Spirit of Hope: Review

I had a pretty large To-Read pile this weekend. For instance, Grant Morrison’s autobiography-cum-philosophy book SUPERGODS sat there, tempting me, calling to me to forsake all Earthly desires and tear into it in one sitting. Cruelly, so did CENTURY: 1969, the latest installment of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN by Alan Moore + Kevin O’Neill, alongside the just as voluminous annotations, as ever compiled by Jess Nevins, this time joined by Padraig O Mealoid in the efforts.

However, those all had to take a backseat, as mid last week, my copy of SPIRIT OF HOPE finally arrived in the mail. And it was well worth it.

The packaging of the book is gorgeous, no matter if you get the Jimmy Broxton cover, or the Mike Allred one as I did. Mine had three prints found within, the two covers as well as a single picture found within the book itself. The contents are just as gorgeous.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: my own involvement in this book came through a chance encounter on Twitter, with veteran 2000AD artist Henry Flint soliciting someone, anyone, for a 1 page script (which became 2) for this book. I just happened to be quicker on the trigger in answering his call than Flint’s writer on ZOMBO, Al Ewing. Sometimes, it really is a matter of being at the right place at the right time. Thankfully, Flint went for it, and double thankfully, he liked the script I gave him, which I titled “Haiku,” with the text of the piece being just that. Another story in the book, “Sakurazensen” by Si Spencer + Jessica Kemp, is a series of haiku, but oddly we were the only two who used that device to tell our tales.

The other stories are of course a mixed bag of talents, mostly from the UK, but I was happy to see I wasn’t the only American involved, with Allred giving a cover and Donna Barr (STINZ, THE DESERT PEACH) also contributing a tale. There are a lot of stories in here by people I consider mates and acquaintances: Al Ewing, Rob Williams, Declan Shalvey, Martin Conaghan, Vicky Stonebridge, Rich Johnston, Richmond Clements to name a few. Ewing’s story in particular, I felt was a good piece, and me swiping Henry Flint from him seemed to work out as Ewing got to work with another top guy, and one *I’d* love to work with, Gary Erskine. My KEEPER letterer Jim Campbell shares page space with the completely awesome Liam Sharp.

As much as there were creators I already knew, there were some I didn’t. I’ve heard of Martin Eden, and his book THE O MEN, but never read it before. I was glad I finally got introduced to his stuff via a story from his other series, SPANDEX, written especially for this collection. Martyn Pick’s “Prince Nobutura” particularly impressed me as well.

Then there’s the fannish aspects, knowing I’m forever in a book with the likes of Chris Weston, Alan Grant, Darick Robertson, Mark Buckingham…

Most of the tales are stories of rising through struggle, coming out the other side. Including mine. Thankfully, there were no weeping Godzillas, tho, admittedly, there were some that tread that line pretty close.

It’s a very worthy book, and you should get it. It’s a treasure trove of talent and stories, and goes to help earthquake/tsunami victims in Japan and New Zealand. You can get it directly from the Comic Book Alliance, or from Amazon.



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