May 24 2016
Hi, and welcome, to this installment of Indie Comics. This week I am going to have a look The Intercorstal 683, an interesting abstract take on the self-contained short story anthologies, published by Gareth A Hopkins.
The book, essentially, consists of 5 self-contained stories put together in an anthology. This may be a description you may have heard numerous times and it is indeed a true one. However The Intercorstal 683 is unlike anything previously seen on Indie Comics; it’s probably one of the most unique books I have ever read, actually. It literally deconstructs what defines a sequential comic narrative and rebuilds it anew in a gloriously abstract monotone environment. And that’s where you get to truly appreciate the ambitious nature of The Intercostal 683.
But, let’s begin at the book’s genesis before we move towards its extremely highly high concept hook. Back in 2008, Gareth A Hopkins was sketching something that had remnants of a comic page he was recalling onto a small piece of paper, when he felt compelled to see how far the rabbit hole he would go. Initially conceived as a 96 page love letter to the brilliant British anthology comics of past and present; around page 32 Hopkins decided to distribute fanzines of his work to whosoever wished to have it.
A decision, when you think about it, is quite apropos given the guerilla, do-it-yourself, punk-rock nature of the titles which influence Intercorstal 683; your 2000AD, The Eagle and the like. What happened next is that Hopkins’ artwork began to expand; both in skill and exposure. He began to display his art in galleries, get recognized and rewarded at prestigious comic festivals. He also applied new techniques in reinterpreting sequential comics into an abstract form. The latter of which can be found online on the Intercorstal website. And now, nearly a decade after the initial conception of the idea, there is an Intercorstal Kickstarter and I believe you should support it.
The reason why The Intercortal 683 should be successful in its Kickstarter campaign is simple. It’s a great book. The five sequences may not have a plot, or a narrative, or any text but it does literally make you, the reader, decipher and comprehend what it is that you are viewing. This is a refreshing and bold revitalization into the concept of narrative comics and I really welcome it. What we also get are five very different art styles that it’s almost unbelievable that Hopkins did this all by himself.
In lieu of traditional narrative and characters, we get a complete visual journey in a very limited space. The use of coloring, of lack thereof, is instrumentally and intricately used on each and every panel. As an experiment, Intercorstal does more than excel. It strips the conventional comic book and creates something very personal; as you are free to interpret the story as you will and that shouldn’t work but it really does.
What may had been conceived as a homage to the fantastical British anthology comics has become its own living breathing entity and I can wait for more work by Gareth A Hopkins. I was entranced by the low-res review copy of Intercorstal 683 and can only wonder how great the finished product will look.