For comics fans of a certain age, the launch of Dave Elliott and Garry Leach’s Atomeka Press imprint and its anthology title A1 was an epochal event. Coming along in 1989, A1 featured talent from the United Kingdom, the United States and mainland Europe. As comics had both grown and grown up so much during the 1980s, the bringing together of all these strands seemed important, timely and inevitable. Here was a comic where you could find the best creators from 2000AD, Warrior and Deadline together with artists from the boom in the U.S. indie-comics market, alongside Moebius or Enki Bilal, then at the height of their powers.
The history of Atomeka’s rise and fall mirrored the explosion and implosion of the entire industry (there’s a great retrospective interview with Dave on the matter here), and the imprint has made faltering steps back into the limelight since 2004. Its return has seemed all the more concrete since the publication of Heavy Metal #259, which Dave guest-edited (a PDF sample is available here), and showcased the kind of material a re-energized A1 could feature. Nestled beside established talent such as Alex Horley, Andy Kuhn, Tom Raney and Toby Cypress was a crop of new talent Elliott has been nurturing, such as the Indonesian superstar-in-the-making Barnaby Bagenda, possessor of a style somewhere between Leinil Yu and Fiona Staples. His presence alone would make me hopeful for the returning anthology.
Orbital Comics in London opens its second annual Halloween exhibition “Magick Eye 2″ today at its gallery space on Great Newport Street. It features work from a host of U.K. comic talent, including Rufus Dayglo, Shaky Kane, Steve Cook, Jason Atomic, Garry Leach, Rian Hughes, Will Simpson, Garry Erskine, Steve Pugh and Bill Ward.
The above flyer art is by Garry Leach, the lesser-spotted artist of Alan Moore’s Marvelman and Warpsmith strips. Few comic artists have published so little but had so much impact upon their medium. Some artists have posted their contributions variously on their blogs or Facebook pages, and there’s a gallery of featured work at Jason Atomic’s Stripped blog. More below, some of which is a little on the NSFW side.