One More Bullet (2005)

Editor Jason Franks
Publisher Blackglass Press
Writers Jason Franks, Steven Mangold
Art and Colours Jason Franks, J. Marc Schmidt, Nathan Wiedemer, David Richardson
Genre Collection

Talk us through it

A collection of seven original scripts that helped propel Blackglass onto comic radars Down Under. There's been a lot of water under the Blackglass bridge since One More Bullet was released but readers will note that even back in 2005 the Publisher had a firm grasp of the tiger they had helpfully unleashed on an unexpected public. It's like finding the Rosetta stone; suddenly everything becomes very clear, or totally murky, depending on viewpoint.

While Editor Jason Franks hasn't ordered the sub up to periscope depth in preparation for launching a well needed torpedo into the bowels of the music industry, there is a nod toward Eastern anime that will become a recurrent theme in later releases. Each story shows a willingness both for the Writers and Artists to explore differing ideas and to a certain extant to stretch the definition of horror. Long story short, early example of the Publisher's version of what a comic book should do.

Ready to embark on an archaeological dig into the foundations of Blackglass and Jason Franks?


"Well, Mate, I guess the Aliens do watch the movies." - Runyan.

There's an inherent requirement here at ScaryMinds to cover anything remotely to do with horror regardless of when it was released and where it fits into the overall scheme of things. While things threaten at times to cascade into utter chaos we do maintain a system of sorts to pretend we are on top of the review pile. If the item in question is a new release then it gets top priority, the next priority is whatever has seeped to the top of the review pile, and that's about our system. What it lacks in organisational requirements is more than made up for by the simplicity of use. We're simple folk really, and hey the beat has to go on. Out of interest I currently have three novels, two collections of short stories, eleven comics, one graphic novel, and about fifteen movies in my review queue. While that may sound like a lot it pales in comparison to what other general review sites have on their plates. Guess this is an overly long way of saying One More Bullet, a real early Blackglass comic, has surfaced and needs looking at.

Festivities kick off with the titular story that sees Jason Franks having a wry looking at Nazi concentration camps, personal choice, and what should be prayed for. While anything to do with the "final solution" is a dicey proposition, get it wrong and the Zionist lobby will be quite rightly be all over your arse, Franks manages to pull off quite the emotive and unique view of things. The first story will leave you wondering if you believe or not. It's a striking story and certainly makes my top ten of Blackglass yarns. There's something about hard decisions made in hopeless situations that will have most readers high fiving their imaginery friends in appreciation. Buy the comic for this story alone and you will be ahead of the game friends and neighbours.

Camaraderie, set on the fatal shores of Gallipoli in 1915, was certainly topical as we have just finished the ANZAC long weekend. Jason Franks once again threatens to lift the lid on the whole concept of "mateship" and in so doing runs the risk of alienating a hell of a lot of Aussies, and any Kiwis who just might be reading. Actually considering the likely readership of One More Bullet aren't likely to be flag waving bogans, Jason Franks makes a good point of questioning one of the more strongly held myths pervading the Country. I tend to enjoy anything that asks questions and doesn't toe the party line. Camaraderie shows a darker depiction of one aspect of the fallout from Gallipoli and indicates Blackglass aren't leaving anything on a pedestal. It's the bull in the china shop option, nothing is safe from being put under the microscope.

[Editor's Note: Mixed metaphors are a site requirement I guess, letting this one go through to the keeper]

In Dysart's Deal With The Devil we learn hell isn't necessarily the place we thought it would be. You know lakes of burning brimstone, tortured souls, Justin Timberlake concerts 24/7. Hell can be what you have created for yourself, a sort of sleeping in the bed you made notion. Excellent story showing once again you need to get up pretty early in the morning to get one over Old Nick.

While Jason Franks may not be lining up the music industry in One More Bullet, he certainly takes wry pleasure in postulating that Aliens might indeed partake of the finest of Hollywood Science Fiction productions. Since in all Boredwood movies Aliens set on conquering the planet tend to target the U.S of A, then that might be a ready made blueprint. A fine Alien incursion story that features a lot of poo, which is either a metaphor or Jason Franks might just find the whole thing a bit of a giggle in Greetings, Planet America.

Steven Mangold and Nathan Wiedmer chime in with the leaving home yarn Same Old Story "A Twilight Romp", no it has nothing to do with sparkly emo vampires but does conjure up a sort of Speilberg .... feel. Ultimately the tale is simply a slice of life essay that may or may not resonant with readers. If you have ever left a small town for a year or so in a big City then you will probably be onboard this story, what you leave can sometimes have a hell of a lot more meaning to it then what you are traveling to.

Dishonored is one of the few Blackglass stories that sees Jason Franks not only writing the script but also getting his fingers dirty with the ink work. Without giving too much away we are in feudal Japan and learn that honour is in the eye of the beholder. Rounding out the amusing Bedding Down is a chance for a light hearted end to a comic that has travelled some darkened metaphysical streets.

As an added bonus we get Jason Franks taking time out his busy schedule to write an editorial explaining how the comic came about and his relationship to the contributors. Don't worry it's not a major literary work so there's no pain involved and you can get back to the stories straight after.

So the artwork in One More Bullet is a traditional looking Blackglass affair, that is the style is simple without panels being cluttered up with all manner of flotsam. It's all black and white inks with each Artist following their own vision without being constrained by Editorial policy. I'm not entirely sure if we are talking a traditional Australian style here, limited exposure to both domestic and foreign independents, but it's noticeably a Blackglass comic. Everything, as one would expect from a Blackglass comic, is neat and tidy, and incredibly easy to read. There's not a lot more that I'm looking for in terms of panel artwork to be honest.

Summary Execution ...

I've been waiting to get my hooks into One More Bullet and I was not disappointed when I finally found the time to sit down with the comic. There's certainly some meat on the bone in terms of commentary and enough irrelevance to have even the most cynical sitting up and taking notice. I had a hoot with the whole thing and was pretty happy to have been given the chance to check out an early Blackglass release.

One More Bullet is available to purchase online right herer for the very reasonable tariff of $6.60 (GST included there).

If into underground comics then One More Bullet will appeal as it lines up the lifeboats and strafes them indiscriminately. It's not every day you get to check out an early release from a Publisher, normally they simply "out of stock" things, so the comic is well worth looking at purely from a historic point of view. The plus side is you get some solid stories to immerse yourself in.

ScaryMinds Rates this read as ...

  Very solid one off comic from the folks at Blackglass Press that is with checking out.