Watch the skies this coming October! “Dark Matter” is heading your way!

We have finally completed the story and art for Dark Matter, the fourth volume in our graphic novel series The Silent Invasion. For those new to the series, Dark Matter continues the mis-adventures of the Sinkage family (in this volume, Walter Sinkage and his wife, Katie) as they get entangled with flying saucer sightings, UFO-based religious cults and a clandestine network of deep state agencies.

To whet your appetite for more here is the final cover to Dark Matter.

Next time we’ll have sketches, layouts, pencils and final art to preview.

Stay tuned and watch out for the little grey aliens! They’re coming to steal our minds if they haven’t already!

The Silent Invasion: Dark Matter is almost here!

NBM will be releasing Book 4 of our Silent Invasion series in October. This is the first brand new material that we have produced in the series since we did the Abductions story in 2002 (which NBM released as Book 3 last year)

Above you will see a synopsis from the back cover of the book.

Over on his portion of the Blog, Michael has been posting some artwork from the book. Check that out.

Some of you reading this may not be familiar with The Silent Invasion. So for a bit of background information here is the text that we wrote as an Afterward for a french language edition of Book 1 which was published in mid 2020.

The Silent Invasion; Aliens Ate Our Brains

The Silent Invasion was first published by Renegade Press in comic book form in 1986. This volume contains the first six issues and, in the beginning, that was all that there was supposed to be.

We had contributed a couple of back-up Dick Mallet stories to Dave Sim’s Cerebus, published by Aardvark-Vanaheim. When Deni Loubert left Aardvark-Vanaheim to start Renegade Press she asked us if we wanted to develop a series for the new line. We jumped at the opportunity. Michael knew that at that time he had no chance at working in mainstream comics.

As we searched for a topic, our minds turned to our childhood fantasies and fears for inspiration.

During the 1950s, and well into the 1960s when we were growing up, there were numerous UFO sightings across North America. UFO researchers called them “UFO flaps.” Michael in particular was fascinated by these UFO sightings. He grew up in Oshawa, a city located on the north shore of Lake Ontario about 50 kilometres east of Toronto. In looking for diversions and excitement he would, with a couple of friends, spend long evenings staring into the night skies hoping to see one of those mysterious discs visiting us wretched earthlings from the deep reaches of outer space.

Our imagination was fuelled by “bad” sci-fi movies; Fate Magazine; the charlatan, George Adamski, who claimed to have been taken on tours of the solar system by friendly aliens; and the story of Barney and Betty Hill, the New Hampshire couple famously abducted by aliens in 1961.

We thought we could have some fun by creating a series that would follow the adventures of a delusional reporter (Matt Sinkage) as he tries to link the UFO sightings and “alien abductions” of the 1950s and 1960s to the Cold War and the communist witch hunts that were orchestrated by Joseph McCarthy and his crowd of right wing hooligans. And this link would be a deep-state (in the days before we knew what the deep state was) conspiracy run by a shadowy government organization.

The series was always meant to be a light-hearted and somewhat satirical pastiche of 1950s film noir thrillers and science fiction movies.

Visually, Michael looked to the European cartoonists for inspiration. He was first introduced to European cartoonists around 1970-71 through the fanzines Graphic Story World and Graphic Story Magazine. Additionally, he found that he could buy Pilote and Tintin at a smoke shop/pool hall/magazine stand in “culturally-deprived” Oshawa. It was then that he discovered Jean Girard, Hergé, Hugo Pratt; and then later Yves Chaland, Serge Clerc, Jacques Tardi and others. His eyes were truly opened as to what was possible in comics.

The premise of The Silent Invasion is that there is something terribly rotten in the American government. This book and the second volume are set in the 1950s during the time of the communist witch-hunts. But Matt Sinkage, our main character, thinks he is on to something when he believes he discovers evidence that a recent rash of UFO sightings is somehow connected to the so-called communist infiltration of government departments and agencies. What’s never clear is whether the “communists in government” is a cover story to detract from the “alien invasion of earth” or the other way around. And as with any good conspiracy theory, the conspiracy can never be resolved. It can only get more complex.

