The Lion & The Unicorn is a new genre busting British comic series described by creator Ash Pure as, Urban-mythic, alternate reality, sci-fantasy.
Issue 2 was just launched at MCM Comics expo in London to a great fan response and is now on sale to a wider audience via the web store and comiXology
The set up:
Albion: An ancient kingdom crumbling under its own weight, its capital city; Thamesis, stands on the brink of revolution.
Britomart, part of a multi-national conglomerate sells its psychic technology and upwardly mobile utopian lifestyle as the only way out. But at what cost?
While factions argue amongst themselves telekinetic terror is unleashed… And nothing will ever be the same again!
The King is dead and as the young prince of Albion races back to the capital, unbeknownst to him, hidden forces conspire to seal his fate.
The Unicorn, a naive but powerful psychic knight-in-training, uncovers the shocking truth about the Prince’s past, while down in the streets it’s Clan Boss Kendrick’s powered up Hoods vs. The PosMaster. He’s on a secret mission to ‘bring the Heroes back to Albion’ but will he even make it out of the City alive?
A unique visual style, incorporating photo montage, rotoscope, illustration, typography and graphic design techniques create a striking package that pushes the boundaries of the comic form.
A relevant yet timeless story set in a fully realised, highly engaging and immersive, alternate-history story world, has the richness and depth of Game of Thrones with the revolutionary, cross gender, youth appeal of The Hunger Games.
The Unicorn of the title is a strong, young female protagonist, who, while fighting to save the world, will be caught in a love triangle between the charismatic mixed race King and a foul mouthed Hoodie iconoclast. The Lion is a straight up action hero, a mean, old bastard who gets all the best lines.
Format specific: Print
A signed and numbered edition of 200 influenced by the large format British comics of the 80s and 90s and realised as a beautiful, oversized 32 page magazine, produced to extremely high standards as ethically and environmentally as possible.
Format specific: Digital
painstakingly re-formatted specifically for viewing full screen on tablet devices. The use of black pages and photographic backgrounds, where there are white pages and white space in the print version, is to maximise the effect of the back lit viewing experience.
Triple and quadruple page spread-sequences are designed specifically for the left to right, slide transitions of full pages in the app. The aim is to push the digital form while remaining true to what makes comics great: The fact they can and should be viewed a whole page at a time.
The Lion & The Unicorn started life in 1996, filling pages in ever more numerous note and sketch pads. By the early 00s it had grown into a hand crafted card, poster and fold out mini-comic pack sold in Magma art book shops under the title ALBION r i s i n g. Then, with the help of Fleming Media and a small but highly talented team of creative collaborators, it developed into a six part Flash animation entitled City of Thamesis. Released in 2007 it was perhaps a little ahead of its time.
Fully back in the artist and creator’s control, in 2011 it was reborn as a self published, traditional print comic, The Lion & The Unicorn, which sold out of London comic shops; Mega City, Orbital and Gosh!
This first printing was launched with an exhibition of the unique landscape art of the alternate reality London at Shoreditch Town Hall which gave unsuspecting visitors the chance to step into the story world via a one off, immersive experiential event.
In 2013 in direct response to a blogger review of the first printing (Namely Forbidden Planet’s Richard Bruton ‘Beautiful, but ultimately empty’), The Lion & The Unicorn Volume 0. Part 1 Extended Edition was released as a digital exclusive via Comixology and other major online outlets. Both story and art were re worked, filled out and extended to give a fuller, more rewarding reader experience.
Part Three of the comic is already available in part, via the social network where specially formatted, edited chapters are released with something approaching regularity.
This sees yet another unique format, with a landscape, screen width ‘Ultimate style’ (after Mark Waid), harking back to the original 2007 Flash series but with the sound and animation stripped away in favour of concentrated storytelling and user control.
The social network also provides access deeper into the storyworld in the form of ‘in world’, ARG (Alternate Reality Game) style pages. The social space is working as template and testing ground for the ‘trans-media’ future of the The Lion & The Unicorn as a dedicated tablet app set to transform the digital comic experience in the very near future.
Little is known about The Lion & The Unicorn creator Ashram J Pure other than that he is a digital artist, trans media content developer, self proclaimed pop shaman and unconfirmed 5th Dimensional consciousness.
His official spokesperson, publisher and key contributor James Harrup says that “being brought up on the pop culture diet of large format, black, white (and red) British comics (The Eagle, 2000AD and Deadline), block buster US science fiction films (Forbidden Planet, Star Wars, Blade Runner) and 60s adventure shows (The Avengers, The Prisoner and The Persuaders), then being schooled in the traditional disciplines of design, photography and typography is what makes Ash Pure a unique graphic storyteller”.
Strangely Pure and Harrup have never been seen in the same room at the same time.
Learn more, buy comics and read them for free at http://thelionandtheunicorn.net/