Metroland is a comic book series written by Ricky Miller, whose non-linear narrative follows main character muso Ricky Stardust and his out of step relationship with the mysterious Jessica Hill. With Julia Scheele providing covers and art for the present day story-line, Rebecca Strickson the past, and Jazz Greenhill illustrating flash forwards(?) Scheele states on her website that Metroland will have five parts, indicating I hope a self-contained story and satisfying conclusion to come.
Initially Metroland made me cringe a little with its action revolving around 20-something hipsters who are all in bands. So I was relieved when protagonist Ricky Stardust at least admits to being pretentious! Still so many musical references ring true, and then it got personal with Stardust visiting my old haunts; Charring Cross, Greenwich park, and the Intrepid fox pub! It seems ‘Blow Up at the Metro’ a subterranean night club on Oxford street may have inspired the title, and the whole thing starts giving me flashbacks of my own twenties in London. Ha ha!
What I’m enjoying most about Metroland, is the world building. The first clue that Metroland is set in a parallel dimension/alternate history is the tour poster for the aged Beatles all of whom are still alive. Kurt Cobain’s suicide is delayed and there is a conspiracy cult inspired by Bowie. So when the enigmatic Jessica takes Ricky by the hand through a mirror portal in the Metro Club toilets to somewhere, maybe some-when else, I was already clued in that we weren’t in Kansas any more, Toto. (And there’s two more band references for you, did you see what I did there?)
To summarise Metroland is indie comic gold, especially for pop-culture buffs who love spotting music references. Scheele’s art style is perfect for the subject matter, and I enjoy the conceit of other artists taking the different time frames and making them their own. To boot, Strickson’s occasional splash pages in delicate watercolour are a joy to behold. So just what is the nature of Jessica and Stardust relationship? Is it some kind of ‘Time Traveller’s Wife’ type affair? And will Stardust ever become the famous rock star he so wants to be? I for one shall be watching to see how Metroland plays out.
Many thanks to Miller and Avery Hill Publishing for the review copies, and kudos for having an all girl art crew! Metroland is available through indie comic retailers, and direct from the publishers here.
Check out the Beautiful Metroland issue 1 Splash Page -art by Rebecca Strickson- Don’t you want to frame this?!