And now, in 2020, the world has caught up with The Silent Invasion. As we type these words, the Pentagon has just released videos of “unidentified aerial phenomena” – videos which it admits are real, but unexplainable. A President has been elected about whom conspiracy theories abound – was he fairly elected or was there manipulation by foreign or, dare we speculate, alien powers? And we are all locked indoors, fearing the worst from Covid-19!

In the months before the release of the original comic book series, our promotional campaign used headlines such as… “What kind of alien is your neighbor? What kind are you?” and “We are under surveillance! Who do you trust?” and “There are 187 aliens in Congress! Who did you vote for?” These phrases speak to the atmosphere of the 2020s just as much as they did to the 1950s.

Today The Silent Invasion resonates even more: the current president is no stranger to creating, and sustaining, conspiracy theories. It is unlikely that he’s ever seen a conspiracy theory he didn’t like. Is he under the influence of aliens? If so, are they terrestrial or extra-terrestrial?

As we mentioned, The Silent Invasion began as a six issue series in 1986, and that is what you presently hold in your hands. This was a staggeringly innovative year for comic books. Amazing Heroes magazine chose The Silent Invasion as one of the ten best comics of 1986, a list which was topped by Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight and also included Watchmen, Love and Rockets and Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing. We were also nominated for a 1987 Kirby Award for best black-and-white comic of the year (losing to Cerebus by fellow Canadian Dave Sim)

Before we completed those issues we realized we wanted to continue the story, and wrote and drew a further six issues. Several years later, aliens possessed us and forced us to tell yet another tale. And we are currently are working on a brand new story to be published soon.

Hopefully you will enjoy this book enough that Delcourt brings you the next perplexing adventure of Matt Sinkage!

Meanwhile… Watch the skies!

THEY….. are… out… there!!

Michael Cherkas and Larry Hancock

Toronto, Canada

May 2020

For more information on The Silent Invasion click here.

You can follow us on Facebook as well.

You can find Larry’s previous blog posts here

And posts by Michael Cherkas, here

NBM September 2021 Releases

Here are upcoming titles, now being solicited in comic stores through Diamond Previews for an September 2021 release.

NEW

Dungeon: Zenith Vols. 1-2 The Barbarian Princess
Created by Lewis Trondheim & Joann Sfar

DUNGEON IS BACK! With all-new stories coming in November, here are omnibus collections of the first volumes.

Welcome to Dungeon, the looniest world of horror and heroic fantasy you’ll ever be transported into! A spoof of Dungeons & Dragons and all heroic fantasy tropes. This series, a best-seller in many countries, starts with the apogee of Dungeon, a mighty castle filled with monsters, trolls and goblins kept by a wily bird, the Dungeon Keeper, and the object of desire of many an uncouth and disgusting form of life (and afterlife) and Herbert the Timorous Duck is assigned to defend it! Thank goodness, the Dungeon Keeper has assigned Marvin the Dragon, a blood-thirsty, uh, vegetarian, warrior, to his side. 4 full stories in one omnibus volume at a new larger size! (Combines the 1st 2 volumes originally published).

8 ½ x 11, 192pp., full color trade paperback, $19.99, ISBN 978168112280951999; DIAMOND CODE: JUL211800
Pub Date: September 15th 2021

PREVIEWS

 

Dungeon: The Early Years, Vols. 1-2 The Night Shirt
Created by Christophe Blain, Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim

DUNGEON IS BACK! With all-new stories coming in November, here are omnibus collections of the first volumes.

In the sprawling world of Dungeon, the Early Years subseries relates the origins of it. In this first story, you will see the Keeper barely an adult leaving his family to go find fortune in a time of chaos and darkness… Fun, adventure, suspense and… wry satire. Hyacinthe, Dungeon Keeper to be, continues to render justice in a cloak nightly as The Night Shirt and stumbles upon the one he pines for, Alexandra, an assassin, about to be raped! After his valiant and heroic rescue, his wettest dreams come true… with dire consequences.

