This is the second part of my attempt to read through the 100 comics in the SXSW Submit bundle from Comixology. The first part is here.
I do have a new appreciation for editors. In college, I helped edit the arts magazine, so I’m somewhat familiar with what puts the slush in slush pile. (There was a lot of crap.) But in this bundle, there are quite a few technically competent comics that I simply do not like for one reason or another. So I empathize with the editor who gets good stories that do not match the tone of her magazine or fit his particular tastes. It still doesn’t mean I’m any more happy about the rejection when it happens to me.
21 more comics, below the cut…
- Combat Jacks, Vol. 1 #1. Cliched military SF, with a terrible “twist” ending. Really, two surprise endings, both of them bad.
- Deadhorse, Vol 1: Dead Birds. Grissom & Sloan. Another collection. Read the first issue. It has a J.J. Abrams’ mystery box in it (or a MacGuffin, for the Hitchcock fans), and you never really know how those will turn out (J.J. Abrams has a bad habit of never redeeming his plot coupons, for instance), but like Abrams, Deadhorse sets up a mystery and runs with it, dragging the reader along. Excellent first issue. I will definitely be coming back to this one.
- Department O, Vol. 1. This one reminded me of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Or perhaps Hellboy. But not as good. It was also interesting to read after Deadhorse, because it also concerns itself with mysteries, but they are thrown at the reader in a hail, one after the other till they lose all interest. There is simply too much going on for me to connect with any of the characters or their actions.
- Diskordia # 1. Stopped on page 12.
- Doc Unknown # 1. Rangle Jr. & Cody. The art and layout in this is striking. The story is reminiscent of Hellboy, and the pulps. The Doc of the title reminds me of Doc Savage. It’s not really my thing, but if it’s yours, this looks like a good example of the genre.
- Dumbing of Age Vol 1. Stopped on page 29. Does that title even make sense? This is a collection of comic strips rather than a typical comic book. I’m pretty tired of “real” comics about people of college age (probably because I’m an old fart). Placing the cartoonist’s comments below each strip is distracting. I initially stopped on about page 10 with a sigh because the first strips were such a jumble of characters and not funny, but I pressed on. And it got better quickly. There’s an R.A. that’s amusing. The main character (if there is one in an ensemble) is a homeschooled Christian, with some indication that the topic might be handled interestingly. And then it takes a turn for the weird with the introduction of a superhero. I doubt I’ll return to it, but it did pique my interest. (Oh, the title is a pun on “Coming of Age”. Damn, now I feel dumb. I could edit that out and look smarter, but where’s the fun in that? Still don’t like the title. And not just because it made me look dumb.)
- Dust: Withered Earth. Stopped on page 26. Lots of gratuitous violence against women, with nothing else of interest. The first time, it could have just been part of the story. The second, it starts to look like a pattern. Third, you’re out.
- Escape from the Dead # 1. Zombies.
- Evil Inc Monthly Vol. 7. Another comic strip collection. This one really didn’t work for me.
- Fade Out: Painless Suicide. I’m not sure how I feel about this one. It mixes a suicidal teen in with a serial murder plot. It doesn’t really work in the end, but I did manage to read the whole thing, so panel by panel, it was pretty good. The art was also well done.
- Fatherhood # 1. I thought this was a joke that just wasn’t funny, but it’s told with such earnestness and the afterword seems serious, so…. My only conclusion is that parents lose their sense of humor.
- Fighting Stranger, Chapter One. An amnesiac character means the author doesn’t know the story and is making it up as they go along. That should either be edited out after one realizes what’s going on, or you’d better be a damn good storyteller to justify the reader trusting your sucky beginning. This one didn’t work for me.
- First Law of Mad Science # 1. I thought the first law of mad science was that you don’t talk about mad science.
- Footprints, Vol. 1. Stopped around page 20. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but instead of pulp heroes, it’s a team of the cryptozoology all-stars: Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, the Yeti. Or, ya know, Fables, because Bigfoot is even set up like a noir detective like Bigby. Anyway, the art’s pretty good and the line-by-line writing’s not bad, but it’s too derivative for me. Oh, and when the Loch Ness Monster shrinks down and sits at a conference table with the other monsters, it was too much.
- Fun Fun Comics # 1. Reprints of one page comics from the early 90’s?
- Goblin Hood. Cute.
- Guardians # 0. Guardian angels as superheroes.
- H.G. Wells’ The Chronic Argonauts. Is Dr. Dre the star? No? Damn.
- Henchmen #1. Very similar conceit to Fatherhood. A man gets a job as a super-villian’s henchman in order to support his daughter. This one didn’t take itself too seriously. Amusing.
- Jackie Rose: The Treasure of Captain Read. For someone, this is probably a perfect comic. A YA-tone romantic adventure with a crown-thief and sky pirates. Not really my thing, but I still ended up reading half of this 200 page graphic novel. Well done.
- John Carpenter’s Asylum. This reminds me of a certain type of 80s and 90s comics. Well drawn and colored realistic artwork with an unengaging script and gratuitous titty shots. Oh, and apparently, there are over 8000 satanic cults in this country alone. I’m assuming that’s America? Anyway. No.