Sign of the Hammer!

Monday, 27 October 2014

PARAGON #17: One Hump or Two?

Blimey, it’s been a while since the blog got an update. I’ve had plenty of things bubbling away in the formative stages, but not much out on the proverbial shelves to talk about. I can’t say I’ve got much more out this month – just an eccentric little three-pager in PARAGON #17 – but it’s not like I need an excuse to wax lyrical in a self-indulgent manner, so here’s the gen on Spencer Nero and the Dry Camel.

The first thing to mention is that this tale is taken in large part from American history and folklore – specifically the legend of the Red Ghost of Arizona, a camel with a headless military rider. Remarkably, camels were imported into the US in the 1850s for work in more arid regions – unfortunately, their surly dispositions and general unreliability made them less of an improvement on mules than might have been hoped. The ‘star’ of this particular story is the surliest of ‘em all – but that’s camels for you. They’re like the wasps of the mammal world, in terms of temperament. 

Despite this, the title of the tale hails from a song whose lyrics suggest an uncharacteristic (and, dare I say it, decidedly unwholesome) fondness for our dromedary chums - ‘From a Dry Camel’, by the wonderful early-70s rockers Dust. Spooky, psychedelic, and unutterably desert-y – and to partner it, I also sneaked the title of an equally atmospheric song by contemporaries Mountain into the narration. Bonus points if you can spot it. I am nothing if not shameless in parading my influences.
Art (and letters) are by the lovely Jim Cameron. This is the first story of mine Jim has drawn and he’s done a smashing job – although his style is cartoony, the camel is not without a sinister streak, and at times has a dose of Richard Corben-style creepiness about its sneering visage. (Jim also lends his charms to another rhyming Ganesh tale elsewhere in the issue.)

Meanwhile in PARAGON, the pages are dominated once more by a welcome double hit of El Chivo’s art on both Jikan and El Bigote. There’s also a chilling three-page one-off written by Davey Candlish and drawn by Baz Renshaw (new to PARAGON? One to watch - this story might be my favourite bit of the issue) along with a spot of two-fisted trans-temporalism in Bulldog and Panda. A line-up that, unlike the aforementioned camel, really holds water and is nothing to spit at!

“But wait,” you say. “A two-pager last time and a three-pager this time – aren’t you writing any longer PARAGON stories?” I’m glad you asked – and all being well, before the year is out, you might just see something a bit more substantial making its long-awaited (by me, anyway) debut in the magazine – something involving music, murder, mystery...  and this man:

Coming soon - Candlish permitting!


  1. I've been trying to get Baz involved with PARAGON for years, this is the first time all the planets have aligned to make it happen. That strip was originally meant to be in the recent AAIIEEE!!! anthology but Baz had other commitments and couldn't make it in time - thankfully he completed the strip anyway. I think it was worth the wait.
    Wotan Walks in Weimar will definitely start in #18 - it's the star of the show!

  2. Yes, definitely worth the wait - Baz is clearly a real talent. Well-paced, pitch-perfect story, and he absolutely nails the final panel. Great stuff.