On Thursday August 16th from 6-7pm, Canadian cartoonist Matt Smith will signing copies of his books at Forbidden Planet Glasgow.
Matt will be bringing collections of his humorous autobiographical Smith vs Smith series, his two horror anthologies, Gruesome Comics and Intergalactic Terror (both written by Matt and featuring the art of a variety of international artists) and his interactive instructional book for kids, “Let’s Draw Some Comics!”
We first encountered Matt at this year’s Glasgow Comic Con, and to help whet your appetite for the upcoming event, we’ve decided to take a closer look at his two horror collections.
First up we have Gruesome Comics, a collection of short horror comics written by Matt and illustrated by an ensemble of international artists. The collection is made up of nine separate stories, featuring everything from a vampire ordering pizza to a group of struggling salesman indulging in a little human sacrifice to help boost their numbers.
The tone differs wildly from story to story, with Smith providing an enjoyable blend of humour, creepiness and genuinely unsettling horror. The rotating team of artists also help to keep each story feeling fresh, with Indonesian artist Xin providing my personal highlight with his manga-tinged style on “Quick Bite” and “Home Late”. The latter is also easily my favourite story of the anthology, with Smith showing a deft touch in what is a remarkably efficient and legitimately creepy single-page sting.
If you love horror then Gruesome Comics is well worth a look, with Smith impressively opting to prioritise humour and narrative over unnecessary shlock and gore – something of a rarity in today’s self-published horror comic landscape.
Intergalactic Terror: Chronicles of a Doomed Earth follows the same general format as Gruesome Comics — with one important difference. In this anthology, while each of the stories can be taken individually to a certain extent, they all fit together to weave an ongoing narrative as the inhabitants of the doomed planet Earth look to the stars to help ensure the survival of the human race.
Several of the stories focus on the eventual fate of each of the Doctors who head off into space to investigate potential inhabitable planets. Suffice to say, things don’t go particularlyy well for them, but Smith should definitely be applauded for using such a clever device to make this collection feel a lot more cohesive than a lot of other scattershot-style anthologies.
For me, this is a definite improvement over Gruesome Comics, with Smith’s writing feel a lot more concise, helping to deliver the sting in his tales with a great deal of energy and impact, There are some genuinely and impressive unpredictable horror twists along the way here, with the four-page “Solitude” – featuring the artwork of Jhonesbas Craneo – providing my personal highlight by virtue of its utterly brutal twist.
Another highly recommended purchase for fans of horror then, particularly those with an affinity for science fiction and all the inherent unpleasantness that frequently comes along with fictional deep space exploration.
Saying all that, if you’re not a horror fan, have no fear, because Matt will also be bringing copies of his amusing “Smith vs Smith” autobiographical comic, as well as “Let’s Draw Some Comics!”, his instructional book for kids. There’s definitely going to be something there for everyone, so this event is definitely well worth a look if you happen to be in or around Glasgow this Thursday.