I will say up front, the inclusion of James Stokoe in a Master Class may be a bit premature, as every other artist included in the series has longevity and years of me pouring over their art on their side. I will also say that I’ve only finished Orc Stain, so I won’t profess to be a Stokoe expert by any stretch of the imagination.
More than anything I want to say that Orc Stain has done more for my passion for comics in six issues than some other comics have done in thirty. Clever fun writing, intricate detailed pages that will have you pouring over them for hours, and gorgeous colors make this a book not to be missed.
I always hate summarizing books in a sentence or two, because that takes the magic out of checking out the story, but here’s Amazon’s summary, if you’re the kind of person looking for a two sentence distillation of six issues of awesome: “For a million millennia the world has cracked and convulsed under the indomitable mob of the orc. Savage, bloodthirsty creatures, they are without number, staining nearly every corner of the globe. The mighty Orc Tzar, newest leader of the mob, marches ever north to find the lost organ of a forgotten god. Only a lone, one-eyed orc with a mysterious gift can find the key to breaking the cycle forever.”
The dude loves drawing phallus shapes almost as much as he loves putting intricate painstaking detail into every page. I wasn’t ever super put off by this, and it adds to the slimy foreign world that is Orc Stain. Everything oozes, strains, brakes, as most of the Technology in Orc Stain is of the Flinstones variety: living, breathing, objects. Birds serve as sniper rifles, bears as safes, slugs as prisons-you’re just waiting for one of these animals to mutter, “It’s a living.” to the viewer.
His art is one part Otomo, one part Miyazaki, and two parts wholly his own. The craziest thing is legend has it that he grips his pen in a claw like fist:
Insane, right? Definitely a talent to watch going forward. You can pick up Orc Stain from Amazon here, and I highly recommend you do, as I’ve seen the prices for TPB go well over MSRP when it gets rare. As for me, I’m off to pick up issue 7. Also keep an eye out forSullivan’s Sluggers!