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Volume 2, Number 4 - January 2003

USHER #2 and BEDLAM #4 -anthologies by Chimera Arts with stories by various. $5.00 U.S. each including shipping and handling.

After a long delay British comics publisher Chimera Arts' Skywald Publications inspired black & white horror comics magazines are now available. While the art and stories can best be described as uneven there are none the less some real gems in these two comics that make them worth the $5 U.S. cover price.

The best of these gems is the premier installment of THE HYDRANAUTS which appears in USHER #2. Titled "No Press-Gangs, Matey..." with story by Edward St. Boniface and art chores shared by Damien Duncan and Tim Geeves this tale about seafaring zombie pirates combines quality visuals with crisp, fast paced story telling making it a quality read. St. Boniface not only has a superb grasp of the English language but knows how to spin a tale like few other writers I've encountered of late. THE HYDRANAUTS deserves a much wider audience than a small circulation publication such as USHER can offer and hopefully at some point a larger publisher will pick this series up. In short this story is good. Real good.

Other stories worth mentioning that appear in these two comics include "Dark God Rising" starring film character Lillith Silver (played on the screen by Eileen Daly) with story by Paul Rogers and art by John Gallagher (USHER #2) AND "Wealth and Taste" featuring Chimera Arts' version of Skywald's LADY SATAN character with art and story by John Gallagher (BEDLAM #4). Overall-with the noted exception of THE HYDRANAUTS-U'd have to rate the quality of the material in BEDLAM #4 and USHER #2 as semi-professional at best but I still find both issues to be quite enjoyable and well worth picking up. I have been told that publisher John Gallagher has a particular vision with regards to what he wants to publish. Due to the unevenness of the work and lack of overall direction of the contents-outside of them being horror stories-I personally can*t see what that vision is. But that doesn't take away from the fact that there is some interesting stuff being done here and perhaps with time and the inclusion of some talent with a more professional quality USHER and BEDLAM will have a major influence on the comics industry. But not today.

Still, I recommend both these issues as they are fun reads and well worth the money. For ordering information check out Chimera Arts' website at


Jonathan A. Gilbert is a freelance comics writer and editor who is currently working with his buddy Lloyd Smith on a comics history book as well as doing some research for a new project for CE Publishing Group. If you'd like to find out more about CE Publishing Group you can visit their website at

2002-2009 Jonathan A. Gilbert. All Rights Reserved.