In an almost abandoned futuristic city, two roller-skating couriers compete to deliver a package. As the tension builds, and bigotry gets in the way, the job gets dangerous and the pair’s lives are put at risk.
Comic creator Joe Palmer has previously worked for classic British anthology comic 2000AD, providing the art for 2018’s dental-themed sci-fi short An Inconvenient Tooth. Grind very much feels like an expanded 2000AD Futureshock. It’s a hugely entertaining stand-alone adventure, a comedy with a twist which turns the whole story on its head.
Grind is an impressive balancing act, managing to be both light-hearted and memorable, fast and considered. It takes its time over introducing it’s two main characters, the competing couriers Tony and Joy. Their edgy office banter feels familiar and friendly, whilst obviously hiding a deeper conflict. But when a courier contract comes in, the pair are off on a non-stop adventure, each trying to outdo the other. More complexity is gradually added to the world, but we’re never lumbered with exposition.
There’s some great art here, with unique character design and a wonderful sense of place. Although its based in a sci-fi city, it avoids any cliches. There’s a charming clunkiness to the place and the characters. This is a world were robots live with ordinary people, where incompetent cops wield massive guns, and were the fasted way to get from A to B is on rollerblades.
There are some nice touches of detail, such as the British style phone box, or the bizarrely bland advertising that can be glimpsed in the background. It also hints at deeper themes of discrimination and violence against minority groups, but never takes itself too seriously.
Joe Palmer’s Grind is available from Gumroad, via his website www.joepalmerart.com