Ahead of its debut at Thought Bubble this weekend, Susan Omand got a sneak preview of The Exchange #1 from Madius Comics...
As you should already know, the mad ones of Madius Comics have conjured up some of my favourite comics characters in the past (Crusty Fisher Punks of the world unite!) so, to be presented with a completely new Sambrook & Jones penned story, with unknown characters and a new artist joining the fold, is something I just couldn’t resist trying.
The Exchange introduces us to Clive, a teacher at the end of his tether. Fed up with being ignored by his unruly classes, being ignored by the bustling people in the street and being NOT ignored by his ever-domineering mother with whom he still lives, he starts to look for a way out. Thanks to a very personalized advert on his computer, Clive finds himself signing up for a teacher exchange programme and gets hustled off in a very strange looking horse drawn carriage to start teaching at Old Queensdock. Meanwhile a very suave teacher, Danforth Dubois from Queensdock, takes up residence in Clive’s place, much to the joy of Clive’s mother …
Aaaand yep! They’ve done it again - that’s me hooked on yet another Madius comic. The intriguing set up for the story, the glorious characters and the trademark cleverly-daft, laugh-out-loud humour of Sambrook and Jones is all present and correct and had me chuckling delightedly from the start. I can totally empathise with the utterly dispirited Clive and can’t wait to see how he copes with life in Old Queensdock, likewise how the debonair Danforth gets on in his place. To be honest, I really don’t want to say too much about Queensdock and its inhabitants as I really want you to discover this for yourselves. Because there is SO much to discover in the whole of this issue! The team have really outdone themselves this time with the level of detail and tiny touches that will raise a smile, like the Popular Social Media Site on Clive’s computer or the “inane chatter” of his students. And that’s before we even get to Queensdock and its outlandish residents – using coloured speech bubbles to add “accents” to their voices is utterly inspired by the way, I definitely heard them differently in my head because of that.
I must also mention the artwork of Madius newbie Liam Hill as it seriously surprised me. I have to admit that, at first glance, I felt like I was going to hate the look of the comic because the character style reminded me a lot of early-90s Beavis and Butthead (this, for me, is not a good thing). However, it only took a couple of pages for me to realise that this is exactly the art style that is needed for the story and, by mid-comic, and that beautifully surreal coach and horse, I had come to the conclusion that Liam’s art is utterly brilliant and a perfect fit. The colour palette is incredible and the characters are just so full of, well, character that I now can’t imagine the story drawn by anyone else.
So, yes, if you are already a connoisseur of all things Madius, I can heartily recommend adding The Exchange to your ever-growing library of madness. And if you’ve never read anything by Sambrook and Jones before, this is the perfect time to start. Just remember, “Masks on and DON’T ACT WEIRD!”
Image - Madius Comics