ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: HARRY ALLMAN’S SPACE COURIERS #1

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“Yes, Bisley. That’s right. I remember his work now. All muscles and guns. Most amusing”

Last Friday I attended the Hull College end of year show. It was fantastic to see the years of work of all those talented local artists but it was ultimately comics that had drawn me across town. In particular to take a look at the work of one artist, Harry Allman, having spotted pages of his comic online the week before.

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Space Couriers #1 is billed as an unabashed love letter to the much maligned 90’s comic style. Allman having chosen to emulate  the ‘extreme’ attitude of the era for his final project, producing the first issue of a series. It follows Edgar as he awakes, confused and discovering that he has super strength joins up with a bunch of alien misfits (the aforementioned Space Couriers) to bust out of their imprisonment. It’s a simple no-nonsense set-up that allows for the attention to really be focused on his unique art skills.

It’s curious that when I think of the comics of the time it’s always the full on American 90’s comics, the early Image titles, garish covers and muscles bulging everywhere. While this definitely has the prerequisite tropes of hulking guys, brawling and action this is definitely more in line with the brit school of comics reminiscent of something that wouldn’t look out of place in Deadline or as a ‘future shock’ tale in 2000AD. The ending reminded me a lot of Rouge Trooper. It’s an altogether smarter affair than it’s giving itself credit for, taking a far more interesting direction with the raw material.

Printed in a larger European comics format and rendered in crisp black inks it’s full of inventive layouts and clever touches.I really like the use of sound effects within the comic, often integral to the panel and  embedded in the background adding to the drama and sense of scale. On one page a window is blown out, and Edgar sent drifting off into space. The boom indicating the explosion sits just behind the cracked glass in the frame in tall white letters giving a vivid sense of volume and tone. As an end of year college project showing of Allaman’s artistic chops, a lot of the comic plays out solely with these distinctive sound effects and for the rest, Edgars sparse profanity laden narration.

Harry Allman is an artist I can’t wait to see more from in the future and I hope he sticks with comics in some capacity. Although Space Couriers was printed as a small run for his end of year project if it sounds like your sort of thing then he still has a few left if you get in contact with him.

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