In the second story which happens quite a few years later, he’s married and a poor husband, worse even, a poor lover, until Alexandra plots to gain him back. Cloak and dagger with romantic bravura! And you thought he didn’t have it in him. Art by Eisner nominated Blain (Gus) and story by legendary Trondheim and Eisner nominated Sfar (Rabbi’s Cat).

8 ½ x 11, 192pp, full color trade paperback, 19.99, ISBN 978168112281651999; DIAMOND CODE: JUL211799
Pub Date: September 15th 2021

PREVIEWS

 

AVAILABLE AGAIN

Dungeon Monstres, Vol.5 “My Son the Killer”
By Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, Blutch, Frederic Bezian

In the title story, we meet Marvin the Dragon still a pup with his Mom but make no mistake, both are formidable. Their ferocity catches the eye of the Keeper who is still making his way up the ladder in Antipolis and has many dangerous enemies. He makes them his bodyguards. Soon enough, crafty little Marvin manages to witness a sinister plot and tries to save the Keeper and the city’s leaders from annihilation.

In “Soldiers of Honor,” Gork and Krag are brothers and soldiers of hell. They keep a secret door in the Dungeon. The door being little used, they get bored, until an old blind man forces Krag, alone on duty that day, to call reinforcements to prevent him from entering. Because he has not fulfilled his mission, Krag is sentenced to be killed by his own brother in the middle of the desert!

6 ½ x 9, 96 pp., trade pb., $14.99; ISBN 978156163937351499; DIAMOND CODE: JUL211803

PREVIEWS

 

Dungeon Monstres, Vol. 6 “The Great Animator”
By Lewis Trondheim, Joann Sfar, Stanislas, Nicolas Keramidas

In an automaton themed volume, ‘The Great Animator’ pits the predecessor to the Vaucanson great castle and realm against a huge army of ruthless invaders. The great castle’s army of battle automatons evens the fight but at great cost.

In the second story, ‘The Inventor’s Grimoire’, the Vaucanson grimoire with the secrets of building automatons has disappeared! If it fell in the wrong hands, much harm could come of it. And indeed, it turns out the greedy Lord Delacour has snatched it with the intention of auctioning it off to the highest bidder!

6 ½ x 9, 96pp., full color trade pb., $15.99, ISBN 978156163998451500; DIAMOND CODE: JUL211804

PREVIEWS

 

Dungeon: Twilight Vol. 4: High Septentrion & The End of Dungeon
By Johann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, Alfred, Mazan

The last two stories of Dungeon!

In High Septentrion, there has been a violent eruption on the planet of Terra Amata. It’s a scramble to find breathable air, but the wizened blind, mystical dragon the Dust King (Marvin) thinks that it is perhaps time for him to die heroically. However the feisty young Marvin the Red refuses to give up and plans to find a way out of this mess, including finding a way to actually breathe… Art by Alfred of “Why I Killed Peter.”

And in The End of Dungeon the more the islets of the planet Terra Amata move upward, the less there is of breathable oxygen. While Marvin the Red and Zakutu, daughter of the Grand Khân, attempt to protect the seven objects of Destiny, Herbert and the Dust King are forced to swear allegiance to the Dark Entity in order to gain access to breathable air. 

All things must come to an end and so it is with the great Dungeon.

6 ½ x 9, 96pp., full color pb, $14.99, ISBN 978156163919951499; DIAMOND CODE: JUL211802

PREVIEWS

 

Dungeon: Zenith, Vol.3 “Back In Style”
By Boulet, Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim

Taking a pause from the Monstres sub-series, the main Zenith mini series is back! This time with the art of Boulet but still written by the Sfar/Trondheim duo. Two stories continue the heyday of Dungeon!

In the first, Isis is to be married to the Keeper but she wants Herbert! Besides, the whole affair promises to ruin the Dungeon completely.

