Ain’t no stoppin’ Improper Books

November 20, 2013


We devote a large proportion of our HoB hours to the stunning projects that roll outta Improper because really…we’d be powerless to resist.

BRIAR is the latest offering from this unfathomably excellent creative collab’ and my mouth is watering at the mere suggestion of gobbling it up. SO…*NOM*

From Improper’s feature on the project:

Trapped behind an impassable wall of enchanted briar, Layka has been cursed by the shadow-sorcerer, Celik. Her one hope lies with Kaye, The Knight of Thorns, who searches for a way to break the curse and set her free.

Set within a time of myth and fairy tale, Briar follows the story of Princess Layka, who seeks an end to the curse that keeps her shut off from the world. Trapped for years behind the enchanted barrier of the briar, she awaits her one true knight, Kaye, who has been tasked with the quest to break the curse and set her free.

Right from the outset, this tale exudes the rich, magical and familiar feelings of an age-old fairytale or folk lore that we’ve all known and treasured since childhood, such as was created when this pair teamed up for Porcelain. The idea of a princess trapped behind an impassable terrain of horror, waiting in the hope of being rescued by her true love is a format we all known inside out. Don’t be put off and start to think ‘bla bla, and they all lived happily ever after’. Reed and Wildgoose have never tip-toed along the lines of convention before, and they’re running wild and free, outside those confines, still!


My obsession with Wildgoose’s seemingly effortless perfection is fueled beyond the brim, thanks to BRIAR. Following Porcelain,  I personally commissioned Chris (Wildgoose) to capture a truly mega moment in my life: Tom proposed to me at last year’s Thought Bubble and Chris was the obvious choice when I considered approaching one of my favourite comic artists to pencil this for us. One of my favourite is playing this down…Chris Wildgoose holds the top spot of my artists league table along with J. H. Williams III (Batwoman, especially). Will be keeping the gorgeous piece that Chris did for us private (hung in our living room) but trust me, it’s just as lush and mind-bogglingly beautiful as his work you guys get to see. This is a guy who pours love into his work and the end results are undeniably fantastic.

Jordan Boyd’s colour for this project and the perfect enhancement for Wildgoose’s pencils. The depth, shadow and multi-faceted tone serve to enrich the pages to a level I can’t recall ever seeing before. Perfect match, these two!

Then there’s Benjamin Read: can this man do no wrong? I feel I set that bar pretty high, demanding intense, intelligent, psychological and emotional storytelling to satisfy my book-hunger and I needn’t fret about leaving this in the capable hands of Mr. Read…ever.

All this from the snippets I’ve been lucky enough to sneak a peak at – but the real teaser can be found at this year’s Thought Bubble, where the team will be GIVING AWAY previews of BRIAR for your greasey little mitts to grab! They’re first on our list to bag, for sure. Probably going to have to have an Improper shelf at home, as we love everything these folks are putting out.

You can find the team in NEW DOCK HALL, tables 51-53. Copies of the free preview will also be available from supporting retailers.

Just in case you haven’t  perused our myriad chat on these fellers, there’s their deets. Go explore!

Benjamin Read writes comics and makes films. He wrote the TRUE GRIT and SUPER 8 comic adaptations, and also wrote and produced the films ARMISTICE and 500 MILES NORTH.

Chris Wildgoose is an illustrator, and conceptual and storyboard artist. Northern born, but London based, Chris made his comic debut with the official TRUE GRIT and SUPER 8 comics. 

Jordan Boyd is a critically acclaimed digital colourist, his work to date can be seen in projects from Dynamite, Archaia, Top Shelf, Dark Horse, and Monkeybrain.

Jim Campbell is an Eagle Award-nominated letterer whose work can be seen in titles from Classical Comics, Dark Horse, Image, Markosia, Renegade Arts, Timebomb, and Zenescope.



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