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The Chronicles Of Solomon Stone

And don't forget to check out Chris Sims' 'Woman Of A.C.T.I.O.N.' while you're at www.actionagecomics.comYes, this is exactly what it looks like. It's a comic book called The Chronicles Of Solomon Stone, written by Chris Sims and drawn by Matthew Allen Smith. Its cover features its eponymous hero standing outside Westminster and punching a Nazi in the face till his teeth come out. And yes, the Nazi does look an awful lot like Nick Griffin.

So you're probably wondering by now, how the hell can I buy this comic? And I'm here to tell you the answer to that: you can't.

Because it's available for free on the internet right now.

You're welcome.

Writer Chris Sims is an inspiration to us all, and by "all" I mean "people who spend far too much time talking shite on the internet for our own amusement." Since 2005, he's been writing about comics on Chris's Invincible Super-Blog, taking time off from his day job in a comic shop to share his thoughts on the medium. He reviews the latest releases in a section entitled The Week In Ink, where he somehow always manages to find one panel in each week's output that features someone being kicked in the face. But that's only one day per week: for the rest of the time he comes up with all manner of funny comics-related stuff, from inspired repurposing of the classics to rage-filled demolitions of utter stinkers.

All well and good, but there's nothing there that really sets Sims apart from any other blogger. Except that his circumstances have changed dramatically in the past few months. He's quit his job at the comic shop and become a full-time writer for the ComicsAlliance site, doing exactly what he's been doing on the ISB for the last five years but getting paid for it. He's also writing his own comics now, with a backup story in the latest issue of Resurrection: and he's getting paid for that as well. Not to mention his side project at Heavy where he rents terrible movies from Netflix, bitches about them, and gets paid for that too. In a very real sense, he's living the dream. Bastard.

But happily, Sims hasn't forgotten the little people on the internet who got him where his is today, and keeps on churning out stuff for the love of it in between paid gigs. Like everyone else out there with a broadband connection and vocal chords, he has a podcast - War Rocket Ajax, where he and Eugene Ahn chat to comics creators. And when he's not writing print comics for money, he's writing web comics for free for the good people at Action Age. Which brings us to Solomon Stone.

Solomon Stone, the skateboarding half-vampire private detective, was originally going to be the subject of Sims' first novel, The Chronicles of Solomon Stone: Book One: Enter: Solomon: Stone Me Deadly! In the one surviving extract available on the web, we can see the glittering prose style and complex plotting that have propelled Sims to pro stardom.

"Oh Solomon! I thought I was a goner, an' you bloody well saved me!"

"Shut up, baby. I know it," he replied, shattering her chains with one chi-powered kung fu kick. "I would've been here sooner but I had to decipher the hidden Fibonacci Sequence embedded in the Sistene Chapel. Now let's go kick the Zombie Pope's ass." But before he could finish, Minxy stepped forward and rubbed up on him. Then they started Frenching, and he dropped his smoking uzi to the floor.

And then they did it.

Did it hard.

But you can tell that Sims looked at his own dynamic illustration for that sequence, and realised that it had to be a comic.

Solomon - together with his girl sidekick Minxy Flatbush, daughter of the Mayor of England - has appeared in two complete comics adventures so far: the dinosaur-tastic Issue One, and a Christmas Special featuring Atnas The Anti-Santa. This week sees the launch of the first chapter of Issue Two, with the remaining two parts to follow on March 3rd and 10th at the Action Age site.  Murder At Morteface Manor! sees Stone embroiled in a classic country house murder mystery, only to be interrupted by a figure from his past. (Yeah, that cover with Nick Griffin being smacked in the gob? So far it doesn't appear to have anything to do with the story whatsoever. Is that a problem?)

Sims has got this formula down cold by now. He takes as many pulp genres as he can comfortably hold in both hands, grabs a couple more for good measure, and mashes them up into something else entirely. Huge swathes of backstory are gleefully thrown away in a panel or two ("I thought I lost you when we dealt with Snooky Lesbiano, She-Queen of the Vampazons" is my favourite from the first issue), making the comic even better value for money than it already was, what with it being free. Artist Matthew Allen Smith has an endless series of challenges thrown at him by Sims, and he handles them all fabulously, giving the comic a cartoonishly consistent look no matter how many genres it hurtles through.

A proper comicky comic in an age when more and more writers are just looking to use the medium as a way to break into the movies (yeah, Millar, I'm looking at you), The Chronicles Of Solomon Stone is a hoot and a holler, and free. So what are you waiting for? Do it. Do it HARD.



"Gordon Bennett, Solomon! I've never drift-raced down a volcano before!"

Chapter Two's up.



"Because shut up. That's why." It's the final chapter.


(And if you've enjoyed this, you might find http://www.awesomehospital.com equally, um, awesome.)

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