DCI Harker and DS Critchley are the proverbial
chalk and cheese of police.
Harker is a gruff and shop-soiled individual
with a keen eye for detail and a
most cynical tongue. His bald bold aide, meanwhile,
is something of
a ladies man who sports a natty line in slick black
suits and a quip for
In their first full-length assignment - "The
Key of Solomon" - Harker and
Critchley investigate an horrific ritual killing
close to the British Museum,
in London. The
six-issue path of deduction leads them to an Occult group
with sex and death on their minds. Then, in "The
Woman in Black", the
duo stumble upon a murderous game of cat-and-mouse
in Whitby that
seems to have been lifted straight out of an Agatha
It would spoil things to go into any more detail
about either case, but suffice
it to say, both stories are rollicking, riveting
reads. Danks' architectural panels
are almost photographic in detail, and they're
married beautifully to Gibson's
dialogue, which is pinprick sharp.
Harker and Critchley seem to have sprung
into action fully-formed. They're not comic
cyphers, they're a living, breathing
detective duo who might well have stepped
straight out of an ITV drama.
DCI Harker takes his cue from Jack Frost,
or Lieutenant Columbo, though
he's still very much his own man, with his own
particular "look"; a creased
grey linen jacket, and converse-style trainers.
He's forty-plus, he's been
around the block enough to have had his enthusiasm
for life eroded to
cynicism, but his attire suggests he's still
clutching at his youth. He hasn't
lost his zest for life quite yet, despite
Oh, can you see? - You can get all that detail
about the character, just
from his appearance. That's why this is a winner.
It takes itself seriously.
And it's clear that each real-life has been
researched and documented
just as meticulously. It feels like you're
there, on the case, with
Gibson and Danks are actually old pros on
the comics and small press scene
(see their bios here
In 1997, Vince Danks set up his self-publishing
Press in order to bring us "Sapphire", and latterly,
called "Raven". Both of these projects
explored the notion of creating a cracking
Saturday night tv show in comic form, but
Danks himself says that for a
variety of reasons, the finished articles never
But Harker works brilliantly.
The comic was born out of a discussion at the Birmingham
Comic Expo, in 2008.
Vince had shown particular interest in a quirky
detective character called Griffin
that Roger had created for the "Raven"
anthology, a decade earlier. Griffin swiftly
became Harker and he and DS Critchley were presented
to the market via a
special preview - Issue Zero - before the
comic launched officially as an
ongoing monthly, in April 2009.
Gibson and Danks have completed just the two
"Harker" mysteries, thus far.
They made for a twelve-issue run that concluded
in March 2010. Both have
been collected into trade editions. Roger
has also completed the first draft or
two for a proposed standalone Harker novel.
"The Murder Club" takes
in Mayfair, in between those first two comic book
then, however, things have been rather quiet because the creators
have been involved in protracted negotiations to
relaunch Harker on a bigger
comics stage, via a mainstream publisher. It's
all very exciting, but it
means that fans like us have had to wait a
painfully long time for their
next case. The hiatus has been simply murderous!
Book One: The Key of Solomon
Six monthly issues - April-September 2009
Book Two: Murder By the Book
monthly issues - September 2009-March
The Murder Club
a Harker novel by Roger Gibson - coming soon!
your copy(s) of Harker direct
from Ariel Press
The official site for all things Harker,
with extra info, a regular
blog and - most importantly - comics
and books to purchase
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