Comics Features

REVIEW: Backwards Burd Anthology #4

Written by Patrick Smith

Backwards Burd began as a university society back in October 2012. Their intentions were just to find a means to publish their own comics. Backwards Burd has since graduated and is continuing to produce anthologies as a promotional tool for unestablished comic book artists and illustrators. They upload an online magazine each month where they include all submissions, and select the best to be printed.

Backwards Burd Anthology #4 is edited by Casper Willcock and contains a mighty amount of content, considering it’s designed as a pocket-sized 86 page, perfect bound booklet. The presentation of this volume is excellent. It’s packaged within a screen-printed band-wrap with some additional contact cards. This goes a long way to create that sense of holding something of value, before you’ve even opened it. Their design perspective isn’t extravagant fluff however, it’s functional; an ample demonstration being the mischievous front cover reveal.

They produce all their printed books using a risograph printer, printing in single colour onto quality uncoated stock. The reproduction is reminiscent of the letterpress printing process and at it’s best, the clarity of fine line-work, the plethora of tints and the rich, deep, solid blacks combine in a manner that adds much richness and texture to the artwork.

There is much to keep a reader occupied within these pages; tales of varying length from nine storytellers; illustrations from five separate contributors; informative editorial sections including interviews with two Featured Artists, Shark Attack and Speloona.

I enjoyed all the content within these here pages, from Daniel De Sosa’s urban psychedelics featuring ‘Wild Kitty Jenkins’, the Heavy Metal-esque fantasy illustrations from Shindy Design, through to Chris Powell’s highly amusing single page installments of Bland Penguin.

Drew McIntosh’s nine pages, musings on the epic enigma of life and death are stimulating and engrossing. And there’s much to admire within the art. Each page has its own distinct atmosphere, approach and intent. This is supplemented by some intriguing writing. For instance, the encompassing darkness of the opening page is married with the line, ‘First came the crows, an entire murder of them . . . .’ Imagery and text continue to work hand-in-hand through to the conclusion, which is a fine flight of fancy. Murder. My favourite collective pronoun!

‘Running’ by Matt Boyer, is a story that also beguiled and entertained. Boyer delivers an excellent juxtaposition of rooted dialogue from relatable, grounded characters, dealing with genuinely human issues, whilst inhabiting a fantastical world. The voice of the young protagonist is pitch-perfect. Within these six pages, the overarching theme, of coping with fear, is addressed with warmth and innovation.

Joe Sparrow’s piece, ‘The Time Machine’, is a briskly paced, boisterous and occasionally foul-mouthed comedy. It focusses on a man, his time machine and the consequential pit-falls, or is it perhaps, pitfalls of consequence, that the hero of this tale endures. An awful lot of action occurs within these four neatly laid-out pages and I found this story to be a fun derivation of an estimable old trope.

Backwards Burd are doing sterling work, assisting emerging talent based in the U.K., in terms of design and production, along with their ongoing efforts to spread the word, provide platforms and seek out that wider audience.

Their mission statement is one that I applaud; ‘These aren’t the comix that you want right now. They’re the comix that you need.’

I strongly advise that you find out more about these fine folk and their offerings at www.BackwardsBurd.com. Their books can also be found at Gosh Comics and Orbital Comics in London.

About the author

Patrick Smith