Monday, June 30, 2003

The Rainbow Orchid

(Comic strip)

NEILL says:

The Rainbow Orchid is a comic strip which is currently being serialised in the UK indy anthology, 'BAM!'. It tells the tale of a foolish wager between bumbling aristocrats which is the catalyst for an epic expedition to Asia in search of the mysterious legendary 'Rainbow Orchid'.

It's early days yet, the characters have yet to even make it out of the country, but already the story is a thoroughly charming slice of nostalgia-tinged British adventurism. The dialogue sparkles, a mix of equal parts boys-own romp, literary and mythological allusion and surprisingly well-researched botany. The characters are vibrant and thoroughly likeable. The art, and indeed the whole shape of the enterprise, is clearly influenced to a large degree by Herge (he of the Adventures of Tintin, for our less literate readers). And Garen Ewing does well by the comparison - his art is a fluid blend of intricately observed detail and perfect, pared-down cartooning.

My only gripe with 'The Rainbow Orchid' is that it is clearly conceived of and written as a whole, with an eye on some future collected edition. This makes its current format, split into small installments with a long wait in between, less than ideal. It can be a little hard at the start of each episode to remember what is happening or indeed which of the multifold characters is which, exactly. Nonetheless, it's well worth seeking out. And whenever the inevitable collection does arrive, my word but it will be a beautiful thing.


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