In the second, besides the continued Keeper financial mishaps, Herbert wishes to make his comeback to his hometown where his name is mud. He disguises himself with a potion that makes him ‘the mask of death’. Only one problem: if he laughs, he becomes himself again!

6 ½ x 9, 96pp, full color trade pb., $14.99, ISBN 978156163550451499; DIAMOND CODE: JUL211805

 

Dungeon: Twilight, Vol. 2: Armageddon
Created by Lewis Trondheim, Joann Sfar, Kerascoet

Marvin, saved at the last minute from certain death in a duel by his young warrior admirer Marvin the Red, simply cannot be let to die like he wishes! Whatever he loses, he regains in different powers. He’s even become invincible.

It’s to the point where he’d rather exchange body parts to get back his mortality. But then he is led to a discovery that may make continuing to live actually worth it.

6 ½ x 9, 96pp., full color trade pb., $14.99, PB ISBN: 978156163477451499; DIAMOND CODE: JUL211801

PREVIEWS

NBM August 2021 Releases

Here are upcoming titles, now being solicited in comic stores through Diamond Previews for an August 2021 release.

NEW

CANCIONES OF FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA
By Tobias Tak
Foreword by Joost Swarte
Introduction by Christopher Maurer

Federico García Lorca is one of Spain’s foremost cultural and literary figures. In 1927, he published his masterpiece Canciones, a volume of lyrical poetry. Tobias Tak transformed twenty of these poems into a series of richly detailed and inventive comics. With his boundless imagination, Tak’s illustrations add a new depth and energy to Lorca’s poetry. This collection will appeal to lovers of visual art, graphic novels and poetry and aims to bring the colorful and atmospheric landscape of Lorca’s work to a new audience. Includes an introduction by Lorca scholar, editor and translator Christopher Maurer (“The Collected Poems of Lorca”).

8×10, 160pp., full color HC, $24.99; ISBN 9781681122748; Ebook: ISBN 9781681122755, $16.99; DIAMOND CODE: JUN211657

PREVIEWS

 

AVAILABLE AGAIN

LEONARDO DA VINCI & THE RENAISSANCE OF THE WORLD
By Marwan Kahil, Ariel Vittori

One of the greatest artists of all time, as well as a genius inventor, Da Vinci was arrestingly tall and handsome. This comics bio shows the process of his work and his inventions, his persecution as a gay man and how the changing politics of his country and ebbs and flows of those in power affected him and his career. A turbulent story on an exceptional man. Complemented with back matter on his chronology, list of his oeuvres, etc…

6 ½ x9, 144pp., full color HC, $19.99, ebooks $13.99 (9781681122601).
ISBN 9781681122595; DIAMOND CODE: JUN211658

PREVIEWS

NBM July 2021 Releases

Here are upcoming titles, now being solicited in comic stores through Diamond Previews for a July 2021 release.

NEW

Love Me Please: The Story of Janis Joplin
By Nicolas Finet & Christopher
Foreword by Gilbert Shelton

Love Me Please is a biography in comics of the amazing rock singer Janis Joplin, which recalls, respecting the chronology, the highlights of her journey from childhood, after the Second World War, to her abrupt death in late 1970.

It is one of the most fabulous musical adventures in America of the second half of the twentieth century. Yet it lasted only five years.

How did a very young messed up woman, a drug addict filled with doubt, become in a few years a planetary icon of rock music? She went from the shadows to the blinding light of fame in only four records (the last one issued a month and a half after her tragic death). Thanks to a worldwide movement of emancipation which would consecrate for a long time the ideals and modes of alternative lifestyles from counterculture to the flower power generation, Janis, the ugly duckling, gave free rein to her impulses.

Fed by the thirst for freedom of the Beat Generation and the desire for emancipation expressed by American youth in the early 1960s, Janis Joplin left for San Francisco, the epicenter of cultural innovation. She will live there a freedom of which she would hardly have dared to dream, abandoning herself to all impulses, overcoming without hesitation all the taboos of the time: bisexuality, alcohol, drugs, doing so not only with delight, but with the taste for excess which came naturally from her spontaneous character.

