Reading Orc Stain was a surreal experience for me. Having known James Stokoe for over eight years now, I've seen him grow into an artistic powerhouse. But in my mind, I have a hard time reconsiling the man that spent a night in a hotel bathtub drawing comics with the one that now possesses his own monthly series from Image Comics. Like I said, it's a bit surreal, but I couldn't be happier or prouder.
With my personal anecdote out of the way, I need to address one more thing before I finally get into the book itself. The last time I bought a single issue of any comic was Casanova, during the first series (the notes from Fraction at the back were too good to miss). I've been a trades-only man for years now, and going back into singles has been rough for me, especially given that I used to comsume James' work as complete. Even in his webcomics days, he'd release new pages on a much more frequent basis than once per month. Not to mention his two complete Wonton Soups that were released as OGNs.
Finally getting around to Orc Stain itself...
The opening pages, are simply madness strewn across the page. Orcs as far as the eye can see, engaged in ever-lasting war. The Orktzar emerges, makes a profound impression on all, and quickly exits. Weeks after reading the issue, the scene still stands out vividly in my mind. Things change abruptly, however, as our main character One Eye is introduced and goes to work cracking an ingeniously designed safe. He seems to be in a bit of a rut, and in a species where everyone only looks out for themselves, One Eye's lone companion isn't any help. It's a fantastic first issue that sets the stage wonderfully, and with Stokoe at the helm, anything is possible.
Carry on, my crazy brother.