Ceej Says… Escape From Coatbridge #1 (of 3) review
Publisher: Rapid Comics
Writer/Artist: Gav Boyle
Release Date: On sale now!
Following on from his previous success at giving popular tropes a distinctly Glaswegian twist (as seen in The Steamin’ Headmaster and Rapid Gazzer), Scottish creator Gav Boyle has decided to turn his attention towards that much-loved John Carpenter classic, Escape from New York. Relocating the film to a war-torn, post-referendum Scotland where the town of Coatbridge has been turned into a penal colony to house the worst of the worst, Gav takes great pleasure in introducing us to our Glaswegian antihero Tommy Vango – Snake Plissken by way of Rab C. Nesbitt, string vest and all – during a humorous, dialogue-free opening sequence that you can check out in all its glory below.
Once again, Boyle’s gift for subtle detail comes into play throughout this issue, with all manner of sly nods to the genre he’s paying homage to, as well as to the ‘Glesga culture’ as a whole. He has opted for a black and white approach for this series, a decision that doesn’t detract from the narrative in the slightest, and actually allows the reader to bask in his neat visual details and typically expressive faces. Okay, so his artwork may not necessarily be the most ‘conventional’, but he definitely makes the most of what he has in order to create a smooth, flowing narrative where every storyline beat is laid out clearly and concisely.
As much as I loved this first issue, my only real concern is that it may be somewhat ‘niche’ to appeal to a wider audience. Boyle’s liberal use of Glasgow slang – while brilliantly implemented for those of us who are familiar with the dialect – may be occasionally indecipherable to those readers from further afield. That said, it’s pretty clear that Gav has a distinct demographic (read: Central Belt comic fans) in mind with his creations, and in that respect, this latest project can only be viewed as massive success in terms of translating the distinctive Scottish sense of humour to such a beloved franchise. On that subject, the humour here is far more even-handed than in the likes of Rapid Gazzer, giving the truly hilarious moments (such as the utterly inspired “Kirby Bridge”) far more impact than if they were just the latest in an unrelenting series of jokes.
Overall, Escape from Coatbridge serves as yet another success from a creator who has clearly found his niche, as well as a brilliantly inventive twist on a classic movie. Plus, with a typically dramatic cliffhanger at the conclusion of this issue, and a gloriously clichéd leading man to become invested in, I honestly can’t see anyone reading this issue and not wanting to know what happens next. You can count me in, that’s for sure.
You can buy the first issue of Escape From Coatbridge from the Rapid Comics Online Store, priced just £2.50.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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