When I asked Shane Chebsey at Caption what he absolutely definitely positively had to recommend if we joined in sado-masohistic ritual, he looked at me like I was a fucking freak. Then he smiled, and reached forth a copy of The Life and Adventures of Fleshwounds Minor #1 It's later, and I've just not got goto read. Instead, I got this other bloke to do my work for me. (everything they say about students is true>
The Life and Adventures of Fleshwounds Minor #1
Though uncluttered, a poorly designed cover presents two font styles at odds with the other and manages to lend the title logo insignificant role. This lack of focus continues throughout the publication as a half-baked pseudo-Victorian pretense is not consistently maintained, leaving one slightly disorientated and vaguely irritated. However, these criticisms are reduced to mere quibble when considering the effort and skill devoted to the production of this enjoyably diverting magazine.
Though pockets of gleeful editorial writings bookend this publication, two pieces account for the bulk of material on offer: 'Welcome to Fleshwounds Manor', a ten page comic strip; and the eight page presentation of the opening chapter of 'Tales of the Forever Pilot', a text story "cunningly presented as a tome from the library of Fleshwounds Manor".
A little indulgent space-wise, with it's average of four panels per A4 page, the strip at least manages a pacing that sets the scene and casually establishes both protagonist and antagonist. Childhood alienation and the suffocation and dysfunction of family life for Fleshwounds Minor are well captured, and oppressive mood is released through the effective scrawlings of an impatient art style. A touch gag-led perhaps, 'Welcome to Flesh...' (ahem) is insubstantial but spirited.
'Tales of the Forever Pilot' is derivative pulp-ish stuff, but so expertly realised that one's resistance is swept away by brisk pace and seductive prose. With playful tone that yet manages moments of suspense and intrigue, it proves a thoroughly entertaining read, faultlessly crafted. However, the abrupt ending of this chapter offers neither semblance of closure nor cliff-hanger, and leaves one with sudden dissatisfaction and sense of betrayal. Still a damn fine shot of cheesy popcorn to the vein, though!
THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF FLESHWOUNDS MINOR #1 has its faults, but strives to establish mannered identity with infectious exuberance, and in doing so provides sound escapism rooted in Poe-like atmospherics. So sure fuck it, why not sample the ambience? Just one pound entry at the door of 'The Trouser Press' - check first for available seating with email@example.com and Smallzone
(Review by John Robbins)