It was another year of outstanding DIY culture output from micropublisher Colossive Press. One where comics became a more fixed part of their publishing plan with new material from A Wolfgang Crowe’s Fractures and classic small press reprints in A Trial Death & Other Stories, collecting some of Glenn Dakin’s ‘Abe’ comics. Of course Colossive had already showcased the practice of a number of small press comickers in their tactile, fold-over Cartographies series which features creators from a variety of artistic mediums. Fitting then that the first cartography we look at in 2024 is a new comic from a self-publishing legend, as Ed Pinsent presents ‘False Alarm: The Collapse of False-Face’.
This is not the first time Pinsent has contributed to the range with his ‘Astorial Cutaway’ comic appearing as Colossive Cartographies #42. ‘False Alarm: The Collapse of False-Face’ in Colossive Cartographies #51 ties into the veteran small presser’s Illegal Batman strips, though it’s 100% accessible for new readers. Pinsent’s second cartography follows its predecessor in its inventive consideration of how to use the physicality of the Turkish Map Fold format to its fullest potential, with one nine-panel comic strip featuring on the opened A4 zine and another related one running in the folds, being slowly revealed as ‘False Alarm’ is pulled open.
This is a fondly teasing spotlight on the life of a colourful super-villain, with the main strip depicting him in a number of his trademark disguises commenting on his criminal schemes of the moment. This is sequential storytelling that asks readers not simply to fill in the spaces between panels but also entire possible narratives that sit there just out of sight. It’s a short love letter to the silliness and wonderfully ludicrous standards of a long gone era of the super-hero genre; before the grimness and the grittiness replaced the pantomime and the spectacle. As ever with this series of zines, this is also a publication that will hopefully lead to a new appreciation of the work of a UK indie mainstay from another generation of comics self-publishing fans.
Ed Pinsent (W/A) • Colossive Press, £2.00
Review by Andy Oliver