Two to Beam Up
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Two to Beam Up #1

Two to Beam Up #1: # dooooorstoppers across the universe
Two to Beam Up #1© Ralph Kidson

Two to Beam Up : Ralph Kidson & Tim Brown

Web (ralphie)
mail (tim)

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Two to Beam Up is a curious comic from Canada that basically resembles an extended Tharg's 'Future Shock'
Altho' It's called Two to Beam Up (why Is everyone using sub EC titles these days?), there's only one story: The Glacier, about a glaciologist exploring a frozen waste. During an earthquake, a giant creature is released from the ice...and that's about it.
The revelation as to what the creature is, isn't actually as mind-blowing as writer/artist Eric Haven seems to think, and he takes a lot of pages to get to it.
Really this is a story that shouldn't take more than 4 or 5 pages.
Eric's a competent artist (tho' I suspect he has trouble with faces, as he takes every opportunity not to draw them), with a dark, detailed cross-hatching style, and a good use of space, but as a writer, this feels like a first attempt.
This comic is nicely produced, and looks good, but, really, the story is so ordinary, it doesn't engage your interest.
If Eric's plan is a comic-length tale each issue, he's gonna have to do better than this, and I'd suggest splitting the next book into 2 or even 3 stories.
Pete Doreé

Two to Beam Up #2

Two to Beam Up #2: brain loop kickback
Two to Beam Up #2 © Tim Brown

A puckish premise - the central character in the story carelessly mows down a couple of other well know cartoonists in his car. I mean - who hasn't, as a cartoonist, mused about dispatching many of our more famous brethren in idle jealous fantasy? Really? It's only me?*
The thought did occur to me that the artist, Eric Haven was 'trading' on the names of the better known cartoonists here - but I think that can be dismissed - as far as I can tell Eric has amassed a small (published) body of his own work & this bears little in the way of aspiration to the creators he dispatches. As with much of his work there is a dream like quality to his storytelling approach, & this seems apparent in this comic; twisted logic let free to have a play with scenarios. When the whole amusing, if not tenuous affectation concludes, it does so in a happily comics brained way.
The whole thing is rendered in an extraordinary obsessive fine line - like the drawings of someone who has imbibed too much marijuana - there is too much claustrophobic detail. On the whole this can be decorative, but it can also muddle and flatten the artwork; the cross hatching is a good example - in places it deadens the page with a reliance on a consistent fine line, rather than a flowing line. I suspect an over reliance on fine line pens rather than anything that has inherent inflection.
This is yet another release from Sparkplug Comics, so as such, by a strict definition - is not a self-published comic, but more of an indy comic. It gets note in ZUM! because it passes through barriers blocking its way; there is a precedence In reviewing Slab-O-Concrete comics (indy comics) & as I see this outfit as having a similar ethos (I may be wrong) it manages the first hurdle. The second hurdle it passes is much more difficult to get past - but it did so very easily - it is reviewed here because I like.
*I would point out this is a joke - for those of you with a lack of humour - you may laugh now... ha... ha...   ...sigh...

Two to Beam Up #3

Two to Beam Up #3
Two to Beam Up #3 © Ralph Kidson
I was a bit confused with this one; I guess because it's mostly set around a comics convention, and I've never been to one of those gatherings, so there's some context missing on my part. There are some really funny bits looking at some of the curious people found at these things; pie eating, people constantly sniggering about jokes they've forgotten, my favourite bit was the return of Alan Moore from, "Psychogeographically exploring NCP carparks in Nuneaton" for a brief period. There's also various outbursts of obscenity that break up the comic in a rather intriguing manner.
The drawing is fairly loose, but conveys the violent mood swings, traumas, and nuances of the characters with a certain clarity. I tend to enjoy this kind of minimal, scratchy drawing, probably because its something I do!
Another amusing element is the apparently crazed relationship between the two writers. I've no idea whether this is for dramatic effect or if they do really shout "gayboy" with vicious malice down the phone at each other. There are moments where you feel kind of uncomfortable and ponder if the writers are actually nuts or whether it's just a big joke....
I found this comic slightly befuddling most of the time, although there are some very funny bits, I'd imagine a lot of this would make more sense if you'd read 2000 AD regularly or went to comic conventions, but then perhaps not.
David Birchall
Two to Beam Up:
20 A5 pages.
#2: 44 A5 pages, green colour stock
#3: 48 A5 pages, colour stock cover, hand stapled in page that the printer wouldn't accept (would require age statement when ordering a copy).

#1: One quid & maybe some for postage.
#2: Two quid & maybe some for postage.
#3: A quid & maybe some for postage.

Ralph Kidson , 3 Langridges Close, Newick, East Sussex, BN8 4LZ =or= Tim Brown , 22 Woodborough Drive, Winscombe, Somerset BS25 1HB.

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