"I love The Phoenix. It celebrates that wonderful marriage between words and pictures and its blend of excitement and wit and sheer raucous fun is exactly what readers need today. Philip Pullman.
The Phoenix Comic launched in 2012 is produced by a small family run business. Released every Friday, it is packed with brilliant non-gender stories by some of the best story writers and illustrative creators in the UK. This for me is the reason why it's going from strength to strength. It's definitely not a market that we dominate in the UK and is a much needed outlet.
It recently celebrated its 200th issue and became the first independent comic in the UK to reach this position for over 40 years. This is an amazing achievement and one that we will, hopefully, continue to enjoy for many more years to come. What is even more fantastic is that each issue is jam packed full of stories, puzzles and perhaps a competition or two, but absolutely no advertisements, which is very rare to find indeed.
Tamsin and the Deep was featured in the Phoenix on a weekly basis back in 2014. Now we can explore this wonderful adventure in one volume, which is due to be published by David Fickling Books on February 4th.
As you fling open the cover, you'll find a mesmerising swirl of vibrant colour, so take a deep breath and dive into the bottom of the endless sea.
When Tamsin washes up on the beach after wiping out her body board, she's surprised to learn that she's been missing for weeks. From the very start you will be asking the following questions: What happened? Why did it happen to her? Where has she been?
The narrative produced by Neill Cameron/Kate Brown is very clever; it feels like it could have been written for any age. The story will suck you in like a shipwreck; the further you dive the more you will find on board. The book has been inspired by English Folklore, which is very much on show. This, to me, gives it a dark and somewhat grim edge to the whole story. The fantastic illustrations are a perfect marriage to the plot and tone done by Kate Brown/Neill Cameron.In fact they work together in perfect harmony.
This is a story about a deadly curse inflicted on Tamsin and her family. She is a feisty and courageous teenage female heroine who has a brother Morgan that we don't know that much about. The first depicted images of the characters, to me, look like they are sporting Star-Trek outfits, which actually made me chuckle. Nevertheless, you will encounter a fantastic adventure, a long forgotten world of ancient magic and a fight for Tamsin to save her brother from a grizzly death. The Mermaid from hell will have you running for cover as she lurks with malicious magical intent! You have been warned.
Tamsin needs to change the course of history to save her brother. Armed with a magic stick and a fist full of courage, you will love the drama as it unfolds. It's brilliantly vivid and super cool; an extravaganza of images and narrative that will explode in your imagination with every page that is turned. Pick up this pocket-sized edition so that you can relive the moments again and again. Watch out for more Tamsin Thomas as she is due to return in 'Tamsin and the Dark', but for now she now needs to save the world.
Other Phoenix book recommendations:
The Pirates of Pangaea: Book 1 - Dan Hartwell and Neill Cameron
The Mystery of the Crooked Imp - Conrad Mason and David Wyatt