Saturday, 7 December 2013

Home Brew Vampire Bullets Issue One. REVIEW

Home Brew Vampire Bullets Issue One. 
Published by HBVB Editor: Garth Jones Available as 
digital download: Scribd ( AUD$6.99 )  P.O.D thru BLURB (AUD$34.99) 
Good previews available on both sites.

I suppose it’s a hallmark of the age we live in, the need to have something quickly, not to draw things out. The collective attention span of the Internet is short, to use a polite word. Where comics and magazines were once seen in the deep dark past as ephemeral, one has to think what digital downloads are going to be seen as in the next decade or so. I like my books and magazines and comics/comix.
I'm a tactile kind of guy but I'm also a realist who knows that the best new stuff appears on the web first and production costs for something to buy at your favourite shop are prohibitive for the small publisher. So if you want to wait a couple of weeks and pay through the nose to hold a book in your hand or have it now for next to nothing and still hold it in your hand albeit a tablet. That is a choice you have to make sooner than later.

There is a point to this babble.

Home Brew Vampire Bullets released its 60 page anthology in late September to a warm reception. It whetted the appetite for what was to come and at US$1.99 in 4 different formats it was a bargain to boot. It lived up to its promise of a larrikin publication inspired by ozploitation movies, good ol’ pub rock and the great underground press of the 1970s. Expectation for issue one (I speak only for myself here) was very high. Now I've got it and read it, I wish I wasn't so impatient. A good slab of issue one appeared in the anthology and kind of spoiled it a bit, thinking about this I thought maybe the publishers could have spread some of the singular pieces over the next couple of issues perhaps?. That aside (and the download problem I had, gallantly and quickly rectified by HBVB main man Garth Jones) the magazine itself is a beautifully designed piece of work , with excellent colour and graphics that makes you feel you are holding something of value (and at $34.99 P.O.D …..well, you are!)
Garth Jones as helmsman has done a truly remarkable job to give it a unique feel. The collection of artists and writers will no doubt help move some copies but its whether the stories themselves and their length as continuous pieces will bring people back. Christian Read takes a giant slice of the writers credits, a well known and respected figure he keeps it simple with R.S HELL and PALE MAGIC, stories with a haunting/poltergeist type bent. It’s when we hit BABALON SHOKK with (that man again) Garth Jones that we get into some meaty story line that leaves you wanting more. It’s just a pity the majority of it was used to heavily push the anthology. The prose pieces where enjoyable, though DINGOES was hard to read on my iPad due to background colours. But Micca Delaney’s words (or where they Scott Frasers?) kept me jumping hurdles.
Christian Read's DEVIL IN AUSTRALIA and Nick Lewis’ THE AUSTRALIAN MOTOR ENTHUSIASTS GUIDE are as good a  pieces of satire you'll see anywhere these days, both a highlight. The artist as story teller is carried by Scott Fraser in SHADOW RUMBLE, Simon Sherry with HEAVY ANGEL and Mathew Dunn's CEO.
The stand out pieces as sequentials are definitely MARALINGA , THE MANY HAROLD HOLTS OF SPACE AND TIME and BOLT These three stories will make me come back for more. The artwork in MARALINGA by Doug Holgate is a joy to look at and I found myself going over the landscape of a ruined Melbourne over and over again. The Ozploitation tag really hits high gear (and an R rating) with Mark Selan and Steve Martinez’s LUST OF CONVICTED VIXENS. This piece of sexy fun took me back to Slow Death Comix with Rand Holmes and Jaxon from the 1970s underground. Chuck in a few more stories about ignorant gangsters GUSTY SMYTHE and more devilish stories THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL with some leftie political essays in some of the other written pieces (including some fun faux adverts) and you get a great mixture for a good solid read and at a 152 pages enough to keep you satisfied until Autumn when the next issue is due.
I know I'm greedy but I was expecting a bit more of the stories already featured in HBVB ZERO.
Doug Holgate's MARALINGA artwork
Simon Sherry's Heavy Angel artwork in colour

Mathew Dunn's CEO artwork

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