A new title from Glasgow-based P.R.D. Differ and Gav Boyle (Rapid Comics) currently available through Graphicly.com, The Steamin’ Headmaster is a dark, sinister tale that follows an alcoholic school teacher who finds himself kicked out of his house by his long-suffering wife. As he tries (and fails) to keep his life together, he finds himself drawn into a macabre series of experiments being conducted by his friend, the school science teacher, with suitably horrific results.
The artwork is basic but extremely effective, with strong lines, terrific facial expressions and a muted colour palette that lends itself well to the gloomy tale. There’s also some particularly creative uses of page and panel layouts along the way, and while there’s a definite roughness in places, the story still flows extremely well in spite of this.
The comic has a definite ‘Tales from the Crypt’/’Twilight Zone’ vibe to it, going for an almost B-Movie approach to its horror. The writing is fairly sharp too, with some humorous moments along the way, particularly in the depiction of main protagonist Larry’s alcoholism. Some of the characterization seemed a little ‘off’ in places, however, and I found it quite difficult to empathise much with Larry as a character, particularly given how quickly he jumped on board with the pretty shocking experimentation plan.
Overall though, as a self-contained slice of B-Movie nonsense that could potentially be expanded upon down the line, the Steamin’ Headmaster is an extremely enjoyable read. Setting a ‘Tales from the Crypt’ style horror story in the south side of Glasgow is a great choice, and both the writer and the artist do a great job of staying true to this concept.
Definitely a huge amount of potential here, and ‘Rapid Comics’ are a couple of guys worth keeping an eye out for in the future.