Epic Beards of Review: Ugli Studios Presents #2

Jason Lenox stalked me over Facebook.

He’d found me through some sort of sleuthing, but I’m kind of glad he did. As a local illustrator, he sent me a PDF of his Ugli Studios Presents #1 so I could review it over at The Oracular Beard. I’m not a fan of reading my books over the interwebs, but enjoyed it immensely, and sought him out at Nittany Con, an itty-bitty convention about twenty miles from my hometown.

Being a writer myself (Jason an illustrator—always looking for an in) it was great to jaw about his work and not the least of which was his convention  upkeep and how he uses Kickstarter to fun his projects. It’s always a nice feeling supporting a friend, so a hardcopy of USP #1 and The Art of Jason Lenox were easy to walk away with.

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Not to mention dreams of grandeur about one day getting my work out there.

And the fun didn’t stop there.

Jason had a new Kickstarter campaign starting up in which he was illustrating David Paul’s The Painted Ladies of San Quentin. I eagerly signed on for the appropriate level of hardcopy goodness and hunkered down to wait.

I swear, every time a new page was finished, there was an email from Lenox’s page ready to share. Things were looking good, but nothing compared to having the final product in my hand. And oh, how it all came together.

Painted Ladies takes us back to the wild west of America 1850. What looks straight from a Sergio Leone spaghetti Western Paul and Lenox ramp up the action quickly as the sheriff’s whore puts a price on Elijah Holman’s head. No use for the “Dead or Alive” shenanigans here, Jessica Belmont would rather just have him dead, damn her conscience.

The use of sepia tone really gets the feel for the old West and the flashbacks in black and white are a nice touch. The paneling is fun and quite like something you’d expect from a Tarantino flick. Plenty of action and memorable characters make the opening twenty-two pages legit.

The next six pages are a gem written and illustrated by Brian Allen. The Courier delivers you right into the action with some guy keeping this box away from some nasty-looking insectoid aliens. Nice one-and-done story tucked away tight.

Thirteen is another six-page creep-fest with a dark, twisted feel written and illustrated by Joseph Freistuhler. Has that Vertigo bend to it that you’d find tucked away in an anthology. Could see this taking off into something larger, along the lines of Fringe or The X-Files. You can just imagine this oozing with history.

Great sophomore effort from the Ugli Studios team.  Buy yourself some of his work here, or donate to his Kickstarter for the new black-and-white (un)Painted Ladies!