The Best Of British: It’s The Return Of DCI Harker – Your Last Chance To Fund!

by Richard Bruton

An old favourite returns! If you love a good police procedural, want to see stunning, crystal clear artwork, a story that just races along, and enjoy a dash of good old-fashioned dry comedy – Harker by Roger Gibson and Vince Danks is exactly the book you’re looking for – and it’s your last week to get in on the Kickstarter.

How good is it? Well, someone (me) said this about it the first time around…

A great detective thriller with an intriguing story, wonderful art, cracking dialogue and moments of out and out comedy … an absolute triumph of a comic.

And I’ll stand by that this many years later.

Harker has a long history to it, one I’ve been in on from the very first self-published issue in 2009. Gibson and Danks, as Ariel Press, put out 12 black & white issues of the comic, then collected it in two volumes – The Book of Solomon and The Woman in Black. Then there was a publishing deal with Titan that put the comic on hold and was meant to publish hardcover editions of the first two collections and an as-yet still unpublished volume 3. In the end, all we saw was the hardcover Book of Solomon in 2012.

So, eight years on and what do you know, I get the chance to bang on about what a wonderful series this is and how it’s absolutely the perfect example of just what I mean by the ‘Best of British’ tagline.

Because Time Bomb Comics is running a Kickstarter right now (last few days to go) to publish Harker: The Book of Solomon – Part One, collecting the first half of The Book of Solomon with new colours by Ben Lopez.

The Kickstarter blew through the modest goal early on and has been pushing towards multiple stretch goals. It’s got a few days left and it’s definitely a book you should be looking to pick up.

Limited print from Vince Danks – Harker stretch goal #2

This first volume of The Book of Solomon follows grumpy, eccentric DCI Harker and his comedy sidekick, the equally eccentric DS Critchley (of course, the similarities to Gibson and Danks are completely uncoincidental). They’re called in as multiple murder specialists when a series of gruesome murders take place near the British Museum.  All the clues seem to point to something suburban, middle-class, and satanic, or at least that’s what DS Critchley thinks. Harker’s less convinced, something he takes great pains to point out to poor Critchley, suffering yet another dressing down (a regular feature of their relationship).

So begins one of the most disturbing of Harker’s cases to date. And from there, it all goes off in all sorts of incredible directions. It’s the sort of book that’s going to grab you from the first ten pages and simply doesn’t let go. It’s part cop procedural, part X-Files, part CSI, and all brilliant.

(Another gorgeous Vince Danks stretch goal limited print)

And throughout it all, as you’re being propelled along by Gibson’s storytelling, crackling dialogue and some absolutely dry as you can get comedy, you’ll also get to marvel at Danks’ magnificent artwork. His figure work is lovely, crisp and so clean, as you can see from the pages included here as part of the press pack.

But he’s also one of the finest background artists this side of Gerhard – incredible cars and simply beautiful architecture, something Gibson really plays up to, allowing the story to open up throughout the book and giving Danks the chance to really go wild with the breathtakingly scenery and architecture!

The plan, according to Roger Gibson, is this…

“We’ve been delayed (like everyone else) by the virus, but we’re now on schedule for the next couple of years with Time Bomb, who are releasing both Harker and our new comic Mad Girl.

The first two Kickstarters will be for colour versions of Harker: The Book of Solomon, and from then on they’ll alternate, with (hopefully) two Harker volumes and two Mad Girl volumes each year until at least the end of 2022, possibly on-going if they’re successful.” – Roger Gibson, writer, Harker

And this from Steve Tanner, Timebomb publisher and wearer of the best jackets in comics:

“The projected publication dates for Harker volumes are November and May. The likely pre-order campaign for Book of Solomon Volume 2 will be in February but it’s subject to the colouring work by Ben Lopez being on track to meet the date.

Mad Girl would be slotted between those, not necessarily exactly halfway and depending on both when the art pages are completed and allowing for a lead production time. Thus, no dates can be provided for Mad Girl as yet, but it is coming and it will be fabulous.

Those are the facts as I would relay them to DCI Harker.” – Steve Tanner, publisher, Timebomb Comics

And finally, if you’re wondering about the aforementioned Mad Girl, another Gibson & Danks production that will be Kickstarted at some point in the future from Timebomb, Gibson has this to say…

“It’s Emma Peel crossed with John Wick, Barbarella, James Bond, the Black Widow and Daffy Duck, if they were all driving awesome cars, fighting sexy female robot hockey players and snogging in the bike shed afterwards.

Oh, and secret bases, those too. And shooting. And explosions. All drawn by Vince like a god.” – Roger Gibson – writer, Mad Girl.

Oh yes, now that sounds like something we’ll be looking forward to as well!

Now, three interior pages for you from Harker – The Book of Solomon Book 1 by Roger Gibson, Vince Danks and Ben Lopez. Published by Timebomb Comics later this year.

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