A lively, fascinating story of a woman ahead of her time.

7 ½ x 10, 160pp. full color HC, $24.99, ISBN 978168112276252499; Diamond Code: MAY211583; Pub Date: July 14th, 2021

PREVIEWS


AVAILABLE AGAIN


Bob Marley In Comics!
By Gaet’s and Sophie Blitman

In the middle of a depressing youth in a ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica, Robert Nesta Marley sees only one way out: music. And that music will be what Jamaica made of rock and pop locally that had hardly been heard anywhere else: reggae!

It is Marley who brings the unmistakable beat of reggae to the entire world.

From small stages in Jamaica, his partners of the Wailers accompany him all the way to the most fabulous world tours and adulation. Beyond a rocketing musical career, the most famous rasta wants to shake things up and proclaim all over his humanitarian and egalitarian values.

7 ½ x10,176pp., full color HC: US $27.99HC ISBN: 9781681122449652799; DIAMOND CODE: MAY211585

PREVIEWS


The Rolling Stones in Comics!
By Ceka and various artists

When the Rolling Stones hit the scene in the 60’s, it was to play Rhythm & Blues, nothing more. They are far from imagining that they are not just going to change music but also become the mouthpiece of a changing world. Sticking their tongue out at the establishment with their brilliant music and hard-hitting lyrics, they achieve planetary-wide success.

With Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in the lead, these rebels have become, over fifty years, not just music, but a whole attitude! Through twenty-one stories in comics accompanied by biographical texts and a rich iconography, this book makes you relive, in a totally new way, the incredible epic of one of the biggest rock bands ever.

7×10,192pp., full color Hardcover: US $26.99, ISBN: 978168112198752699; DIAMOND CODE: MAY211587

PREVIEWS


The Beatles in Comics!
By Various authors, Michels Mabel

Here’s the complete illustrated story of the Beatles from their formation, through the Beatlemania phenom all the way through their breakup.

We see how they evolved along with and amplifying the uproar of the sixties, became politically and socially active and have achieved a lasting impact unparalleled in pop music. Chapters combine text and comics for complete information presented in a fun way.

7 ½ x 10, 232pp., full color HC, $29.99; HC ISBN: 978168112187152999; DIAMOND CODE: MAY211584

PREVIEWS


Michael Jackson In Comics
Created by Ceka 

Well beyond his passing in 2009, Michael Jackson remains one of the most adulated and mysterious stars in the world. Incredible singer, brilliant musician, amazing performer, he was just as talented as he was eccentric, adored as well as reviled with sordid accusations, sadly caught between a stolen childhood and a suffocating star system.

Discover in this biography mixing comics and documentary chapters, how the youngest of the Jackson 5 was propelled to the front of the stage and then onto one of the most extraordinary solo careers in music.T

7.5” x10”, 192pp., full color HC, US $26.99HC ISBN 978168112228152699; DIAMOND CODE: MAY211586

PREVIEWS



The Fever Dreams of The Silent Invasion

Lock your doors! Close the blinds! Bar your windows!

Hide your children and especially your pets!!

The little grey men from Proxima Centauri are coming for you, if they haven’t already taken you for a ride through the galaxy!

And while watching out for little grey or green men, look for Dark Matter, the fourth book in The Silent Invasion series coming this October from NBM. And, remember, if you see mysterious glowing lights in your back yard during the middle of the night — run and hide!

Watch the skies! They are here!

NBM June 2021 Releases

Here are upcoming titles, now being solicited in comic stores through Diamond Previews for an June 2021 release.

NEW

THE SECRETS OF CHOCOLATE: A GOURMAND’S TRIP THROUGH A TOP CHEF’S ATELIER
By Franckie Alarcon

Following Jacques Genin for a year, Franckie Alarcon hobnobbed with one of the biggest chefs of Chocolate.

