Earlier this year I organised a comic con for my children's primary school. You can read all about it here. Since then my (youngest) son has been pestering for another one. I'm no longer Chair of the PTA so I told him he should start a petition and if he got enough names I'd look into it for him. I didn't expect him to survey his entire school, but he did and the result is that I'll be starting asking the current Powers That Be with permission to proceed in the next week or so.
However, as is often the case with these reviews, I'm drifting off the point.
The point is that one of the guests at the con was Zoom Rockman. I was mighty impressed that we managed to get him since I'd actually heard of him. He'd been featured in an article (I want to say on the BBC website, but I can't remember exactly where it was now) about the comic he produced himself and how it had resulted in him getting work on the Beano. This is pretty impressive in itself, but the fact that Zoom is 13 years old raises the achievement to the next level.
Issue 10 popped through my letterbox yesterday morning and I sat down with a cup of tea and a biscuit for a read.
The first thing that strikes you about The Zoom comic is the paper quality: it's amazing. It's a billion* (*may not actually be a billion) times better that you'll find in any other comic currently on sale. It also comes with a badge(!) which, at this very moment in time, I've managed to mislay somewhere. When I lost the badge that came with #9 it eventually turned up on my 3yo daughter's t-shirt, so that may be a good place to start looking.
Issue 10 is the first to be in full colour, which, when compared to the previous grey-tone issue, really makes it stand out. Zoom hasn't gone overboard with the colour, however. A lot of the backgrounds are still grey-tone so the colour, where it is used, makes an Impact.
What I love about Zoom's comics are that you can see the progression in his art and writing as he hones his craft over time. This means that each comic is better than the previous one. There was no doubt that when ##10 arrived it would be better than #9 and considering I'd loved that one, well...
Zoom's strips are based around what interests him, so we have strips about/parodying things such as Gandi Theft Auto and The Walking Bread. He also pulls inspiration from his family, who feature in a number of strips, and of course Skanky Pigeon. The comic include a Skanky strip that the cover proudly boasts as being 'too gross for the Beano' (it is pretty gross!).
My absolute favourite bit though isn't Zoom's strips (good as they are) but that all the adverts in the comic are drawn by Zoom too. This is a great touch and if I had anything to advertise I'd definitely get Zoom to do it.
The Zoom is the perfect read for a 13 year old. Obviously Zoom knows this group well and every strip will appeal to them. It's also a good read for people who never grew up, or those with an interest (and wish to encourage) the comic creators of the future. I love it so much I'm buying a second copy! Though this may have something to do with the fact that the first one underwent a tea-related spilling disaster. Oops.
The Zoom #10 is currently available to order online at TheZoom.co.uk. Issues 1-9 are available to read on the site.