Following its resounding success on Kickstarter at the end of last year (raising around $138,000 of pledges with just an $18,000 goal), Ben Templesmith’s labour of love – The Squidder – is finally upon us. This new four-part series follows an aging soldier struggling to find his way in a post-apocalyptic world, trying to come to the terms with the fact that the war he was born to fight has already been decisively lost.
Those of you who are familiar with Templesmith’s previous work on the likes of 30 Days of Night and Ten Grand will know exactly what to expect from the visual side of this book; beautifully grotesque, frantically chaotic pages filled with colour, detail and energy. This book is simply beautiful to look at, and Templesmith’s distinctive style perfectly captures the Lovecraftian menace of his multi-tentacled threats. It also doesn’t hurt that he gets ample opportunity to show off the other main string to his bow here with amazing effect – his gift for dynamic, brutal action scenes.
So while Templesmith’s artistic abilities were never in question – to me, at least – it’s his grasp of the overall narrative in what (I believe) would be his first foray into writing that perhaps impresses most about this opening issue. Rather than just a showcase for him to unleash all the tentacled, Cthulhu-esque horrors from the darkest recesses of his mind, Templesmith has in fact crafted an fully realised world complete with a three-dimensional protagonist whose presence sucks you into the story, and whose bleak, noir-style narrative helps to gradually draw back the curtain on the world we find ourselves violently thrust into.
Personally speaking, I was always going to be inclined to love this book, given how much a fan I am of Templesmith’s distinctive visual style, but even I have to admit to being taken aback slightly by how impressively the story has been structured. For a first issue, pretty much every single criteria I had was met. Interesting protagonist? Check. Creative, intriguing story? Check. The feeling that, as soon as I put the book down, I simply needed to know what happens next? You betcha.
The Squidder is a perfect example of a creator being able to tell the story they always wanted to, without limits or restrictions, and Templesmith’s passion for the subject matter shines through on pretty much every single page. Gorgeous to look at, unnerving in places yet always utterly compelling, you owe it to yourself to pick this comic up. Hail to the squid!
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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