Nich Angell is one of the best comic creators working today. His work, like that of compatriots like Jon Lock, P M Buchan (BLACKOUT), Owen Michael Johnson (Raygun Roads), James Lawrence , Mark Penman (Peabody and D’Gorath) and Andrew Tunney (GIRL & BOY) is defined by an endless enthusiasm and love coupled with some blisteringly smart ideas. In Nich’s case, that’s led to 7String, one of the most entertaining and assured books on the market right now. And there’s about to be even more of it.
7String takes the Final Fantasy-esque notion that music is magic, a tool and a weapon and runs headlong at it. Zachary Briarpatch is the wielder of the 7String, the world’s only guitar sword. Ranged against him is Lars Troubleclef, a wannabe dictator who wants to crush the world of Melodia beneath his heel.
Here’s how Nich describes it:
“7STRING is a classic legendary hero adventure story in a brand new world of melody and music. Our hero Zach wields a legendary seven stringed guitar sword on a mission of vengeance but at the same time complex international politics of a previously utopian world start to fall apart, and war seems imminent.”
In the world of Melodia battles are fought with instrument weaponry, with extremes in volume, adjustments in tempo and changes in key to surprise your opponent. The world is defined by the 4 Clefs, tribes that people align to including;
There’s the Altern Clef, home to the String-Ja ninjas who specialise in dischord and the use of Flat and Sharp as a martial art.
The Brace Clef city states who focus on digital music, electronic synthesizers… keyboard technology.
The Tremor Clef are ancient and wise… specialising in the ‘magic’ of woodwind and brass
…and the Trouble Clef. A rising power under the leader of a new ruthless dictator, specialists in Percussion. Raw power if you keep time, but lethal if you lose your rhythm.”
This is an insanely well realized world and, with volume 2, Nich’s also exploring the in universe card game, ‘Bells’. In fact, he’s even made the cards and when volume 2 is Kickstartered, one of the levels will include a deck of the cards. Even if you don’t choose that, each copy of the book will have the rules and a link to a print-and-play version in the back.
That sort of dedication is a mark of just how good Nich is. A good creator has a passion for the world they build. A great creator holds the door open for other people to come and play too. Nich is undoubtedly the latter and it’s a pleasure to see the world of 7String continue to grow. The first volume is available now from his site and the second is kickstarting now. I’ll be first in line.