’s forging very unique art that I’m fully on board for.
The psychedelia element on display has its own special level of beauty. Just take the Skimoff panel in KGFPOX’s bedtime reading, the image of a grey "skinless" robot is stunning. It’s psychedelic abstract sci-fi of the highest order. Imagery to adorn a wall, to share with select house guests or confuse and frighten the squares so to speak. It’s art that someone might see out of, or even in context and ask with a certain tone “what’s that supposed to be?” and the answer is to cackle like a supervillain and escape into the shadows screaming, the most apt quote, "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro!!" Hurk is a pro.
Gather round for storytime then. Here’s a narrative experience. I arrived at page 78 (of 132) and once I’d stopped staring at the "skinless" robot I thought about the plot of Jinx Freeze and made the following note, "there's a story in there, and it’s like following the whisper of a shadow by a thread through a tornado with the flippant nonchalance of a feral cat, and that’s why I love it." I really do love it. To wander from the path of all sense and stumble over breadcrumbs could not be more enjoyable. To then find later on a page headed "Crash Course Narrative Update page" was validating and affirming, firstly for confirming personnel theories and (b) for allowing a moment to untangle the knotted thread that you can then put in a pocket.
As for that plot, this is a crazy crime caper dialled up to certifiable levels. At the heart, a theft of a golden statue arm for reasons of a graphic selfie runs adjacent to a plot to sell cadavers to an alien race being tackled by multiple detectives in conjunction and against a local police force featuring a poet laureate, a no-nonsense strong-headed female stunt rider, slimy and nefarious foes and a Marge looking for redemption, all while revolving around what has become my new favourite detective committed to media. Move over Inspector Clouseau, Dirk Gently, Jessica Fletcher or even Sherlock - it’s the barely a cyborg, thinks it’s a cyborg, Henshin capable, catchily named, King Gianthead Fighter Policeman O.X.
These characters and events conspire amid (definitely not Parsley) Clarsley the lion musing on heritage, oversexed diet wards, nice bums on bikes, kids changing their ways, a bark faced reformed gentlemen thief, a Beyoncé and William Shatner duet, the equation for comic creation, Manga references, (not) famous criminologists, rival cowboy and Native American culture appreciation societies, a smoking thunder demigod, a space priest and Thora Hird among many, many more. The best part, it all pretty much makes sense with a clever plot point regarding KGFPO.X, so yeah, awesomely epic.
For fans of anything previously mentioned. You can get bookplate additions at https://averyhillpublishing.bigcartel.com/product/pre-order-jinx-freeze-by-hurk at what must be considered an excellent price so if anyone's looking to get me an early Christmas present it would make me very happy. I’d also encourage you to check out Hurks website and online store https://lordhurk.com/ for a load of interesting other comics and prints.
Review: easy 5/5