Former chef and pastry chef for prestigious restaurants, this super-talented autodidact shares all his passion and knowledge of chocolate and his process for creating recipes. In this docu-comic, we travel with the starry-eyed author, satisfying many a craving from the chef’s amazing atelier above his store, trying his hand as an assistant, all the way to the Peruvian cocoa plantations where the chef shows how he carefully chooses his beans, starting from scratch.

8 ½ x 11”, 112pp., full color HC, $19.99; HC ISBN 978168112278651999; DIAMOND CODE: APR211819
Pub Date: June 16th, 2021


PREVIEWS

AVAILABLE AGAIN

THE LOUVRE COLLECTION: ROHAN AT THE LOUVRE
Created By Hirohiko Araki


After Glacial Period and The Sky Over the Louvre comes another completely original story with stunning art by a leading mangaka, bestselling author of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

Rohan, a young mangaka, meets a beautiful mysterious young woman with a dramatic story. Seeing him draw, she tells him of a cursed 200 year old painting using the blackest ink ever known from a 1000 year old tree the painter had brought down without approval from the Emperor who had him executed for doing so. The painting meanwhile had been saved from destruction by a curator of the Louvre.

Rohan forgets this story as he becomes famous but ten years later, visiting Paris, he takes the occasion to try and locate the painting. Little does he know how violently powerful the curse of it is until he has the museum unearth it from deep within its archival bowels

7 ¼” x 10 3/8” , 128pp. Full color Hardcover, US $19.99; HC ISBN: 978156163615051999; DIAMOND CODE: APR211820

PREVIEWS

The Stringer – Making of (2)

Hello everyone!

Let’s show a new “making of” for a page of “The Stringer”. As I said in a previous entry, I start by doing a fast schematic scketch directly on the margins of the script sent by Ted.

As you can see, there were initially only 4 panels, but I added three more in order to feel more confortable and give the reader all the information. Lucky me, Ted is a very detailed writer, but also very flexible and open to change if it makes my life easier. So you can see the final 7-panels structure under the text.

Ok, first drawing on the new panel structure:

For the central panel background, supposedly showing a street in Amsterdam, I mixed two photos from a trip I made some time ago. It’s actually not Amsterdam, or even Holland, but Ghent and (I think) Bruges, in Belgium.

And voilà, a beautiful fake view of Amsterdam!

Now let’s move to the inking, adding some extra details: the beard for the first character, the 500-Euro banknotes and the bank statement:

Then I add the plain colors:

Some shadows, the only text balloon, and it’s done! Ready to receive one of those wads of cash in payment for all the hard work! 😁

I hope you liked it! More interesting stuff to come!!

Watch the October Skies for the Return of The Silent Invasion

Dark Matter, Book Four of The Silent Invasion will be released this coming October. This tale of shadowy, out of control, international cabals weaving byzantine webs of deep state conspiracies, fear, and paranoia in an America that may be controlled by mysterious space aliens “continues” in an alternate-world 1970—five years after the “conclusion” of Abductions, the previous book in the series.

The jury is still out on whether The Silent Invasion is a documentary or just the addled ravings of a couple of comic book geeks from southern Ontario.

Here are a couple of finished pages from Chapter Two…

Until next time, stay safe and watch out for those little green men!

The Stringer on wheels

Hello!

I always loved drawing cars, motorcycles and anything with wheels.

My sister-in-law Helena keeps some of my first drawings that I made (aged 3-4 years) in the letters my older brother sent her when they were still sweethearts . Those drawings were invariably of cars, crazy racing stories, influenced by the cartoons “Wacky Races” and “Mach GoGoGo” (she jealously guards those letters in the absurd hope that someday they will have some value, poor little thing!).

Therefore, for someone like me it is a pleasure to illustrate a story written by Ted Rall, in which his characters are always running from one side to the other using all kinds of means of transportation, which he often describes in detail.

If we add that the story takes place in different countries and at different times, as in “The Stringer”, the pleasure of researching, documenting and drawing the appropriate vehicles, borders on lust for me, a maniac of documentation and accuracy.

