Monday, September 19, 2005

Y'know, when I was a little kid, some of the other kids in the neighborhood and I decided one day to make up a bunch of funny superheroes with names like Mooney Booney and Glo-Lite (along with a few ripped off from Not Brand Echh, like Scaredevil), and do a comic book in which they all worked for a superhero temp service called "Sooper Hero Rental Agency". Guess who got to draw it. Anyway, we amused ourselves for weeks coming up with goofy superheroes, and after I perused the latest from Wingnut and Fidget's Brian Clopper, FAR-FETCHERS: OPENING SALVO, I couldn't help but get that same buzz. Or as best I remember it, anyway.

Fetchers deals with, as the press kit says, "Creatures from the land of imagination", called "Figments", which have started to pop into our world without warning. The government has set up a secret agency, made up of Figments recruited to the cause, to deal with these figments- many of which are confused and frightened, and some are big, bad and dangerous. Making up this group are such characters as the Flying Mummy, the experienced veteran of the group who has a crusty attitude, not to mention that he's a super-strong Flying mummy; the Stitched Witch, the voice or reason and also a ragdoll that flies on a broom, Kid Gloves, a youngster that wears two big gauntlets that fire stun blasts, Agent Reeves, their by-the-books government liaison, and others. I'm surprised there's no Demon Deacon from North Carolingian Clopper! Anyway, these figments all seem to have one thing in common: they all come from books written and sketched by one Alan Lawrence, who has disappeared at about the time when all these characters first started appearing.

This probably rings a bell with all you Flex Mentallo fans out there, for sure- it's a lot like Men in Black meets Flex. Alan Lawrence=Wallace Sage=Brian Clopper, perhaps? Anyway, you can tell Clopper has had a lot of fun coming up with all the various characters, their backstory and the mystery behind it all; and while there's plenty of whimsy, he takes it seriously when it comes to the relationships between characters- but not in a offputting, Identity Crisis-like way but just serious enough to ground the whole concept and make it believable. Clopper's extremely loose, but assured art also makes this really enjoyable, reminding me of Jill Thompson or Steven DeStefano via Wally Wood. Looks great in B&W, and even better in color.

Clopper's been sending out a 24-page B&W preview, with a color cover, one color page, and an additional 10 pages of behind-the-scenes making-of text-with-graphics in the hopes of getting Far-Fetchers picked up by a publisher. If they don't bite, he intends to put it out himself, but frankly, I'd be amazed if someone doesn't snap it up like Oni or Top Shelf, because this is obviously professional-quality, high-concept work and deserves a bigger audience than Clopper can presumably get by self-publishing. Email him at bclopper at or snail mail: Brian Clopper, 6217 Ridgemount St., Wake Forest, NC 27587.

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