Scottish writer Jim Alexander has returned with a new novel Good Cop. It’s a follow-up to his 2018 novel GoodCopBadCop, his contemporary take on the Jekyll and Hyde story which was itself based on his 2014 graphic novel, winnerof the True Believers Award for Best British Comic-book in 2014.

“In Good Cop, Detective Inspector Brian Fisher seeks to put the past behind him and free himself from his ‘Bad Cop’ persona once and for all,” Alexander explains. “But it’s not easy to turn your back on a dark history of depravity and violence. Fisher is about to discover his inner demons won’t let go without a fight.”

In the past Alexander has written for 2000AD, Marvel and DC and today for Graphic Content he reveals some of his influences. This is his choice of the graphic novels you might not have heard of but should have.

A History of Violence

John Wagner and Vince Locke

HeraldScotland: Viggo Mortensen in David Cronenberg's adaptation of History of ViolenceViggo Mortensen in David Cronenberg's adaptation of History of Violence

It’s fair to say that John Wagner is best known as co-creator and chief propagator of Judge Dredd. A History of Violence [later turned into a film by David Cronenberg] sees the writer depart from the sprawl of post-apocalyptic Mega-Cities to modern-day small-town America. The initial premise is a simple one, but brilliant in its execution. A reluctant hero gets his picture in the paper and is recognised by some very bad people from his past. Wagner’s writing never misses a beat, building the tension up to a massively exciting and satisfying conclusion. It’s accompanied by Vince Locke’s art, which is never flashy, keeps you in the moment, and presents every scene to maximum effect. A masterpiece in storytelling.

Bad Company

Peter Milligan and Brett Ewins and others

HeraldScotland:

Take a futuristic Dirty Dozen and place them in a never-ending war against a brutal alien invader. Another simple concept, but it comes alive in the hands of writer Peter Milligan. Chock-a-block with broken, warped and wonderfully evocative characters inside and out, and aided and abetted by deliriously trippy, twisted visuals by original artist, the late Brett Ewins. Unrelenting and gut-clenching. The only thing in Bad Company with a heart is darkness itself.

The O men

by Martin Eden

The most striking aspect of this book is its ordinariness. But that’s no criticism, anything but. Normally we have a superhero team portrayed as dysfunctional characters, who see their powers as much a curse as a blessing, with a pressing need to get together to take on a greater threat.

In the O men, we have superheroes whose powers, in the face of the everyday issues, are incidental. The type of issues we all face in terms of relationships, making ends meet, looking forward to the weekend.

Think of your favourite soap-cum-kitchen sink drama with a sprinkling of superhero powers. It shouldn’t work, but it does. Created from the febrile mind of Martin Eden; it displays the full range of indie punk sensibilities.

theomen.comix.org.uk

The Ballad of Halo Jones

By Alan Moore and Ian Gibson

HeraldScotland:

Best known for comic behemoths Watchmen and V for Vendetta, Alan Moore is also capable of more nuanced work. The Ballad of Halo Jones is deliberately understated and all the better for it. Set in the future, Halo Jones is an ordinary person who finds herself in extraordinary circumstances. We first find her on a shopping trip where timing is everything. Then, in desperate need of a job, she enlists as a soldier in a future war. Finally, she is lover to an all-powerful warlord.

Moore is at the top of his game as he fills in the gaps. Nothing is forced. It’s all about character development, and it’s through this that we care as well. I first read Halo Jones in the late 1980s. Beautifully and meticulously drawn by Ian Gibson, who brings to life images and scenes that have stayed with me all my adult life.

Chief O’Brien at Work

By Jon Adams

Take a secondary character from Star Trek the Next Generation. A Transporter Chief no less. He’s always there, ready to transport the major characters onto the surface of some alien planet or other, but never really appreciated by his peers (or the ship computer for that matter). From such unpromising beginnings is born a cult comedy classic. Jon Adams describes it thus: “For fans of crappy jobs, space travel, and ennui.” And I guess, if it’s on this list, I must be a fan as well!

The book consists of single-page comic strips with the main character always upbeat and happy to help despite the constant putdowns. O’Brien remains statuesque in many of his scenes. Unmoving, someone you wouldn’t notice twice. The result is, by turn, unexpectantly charming, sad, and very, very funny. Chief O’Brien at Work has to be read to be believed.

chiefobrienatwork.com

HeraldScotland:

Good Cop by Jim Alexander is out on paperback and on Kindle and available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.