So, let’s take a look at what we can find in “The Stringer” (in order of appearance in the book):

In the cover, I draw a Land Rover Defender with a lot of life behind it and certainly more than one interesting story to tell. Choosing this model is poetic license, because the quintessential all-terrain vehicle of the Middle East foreign reporters is the Toyota, as we will see later. But I find the Land Rover more beautiful, and it is a kind of tribute to its end of production after 67 years of faithful service.

Let’s go into the story: back in the early 70’s, Mark’s father drives a beautiful, massive, stylish Pontiac Grand Prix.

I would like to think it was the 455 cu in (7.5 L) rated at 310 HP, but I don’t see Mark senior as the wheel-burning type, more of a quiet cruiser. It must have been a pleasure to drive that liner with the V8 purring like a cat.

Fast forward in time: it’s the late 70s – early 80s. Mark enters the paradise of citizens allowed to drive. His girlfriend Patricia drives a white Camaro Z28 with red stripes to break hearts of everyone she comes across (at least mine, if I had crossed paths with her at that time). Mark, meanwhile, rides a fabulous badass Chevy Nova SS.

Anecdote: the Nova was Ted Rall’s first car, as you can see in this photo from his youth, in which Ted tries to convert a sports coupe into a station wagon.

Young Ted is under the boat…

Second anecdote: my first car was my father’s Simca 1200, a French shell rated at astounding 52 hp. It’s certainly not the same…

In that same colour!!

Patricia’s Camaro did not have a very good life; here it is a few years later, showing its scars, limping through heavy traffic on the freeway.

Ok, cut to the 21st century. In the middle East countries, modern Toyota Hilux from news agencies and NGOs and old Soviet UAZ trucks coexist seamlessly.

The Hilux was also, unfortunately, the preferred car of ISIS, to the point that in 2015 the U.S. government opened an investigation (with the collaboration of Toyota) to discover the origin of the hundreds of Hilux that ISIS used for its movements and attacks. Different explanations: jumps to dealerships in countries in conflict, “disappearances” of shipments in Australian ports, unscrupulous intermediaries…

Further north, bus travel in the former Soviet republics is a catalog of jalopies with millions of kilometers on their backs. Here we can see a LIAZ on a road in the middle of nowhere in Kazakhstan.

Roads where you can have the most unexpected encounters: for example, a MAZ 537, a prodigious monster from the heyday of Soviet military engineering, towing an old nuclear missile on its way to dismantling.

But it’s not all transportation hardship for Mark. Sometimes he gets around in style, for example in this Mercedes S500, with which he visits a business partner at a former Soviet factory. His partner still drives around in an old UAZ van that we can see parked in the alley.

Mark’s other partners have more budget and move around in better vehicles. And nothing better for a picnic in the dunes than a huge, massive Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6. And if it´s two of them, much better!!

A Lincoln Navigator is not bad either, and is somewhat more discreet, although it requires certain security precautions depending on the country you are in.

But luxury goes out the window when you have to resort to public transport in northern Pakistan. Although the cheerful and extravagant decoration of its buses is quite a spectacle

Anyway, when things get serious nothing like an old and reliable Toyota Land Cruiser, the king of the tough off-roaders ex-aequo with the Land Rover.

A brief parenthesis to better-known places: a Fiat 500, Vespas… which city could it be?

Too bad the Dolce Vita does not last long. Back to the rough roads of northern Afghanistan, where the ditches are overflowing with reminders that the situation is complicated. The ubiquitous Toyota also dominates the cab market in the Middle East, in this case we see a Hiace minivan.

The bandits in these parts have changed the horses for motorcycles. In the foreground, we have a Kawasaki KLE 500 from the first half of the 1990s.

The second one could be a Honda from about the same era. In any case, tough as nails, virtually indestructible and with minimal maintenance, ideal for ISIS blitzkrieg actions.

And this is the end of the automotive review of “The Stringer”, I hope you liked it!