12:43pm PT by Graeme McMillan
Daily Mail Slams 'Battle Royale'-esque Indie Comic 'Royal Descent'
It's a classic case of controversy building brand awareness: Even before it's released, a little-known British independent comic that throws the Royal Family into a Battle Royale-style fight for survival has been described as "sick," "sensationalist" and "distasteful" by a major U.K. newspaper.
Royal Descent comes from Scottish publisher Black Hearted Press, and features a thinly veiled alternate royal family -- with "Queen Eleanora II" replacing Queen Elizabeth II and "Prince Cedric" replacing Prince Charles -- being exiled to a remote island off the coast of Scotland where they have to fight each other in televised conflicts for the entertainment of a bloodthirsty nation.
According to the Daily Mail, complaints from comic fans have been flooding in since the series was announced, with the series' writer John Farman admitting that he believes "this is possibly the most controversial comic book to ever come out of the United Kingdom." (Clearly, he doesn't remember the reaction to 2000 AD's infamous Big Dave strip by Mark Millar, Grant Morrison and Steve Parkhouse.)
Farman went on to remind the paper that "this is a comic and that I deal with fantasy. I've had some negative reactions, which I think is interesting. … I think it's very important to understand that with such a controversial subject matter that criticism is totally valid, in the same way criticism of a film or novel is totally valid." Unsurprisingly, he didn't add that if said criticism could also raise the profile of the comic in question, then all the better.
Royal Descent is hardly the first series to enjoy the "Everyone is forced to fight to the death, isn't it awful but also thrilling?" buzz in recent years. In addition to the obvious Hunger Games reference, Marvel Comics released its own take on the idea, Avengers Arena, last year. If people should get outraged about anything, it's that the royal family couldn't get themselves a part in something a little less tired. Isn't there a Pacific Rim ripoff that could be done with the royals fighting kaiju or something?
Royal Descent is released in the U.K. on Nov. 6.