Liam Sharp's STARHENGE
I have a confession. I don't seem to read many comics anymore. From the relentless torrent of time, to work, to family time and to writing the blasted (I love them honestly guv) things - it's rare for me to sit down and enjoy a good session of the talking boxes.
I've made no secret my grumble of how I no longer read superhero stuff (unless, potentially, they're told via an else/other worlds self contained arc) as who has the time or the patience to hunt for this issue here from that title, to an obscure single issue that links them from six months ago? A bizarre feature only Disney would be ballsy enough to replicate in other media.
Ironically, I first saw Liam Sharp's art in a superhero comic. Don't worry, I slapped my own wrists. The first page I saw was during a review - the city of OA in Sharp's style. A balls-to-the-walls sci-fi city scape usually isn't something that captivates me, but there was something about the art that felt recognisable. Then, I stumbled upon Brave and the Bold with Sharp penning and uh, penning, a Wonder Woman/Batman tag team into a mythical Celtic landscape. I wonder if the seeds for STARHENGE's story were planted near this time (or vice versa?).
So, I went into the nethers of the internet, googling this Sharp.
Then it came to me - I think I saw his work many years ago. The familiarity I had most likely (and I cannot confirm without a time machine) stems from his Dredd work, when I used to read them when I was far too young. To make him feel old, I'm pretty sure I wasn't alive when they were first printed.
Fast forward a few years and someone's retweeted an article on the Hellsite about a project called STARHENGE with Sharp's name attached. Not only that, it's an Arthurian tale. And in a geiger-esque sci-fi scape.
I was quick to hit the pre-order button on OK Comics' website. Then, last week, I finally received it. I said earlier that I am a massive fan of Sharp's art and was surprised to see he wrote, arted (shh, it's a word, trust me) and lettered this project in its totality, which is an achievement and a holy grail that most comic creators strive for. Curse my lack of patience, but I'll likely never get there. After opening the page, I'm confronted by a fusion of Geiger and fantasy artwork that reminds me a lot of the Slaine I read as a far too wee nipper. It reminds me of Langley/Bisley/Percival/Power et al.'s fantasy epic, but full of original flavour. Seriously, have a look at these textures.
Then moving further into the book we get the futuristic weirdness that really gets under your skin (literally).
Admittedly, I found the post opening text jarring, not knowing who was talking, but as soon as it clicked that the narrator at that time was a young woman in what I think is her late teens/early twenties, it made sense. Sharp's ability to shift the narrative between a seemingly mercurial timeline and toeing the line between teasing obscurity and a compulsion to keep you reading shows that not only are his art chops significant, but his writing is too. Space Opera Time Hopping Geiger Arthurian Fantasy?
I have a growing appreciation for page layouts the more I read comics and Sharp's layouts and willingness to change art style depending on the story telling (whilst also keeping everything linked) is a joy.
TLDR - this comic is very much "my shit" I am looking forward to more.
STARHENGE is printed by Image, so you can likely order it from any local comic bookstore (or webstore if you have none near you!). Hwyl fawr/goodbye