By Olly MacNamee
Following on from the success of their first sci-fi graphic novel, Metal Made Flesh (2014), comes a proposed sequel, Blood and Oil, from independent comic book creators Simeon Aston and Jeremy Biggs which, should it reaches its £25,000 goal, will offer fans and newcomers 5 original stories set in the Metal Made Flesh universe and told over 120 + pages in full colour.
The original graphic novel introducing us to a future dystopia wherein humanity has been hounded to the edge of extinction by a relentless enemy called the Veul, taking refuge in a sprawling mega-city on a planet steeped in illicit dealings, Equan Yas. And, like many a minority before them, the remains of the human race are now mistreated and exploited, finding they must do whatever it takes to survive. In that book, we met the dysfunctional and dangerous characters Aston and Biggs are hoping to return to in the sequel: Izobel Vice, Phaeton Nex and Kalibos.
Having already set the scene, introduced their universe and the main characters to us, Aston and company are hoping now to create a new book with 5 new stories written by himself, Mike Garley (The Kill Screen), Cy Dethan (Starship Troopers) and Jeremy Biggs with two tales illustrated by Aston himself (in a wonderful artistic style evocative of Simone Bianchi) as well as collaborators on the project newcomer Phil Buckenham, Kev Crossley (Judge Dredd) and Gary Erskine (The Filth, The Authority). There are some pretty heavyweight names behind this project, it would seem giving it a prestige hard to find in other such other campaigns. All of whom have had, and continue to have, great success within this particular genre.
These tales are cyberpunk stories of a humanity on its knees and as such the universe of Metal Made Flesh is one full of a certain kind of scum and villainy; intergalactic assassins, black marketeers and desperate individuals, such as the aforementioned cyborg Izobel Vice, who loses another part of her humanity with each upgrade, fighting for survival in a heartless, uncaring cosmos.
And, as with any good Kickstarter, the booty is enticing. From a lowly £10 pledge which will bag you a DRM free digital version of Blood and Oil, through the mid-range pledges (e.g. £45 will get you a floppy copy of the graphic novel signed by all the writers and artists as well as a DRM free version too) to the more beefy pledges, with the highest pledge of £750 (of which there is only one, so if this is your thing, get those skates on a it is still available at time of writing) which will get you a bonanza of a prize with the promise of an A3 commissioned portrait painting of a character of your choice from the Metal Made Flesh original graphic novel by and original page of artwork and a sketch, both by Aston as well as the physical and digital versions of Blood and Oil. Oh, and an exclusive invite to the launch in London as well. That’s an invite and not travel expenses though. I mean, what if you live in the USA? It would cost more than the £750 just to get you there.
At the time of writing, they still have a good 25 days + left and are already notching up the pledges at a decent rate. It costs nothing to give it a look see, but from the artwork on display on their Kickstarter page, it looks a promising and interesting continuation of Biggs and Aston’s sci-fi noir original. Us Brits do sci-fi well, and this could very well be another addition to that success. I for one look forward to seeing the results.
Olly MacNamee teaches English and Media, for his sins, in a school somewhere in Birmingham. Some days, even he doesn’t know where it is. Follow him on twitter @ollymacnamee or read about his exploits at email@example.com. Or don’t.