Slaine: The Book Of Scars by Pat Mills, Clint Langley, Mick McMahon, Glenn Fabry and Simon Bisley (graphic novel review).

‘Slaine: The Book Of Scars’ is a beautiful book. Not only is it packed with some of the most gorgeously bloody fantasy artwork ever to grace the pages of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic (‘2000AD’ in case you’ve been living in the Underworld for the last 35 years), but it’s also packed with trivia, observations and tributes from writers and artists.


Created in 1983, Slaine has been a popular character in ‘2000AD’s cast. A punk Conan, by way of Celtic heavy metal, he’s taken on all manner of demons, gods and monsters and sent them all packing. Now thirty years on, this collection of artwork is presented alongside the collected story ‘The Book Of Scars’ where Slaine revisits (with the artists and writers) some of his greatest tests.

The tales revisited in ‘The Book Of Scars’ showcase a variety of styles. Massimo Belardinelli’s detailed and downright pestilent style is perfect for its depiction of undead ghouls. Contrast this with Mike McMahon’s black and white art for ‘Sky Chariots’, a more punkish style (he also worked on ‘Tank Girl’) but utterly suited to Slaine’s action pieces. Compare this again to Clint Langley’s ultra-real yet bewitching art bathed in bright moonlight. It’s hard to fault the creativity and love bestowed upon the character.

‘The Art Of Slaine’ section is equally as thrilling, as writers and artists like Pat Mills, Garth Ennis, Simon Bisley, Clint Langley and Glenn Fabry all make contributions and discuss all of the appearances of ‘Slaine’ within the comic. All the ‘Slaine’ covers are here, lovingly rendered and set out. It’s almost a history of the changing attitudes that ‘2000AD’ itself had to presentation and content. Snippets of trivia are to be found throughout. For example, did you know that Slaine’s ‘Lord Of Beasts’ was only the second time in the comic’s history when one character took over an entire issue or that Ukko was originally meant to be a Finnish dwarf so that Pat Mills could explore other mythologies? It’s all here!

All in all, this is a fantastic artbook and shows how well Rebellion are treating some of ‘2000AD’s finest. If you’re a Slaine fan, it’s a must. If you’re a ‘2000AD fan, it’s a must, too, and if you enjoy bloodthirsty fantasy artwork then, guess what, it’s a must. That’s three reasons to own ‘Slaine: The Book Of Scars’ and I didn’t think it too many!

John Rivers

November 2013

(pub: 2000AD/Rebellion. 192 page graphic novel hardback. Price: £19.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78108-176-1)

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