A Love Letter To Comic Sci-Fi
♦ Tripwire’s contributing writer Tim Cundle takes a look at John Charles, Barry May’s TechnoFreak: For The Love Of Loretta#1 out now…
TechnoFreak: For the Love of Loretta # 1
Writers/ co-creators: John Charles, Barry May
Artist: Tom Newell
Letters: Nikki Foxrobot
Sunday Lunch Comics
Something deep inside always makes me root for the underdog. If you were to ask me what it was, I almost certainly couldn’t tell you. I’d probably try to bluff and stumble my way through a half-muttered reply that attempted to focus on levelling the playing field before completely drifting off topic. Maybe it’s got something to do with having spent the better part of my life as an active participant in the punk rock scene and being a firm believer in the DIY ethos that governs it. Or it could be the result of a childhood beset by bullying that ingrained in me an overwhelming desire to always want to see the little guy succeed no matter what. Whatever it is, when For the Love of Loretta, the first issue of TechnoFreak and Sunday Lunch Comic’s debut release arrived on my desk via the magic of cyber-space, I immediately wanted the fledgling outfit’s initial foray into the four-colour world to reign triumphant. And for the most part, it does.
Despite being a new venture, Sunday Lunch’s writing team of John Charles and Barry May have an established comics pedigree and almost certainly formed their company to ensure that Techno-Freak, their decade(s) long labour of love was finally brought to fruition. Although, for the life of me, I can’t understand why any of the major players in comicdom didn’t pick this book up and run with it. Set in thirty-first century London, Techno-Freak is a humour-driven, hard-boiled, cyber-punk detective story that deftly tips its hat to William Gibson, Philip Marlowe and Tharg’s Future Shocks and follows Jon Sherlok, a cybernetic PI and his sidekick, a robot cat named Maurice, who are hired to locate the former’s ex-girlfriend by her current beau. As plots go, it hooks your attention from the off and kicks into high gear straight away as it crams a couple of issues worth of story into 26 pages. Stopping at violence central, betrayal junction, treachery point and every station in-between, TechoFreak places its foot firmly on the accelerator and doesn’t bother to hit the brake until it reaches its last panel.
Artist Tom Newell does a sterling job. For the Love of Loretta is highly reminiscent of Ian Gibson’s work on Robo-Hunter which lends TechnoFreak an instant familiarity and immediately lets you know the sort of ballpark that the story is playing in. A newbie he may well be, but I’ve got a feeling that when Newell finds his feet and his own voice and identity, he’s definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with. Similarly Charles and May also tread familiar ground, as TechnoFreak feels like it could have appeared in, and dominated the pages of 2000AD and Deadline in the late eighties. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a criticism (well it is, but it’s not meant in a bad way) as, in much the same way that Newell’s art does, it immediately transports its audience into a future, and a world, that they know all too well, negating the need for unnecessary exposition and allowing their rapid-fire plot to take centre stage. While thematically it feels like an ode to its many influences, TechnoFreak is incredibly self-assured and punches well above its weight and hopefully this particular underdog will continue to build on the promise of this first issue. Because as we all know all too well, mighty oaks from small acorns go… Tim Cundle
TechnoFreak: For The Love Of Loretta is out now on sale in all Travelling Man shops in the UK and other good comic shops. Check out their website for further information