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AfterLife Inc: Dying To TellAuthor: Jon Lock

Reviewed in Comics on Mar 18, 2014 by John Scotcher
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After a decade or more of feeling a little 'meh' to comics, here's something that has restored my faith.

I'm a comic fan. There, I said it. As a child I read the obvious Marvel stuff, then later, when a student at both Art College and University, I read most things I could get my hands on. There were certain comics, usually collected as graphic novels that made me sit forward in my chair and say 'wow'; The ones where the stories, or the concepts, or the artwork really rocked my world. 'The Dark Knight Returns', 'Maus', 'Watchmen', 'The Sandman' were all such comics. Then. other things got in the way and I just stopped reading comics. Now and again I'd pick something up, but nothing really made me sit up and take notice again. Nothing, that is, until 'Afterlife Inc'.

I always struggle in a review as to how much to tell you about the story. I don't want to throw any spoilers at you. This is even more so with Jon Lock's work. Of course, you can read the blurb on the right, and find out more at Lock's own site, but I'm not going to add too much more to that.

What I will say about this, 'AfterLife Inc: Dying To Tell', the first volume of collected stories, is that it's damn clever. It's the kind of comic that leaves you thinking about the concept long after you finish it (and if I am honest feeling just a little bit of hate for Mr Lock in coming up with such a nice concept then having the audacity to render it so well).

In the lead character of Jack Fortune, Lock has created a likeable rogue who is part politician, part criminal and all business man. Actually, it is a disservice to say ‘lead character’, anyway. Lock’s writing introduces us to a host of diverse characters through whom we get to view the narratives. Not only does this keep things fresh in every episode, it also indicates the author’s joy of literature, occasionally borrowing his cast from other recognisable works, and always in the best possible way. I cannot help but make a comparison with ‘Sandman’, probably my favourite comic book series of all time. Afterlife Inc survives the comparison well and comes out shining.

Lock is supported by an excellent group of artists, each with unique style, all of whom suit the stories that they illustrate. If I were to choose a favourite, it would have to be Ash Jackson who draws three of the stories and the book front cover.

Finally I want to mention the quality of the printing. Odd, I know, as it makes no difference to the story, but having run a small press comic book company twenty odd years ago, I know that getting the printing right and still keeping things at a reasonable cost is a hard bloody job. This book is a great addition to any shelf, well printed in full colour throughout by the excellent UK Comics Creative printing service.

So in conclusion, as far as I am concerned, this is a must read. There are currently two further volumes out, both of which are already sitting on my book shelf. I will read and review them for you soon.

 

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Visit the Jon Lock section of http://www.comicsy.co.uk to buy this and other volumes of Afterlife Inc

When corporate con-artist Jack Fortune's life comes to an abrupt and brutal end, he discovers a business opportunity on a previously unimaginable scale. A mysterious Calamity has struck the afterlife, wiping the ruling body from existence and plunging the Empyrean - the great golden city of the dead - into chaos. The time is ripe for modernisation.

With the vision, the business-smarts and a ragtag collection of allies behind him, Jack strives to reinvent the afterlife as a modern-day corporate entity. Establishing a new business is always challenging, but now Jack must balance the demands of a free market with rampaging archangels, a misplaced God and the dark secrets at the heart of their world.

This may be the job he was born to die for, but has Jack's reach finally exceeded his grasp?

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