Do you like Star Wars?
Do you like Final Fantasy?
Do you like Scott Pilgrim?
If your answers to all three of the above questions is ‘yes’, then you should totally read the resulting amalgamation of them, the amazing 7STRING by UK comic book artist/writer Nich Angell. If your answer was ‘no’ to any of them, well, you should check it out anyway.
I first happened upon 7STRING a year and a half ago at the 2011 London Film & Comic Con, where I picked up the first issue, titled ‘Track One: How One Song Ended And Another Began’. Before I go on further, I should explain the premise of 7STRING. It takes place in a world of music… literally. The universe is sustained by an over-arching melody. Instruments are used as weapons (e.g. the guitars), as technology (e.g. the keyboards and synths), as ways for the characters to express themselves, or to do deadly battle. The world map is my particular favourite, as all the locations are named after music… to paint you a picture, there’s continents named C-Major and C-Minor, the continent at the top of the map is named Crescendo, then there’s the Rifflands and Sopranopolis, and my particular favourite: the ocean in the middle of the map is named ‘Middle Sea’. I’m a musician myself, so this had me in fits of giggles. I’m one day hoping for a bottomless chasm called Drop D or something…
So anyway, when I first met Nich at the LFCC, I got myself a copy of the first issue, which was a prologue. It introduces us to the main character, Zach, who one day finds a magical 7-stringed (title drop!) guitar sword. He quickly masters it, and then, in his sixteenth year, boom, tragedy strikes when Lars Troublecleft appears, desiring world domination and – that was the end of Track One! Like all classic narratives, this was ‘The Set-Up’.
Fast forward to October 2012 and I’m at the London MCM Expo, one of the UK’s biggest comic conventions. Nich was promoting the first full-blown volume of 7STRING, which featured the updated Track One with brand new shiny pages, and continued the story with Track Two and Three. It introduces us to more characters, including inventor-of-keyboard-blades Liph, bikini-clad-assassin Efex Petal, and she-thinks-she’s-useless-but-watch-this-space-I-bet-she’s-gonna-kick-some-major-ass Nette. The pages juggernaut through the story as the world of 7STRING plunges into a musical war between the major ‘Clefs’ of the world caused by the (admirable) ambition of the crazy haired Lars Troublecleft. Exactly what does he want, and what trials must the heroes face? You’ll have to read it to find out!
Stylistically, the artwork is rather incredible. It’s like… nothing that I’ve ever seen before, yet instantly familiar, as if its blended about a hundred different art-forms into one. The best I can do to describe it is if manga was crossed with Matt Groening. Angell has a very intelligent and deep colouring to the comic, and wacky designs for his characters – from musical dragons to the brilliant and mysterious ‘Tuner’, each one stands out in their own memorable way. Almost every page could easily be a still drawing in its own right.
Overall, ‘7STRING: Volume One’ is the start of something wonderful. Hopefully I’ve convinced you, O Wonderful Reader, to give it a try. It can be purchased here: http://www.nichangell.co.uk/7STRING.html
Also, if you’ve read the comic and like what you see, and have a spare dollar or two, go ahead and donate on Nich’s Kickstarter page so he can work on 7STRING full-time and get the next volume out this side of Christmas 2014! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/234373302/7string-volume-2?ref=live
Nich’s work and updates on 7STRING can also be checked out at his DeviantArt page: http://netherflux.deviantart.com/
Alex resides in the quaint little island known as the United Kingdom. As such, he enjoys buck-teeth, top hats and monocles, and speaks in a very posh accent. He was kicked out of Hogwarts for practising the Dark Arts and now works as a receptionist aboard the Death Star.