Lair of the Geek

Bringing you all the geek stuff

By Jonathan Ross & Tommy Lee Edwards.

Review by Ian Clarke.

In my hands I hold a hardbound copy of Turf, the debut Graphic novel by Jonathan Ross and man who’s pedigree as a geek is almost as unquestionable as his pedigree as a broadcaster. This, his first foray into the world of Graphic novels was released by Image comics between April 2010 to June 2011 and is collected here in hardbound format with extra content such as profiles of Ross and Edwards, concept and storyboard artwork along with the covers of all the individual comics.

Before we get into the review itself, it seems only fair to mention Tommy Lee Edwards, whose artwork so vividly brings Ross’s story to life. Within the UK, and America to an extent, Jonathan Ross is of course a well known broadcaster. Within graphic novel circles however, his name pales before the fearsome reputation of Tommy Lee Edwards! His illustration credits include: Batman, Hellboy, The Invisibles, Daredevil and Marvel 1985 to name but a few. Beyond that he has also worked as the concept and style artist for several Sci-fi blockbusters such as: The Book of Eli, Men in Black II and Batman Begins…His artwork style may also be familiar to those of you who have played the Star Wars role playing game…

So, both writer and illustrator have quite a pedigree behind them which must surely leave us all with high expectations, also…I found myself wondering, “ if I were Jonathan Ross, what kind of comic book would I write?” The answer, is Turf.

If you’ve ever found yourself watching the Untouchables, Boardwalk Empire or any other prohibition era based film/TV show and thought to yourself, “What this really needs is Vampires…And, and…Aliens!” then Turf is entirely for you!

The main story focuses on what initially seems to be just another gang land take over, but when budding journalist Susie Randall charms her way into the crime scene she discovers something a whole lot more sinister! The Dragomir family from deep in the heart of eastern Europe are slowly taking over the city…I know I said the V word earlier but the Dragomir’s refer to themselves as “Strigoli”, not quite Vampires, but very close.

One man stands against them encroaching Strigoli, Sadly for New York, that man is Eddie Falco. A man who’s first and only loyalty lies with himself. This all changes when he meets Squeed, an alien smuggler who accidentally crashes into the outskirts of New York.

While the concept of Vampires, Aliens and Gangsters is one that I haven’t seen before, the plot isn’t particularly complex…I don’t mean this to be any kind of slight as I found the whole book to be an entertaining and gratifying read! Just like a good action film, everyone reacts how you’d expect them to, the big fight scene is suitable climactic and the end leaves you feeling satisfied that everything is in its rightful place. The Dialogue is suitably pulpy and the illustration style fits the writing perfectly. All in all, a fine debut for Ross and a capable first step in what is to be a continued writing/illustrating partnership with Edwards. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next!

Published By Titan books RRP £19.99

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