Writer: Colin Bell
Artist: Neil Slorance
Release Date: 2nd July, 2015
After three critically-acclaimed issues and an unprecedented sweep of last year’s Scottish Independent Comic Book Awards, Colin Bell and Neil Slorance are back with a bang to wrap up their charming, heart-warming and utterly hilarious all-ages comic Dungeon Fun.
Once again, writer Colin Bell displays a brilliant grasp of all-ages comedy, mixing slapstick awesomeness (for the younger readers) with in-jokes and nostalgic references (for the rest of us), although he does it in such a way that the youngsters will get a kick out of the in-jokes and the ‘grown ups’ will get a kick out of the slapstick and goofy humour. All-ages indeed.
Even better, this concluding issue also has the benefit of being able to reference the earlier issues of the same series, producing a finale which is chock full of call-backs, cameos and sublime moments of storyline resolution.
It’s not all gags and ‘fluff’ however, as the award-winning creative team also manage to throw in some good old fashioned ‘ninja feels’ for good measure. You know the kind, the emotions that creep up on you when you think you’re enjoying something fun and upbeat, only to realise that it’s actually tinged with sadness? Yes, there are a good few moments like that here, and Slorance and Bell pull no punches when it comes to their unrelenting assault on the reader’s expectations as this story reaches its resolution.
Visually, the book is a perfect example of just how far Slorance has come as an artist in recent years. Hell, even since the first issue of this series, the improvement in his work as he continually refines his style is unmistakable, and this final chapter serves as his absolute career-best work… so far, anyway. The layouts are smoother, the colours are fresher, and he brings several of the key storyline beats to life with some lovingly created panels, including a jaw-dropping double-page spread that simply needs to be made available as an A3 print as soon as humanly possible. Ya hear me, Neil?
While other artists slave away tirelessly, adding layer upon layer of often unnecessary detail, Slorance seems to be an artist who works on ‘feel’, drawing things that he enjoys and pouring every ounce of his innate niceness (something anyone who’s ever met the guy will surely vouch for) into every line. Bell is the same in a lot of ways, adopting a fairly unconventional style that just flat-out works simply because you can sense just how much he’s enjoying the story he’s telling. It’s rare that you get a creative team who so perfectly embody the title they’ve created, but that’s exactly what we have here with Dungeon Fun. Two nice guys with a great sense of humour making a comic that they’d love to read. Brilliant.
Honestly, I think I’ve said pretty much all I can say about this series over the course of my reviews of the first three issues, but in case you missed it, here are the cliff notes: Neil Slorance is an artistic phenomenon, able to effortlessly capture emotion and expression with the simplest of figures; Colin Bell is an incredibly gifted writer with a knack for instantly quotable dialogue and surprisingly poignant moments; and, most importantly, Dungeon Fun is hands-down the best all-ages independent comic to come out of the UK in… well… quite possibly ever.
Buy this issue, then buy the first three issues if you haven’t already, and finally, buy some spare issues for when the originals get ruined by your tears of laughter, sadness and joy. Simply put, Dungeon Fun is an absolute critical hit from start to finish, and deserves to be seen by as many eyes as possible.
PREVIEW ARTWORK (courtesy of CBR)
[Click to Enlarge]
Dungeon Fun: Book Four (along with the previous three volumes in the series) is available from Neil’s Etsy Store, as well as from the creators themselves at this weekend’s GLASGOW COMIC CON!