Zarjaz #23, edited by Dave Evans and Richmond Clements

Comic: Zarjaz, issue 23
Release date: March 2015
Editors: Dave Evans and Richmond Clements
Writers: Lee Robson, Stuart Catley, J.J. Robinson, Adam Breen, Alexi Conman, Matt Sharp and  Martin Currie
Artists: Alfie Gallagher, Stuart Catley, Mike Bunt, Jim Lavery, Roland Bird, David Broughton and Martin Currie
Cover: Mark Harrison, full-colour
Interior: black/white
Synopsis: Zarjaz is a non-profit fanzine based upon 2000AD. The fanzine is an anthology, publishing stories from within the realm of 2000AD. Some of the current writers and artists of 2000AD started their journey here, between the pages of Zarjaz

The Deal

A kind soul on Twitter pointed me in the direction of FutureQuake Press and I was invited to contact them by one of the editors. I did and two digital issues for review purposes were emailed to me. This is the second one I will be reviewing. I have to admit I'm feeling a little anxious because I know nothing of 2000AD except for a couple of Judge Dredd comics I've read and having watched the movies. Let me start this review by saying that I think the wraparound cover art by Mark Harrison is absolutely stunning.
I'll have to drop the 'The Feel' section for this review because there's no hard copy to review.

The Stories and the Look

Seven stories are collected in this Zarjaz issue. I enjoyed all of them. They are fun, moving and readable, even if you are not up to speed on 2000AD or Judge Dredd (like me). The artists who worked on these stories have done an excellent job. They worked with the stories they were given and made them come to life with their artwork in a way that complimented the story. The art is often crisp, clean and straight forward in a typical comic style that does best when working in black/white. I will not be reviewing all the stories separately, but rest assured all of them have their own appeal and are obviously well-crafted. 
Special mention must be made about these stories:

Anderson PSI Division - In the Line of Duty
It's the open style and perfect use of grey-scales works well for this fun story. The story can be enjoyed by young and old alike. The writing, by Lee Robson, is done with the precision of a skilled surgeon and made me laugh in all the right places. The 'Freeze creep!' line is the best of these funny moments. Though you can probably easily predict the ending it is nevertheless an enjoyable journey and one that I would let my eight year-old read. 

Future Shock - The Ballad of Phat Toone 
Writer J.J. Robinson and artist Mike Bunt team up for this story. It starts out with a serious ass whooping, but quickly turns into a funny story about a bad egg that had me laughing out loud on several occasions. Tight lines from Mike Bunt, no cluttered backgrounds and straight forward artwork that matches perfectly with this entertaining story.

Judge Dredd - Primal Scream
The Chief Judge calls out Judge Dredd for a duel at the annual Judges Combat Tournament. Again a very good story, with some funny notes and artwork which benefits from being in black/white. Very well executed by writer Adam Breen and artist Jim Lavery.

Tales of Mega-City One - Partners
Alexi Conman (writer) and Roland Bird (artist) team up for this life lesson in being a Judge and show us there is more to life than love. Well executed story that doesn't get solved until the very last panel. The art is open, showing a lot of white and invites you to really look at the characters.

The Conclusion

Because I am not aware of all the ins and outs of 2000AD I probably did not get all the inside jokes but that doesn't detract from the comic. I'm throwing my fear of 'not getting it' out the door. This is fun, cool, exciting and I don't have to read everything there is on 2000AD to really enjoy these fun stories. It is a perfect fanzine as it does actually entice me to actually go and read some 2000AD or Judge Dredd comics. Since reading this I've re-watched the latest movie and I'm now actually thinking of actively acquiring 2000AD and Judge Dredd comics. I can't think of a better compliment to give to this fanzine. When I next visit the UK I will keep an eye out for this fanzine and I will take it home with me. My collection requires a hard copy. 

How to get a copy

You can order a hard copy straight from the FutureQuake Press website. One issue will set you back 3,00 GBP plus shipping. They also sell back issues as well as issues from other publications they run. You can read the latest about FutureQuake Press via Twitter @FqQuake or their website. If you find Zarjaz in a store, or if you're a store owner and you sell Zarjaz then let me know and I'll post your details here.

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