100 Indie Comics part 5
This is the 5th part of my read-through of the Comixology SXSW Submit bundle. The previous parts are here: One. Two. Three. Four.
I knew that I would never finish reading these unless I had some accountability, and this blog has served that function. It only took about five weeks to finish the last fifth, and I was dragging my feet quite a bit. (In my defense, I did take a comic book break to read Jonathan Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four which is so awesome go read it now.)
Somehow I missed listing two I read in the first batch, so after combing through the bundle three times I figured out my mistake, and so I start out with them this time. In case you were wondering what happened to the near alphabetical order….
- Binary. Stopped at page 25. Too much going on, with about four false starts and I’m not sure whether I even got to the real beginning.
- Blastosaurus: Welcome to Freak Out City #1. Nope.
- The Legend of Bold Riley. Stopped at page 26. The introduction is by none other than Jane Espenson, so I should probably read a little further, but it did not draw me in.
- The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1. The Wizard of Oz crossed with a western. Interesting conceit, but doesn’t do much with the concept.
- The Mire. Apparently Becky Cloonan has worked quite a bit in the comics industry for years, but this was the first time I’d noticed her name. And it makes sense that she’s a pro, because the art and writing in this short story are polished in a way that screams she’s been at it for years. Damn good book.
- The Only Living Boy #1. The art and writing are pretty good, but I didn’t like it. For one thing, the titular boy doesn’t have a past in the real world (at least as told), which makes it easier to get on to the adventures in the new world, but means I don’t really care about his plight. For another, the main conflict seems to center around the hoary old concept of a being that brings other creatures to his world for arena battles.
- The Pursuit of Beautiful Things. A little weird story that didn’t really work for me.
- The Sire #1. Very cliched superhero comic, including a reporter girlfriend for the protagonist (who also appears to be a reporter?).
- The Thirty-Six Vol. 1. The title refers to 36 people of Kabbalistic legend who are supposed to protect the world. The first chapter focuses on one of them, and feels very much like a Dresden-like urban fantasy. The art is rough and the writing could use a little polish. It didn’t draw me in, but there’s some potential here.
- The Wastelands: Rahu. The title character is feared as a demon for his different appearance as he wanders a desolate world which seems to have been abandoned by its gods. The writing and art are a little rough in spots, but overall it was a very well done short graphic novel. It won me over from the first pages with a deftly handled wordless action sequence.
- ‘Twas the Night Before Krampus. Old Saint Nick and Krampus duke it out for the fate of the human race. It’s better than it has any right to be. It is very much a Christmas story, and I wonder if I wouldn’t have liked it just a little more around the holidays.
- Tiger Lawyer #1. The title says it all. A bit too silly and punny for my taste, but not bad. Not bad at all.
- Tilt-Shift: The Quiet Profession #1. A very believable and well done portrayal of a day in the life of a Comcam, or combat photographer, in Afghanistan.
- Tomorrow Jones #1. The title character is the misfit daughter of a couple of superheroes, and while she wants to be a superhero, too, she wants to do it on her own terms. A little clunky in spots, but overall a pretty good take on the coming-of-age/superhero mash-up.
- Too Much Coffee Man Favorites #1. I read some of these back in the 90s. I think of it as a classic, but I didn’t know Shannon Wheeler was still working on it. These strips hold up very well for being almost 20 years old. His comic timing and dry wit are great.
- Twilight Monk Vol. 1: The Shadow King. Stopped at page 26. The story is very action-oriented and fast-paced, like a shonen manga, and the black&white art reminds me of the original TMNT. There is stuff to like here, but not for me.
- Ultrasylvania Vol. 1: King Dracula. Stopped on page 27. I don’t like vampires, much less Dracula, so this one was a tough sell. It’s actually not bad. The art is a bit odd: The Dracula portions are painted, and the Frankenstein (yep…) parts are line art.
- War of the Woods: Season Two #1. Giant insects have destroyed D.C. and talking animals are rafting down a river? Obviously I missed season one so I don’t know what’s going on here, but I don’t care to find out.
- Watson and Holmes #1. Confession: I’m not a Sherlock Holmes fan. That being said, this was a very well done comic. Both the art and writing are professional level, and the conceit of a black Sherlock in Harlem is brilliant.
- Westward #1. A well-told steampunk story of a wealthy playboy awakening from a ten year coma to find something has changed. A little slow getting started, but there is potential here.
- Who Needs the Moon #1. Starts off with a generic horror chase scene that is colored too darkly to easily follow the action with characters we care nothing about. But it quickly transitions to the story of a loner (presumed) werewolf in a town of vampires that is rather well handled. The art is cartoonish, which seems odd for the tone of the story. Then the first issue ends just when things are promising to get interesting. But not a cliffhanger… more like the reader sees the cliff that the hero might (or might not) eventually be hanging from. The book is good, but not quite there.
One final wrap-up post still to come where I pick my favorites, and list other stand-out comics from the bundle.