Here are my quick thoughts on the last ten comics in the 2015 SXSW Comixology Submit bundle. If you missed what I wrote about the first twenty, that’s here. And at the end, I’ll sum up the (not so) epic battle between this year’s bundle and last year’s.
- Radical Guardian Skater X. (B+) The art reminded me of Archie at first, but it might be more Scott Pilgrim. Interesting take on high school; flipping out can cause a DNA transformation into a monster. A good, entertaining first issue.
- Revenger. (D) The art is pretty rough, often lacking in backgrounds, but the layouts show potential. Likewise, the story is rather barebones and what is there is clichéd, but shows some promise in the pacing.
- Rum Row. (A-) A fun, well-drawn steampunk romp on a zeppelin speakeasy.
- Sanity & Tallulah. (A-) Plucky teen girls in the future having an adventure on their space ship piloting learners permit. A lot of fun.
- Scary Go Round: Expecting to Fly. (A-) Just a story of a troubled girl in high school and the boy asked to keep an eye on her. Heartfelt and well done.
- Silver. (B) A heist of Jonathan and Mina Harker’s silver suggests that vampires will be involved, but there is nothing overtly occult in the first issue. It keeps up a good pace, and builds interest well, but by the end I’m still not sure what type of comic I’m reading.
- Snipe. (Pass) It’s very well designed and very clever, but I did not like it.
- The Brothers James. (C+) A revenge story as a thin excuse for killing some clichéd hick bad guys. On the plus side, the layouts and storytelling move the action along at a smooth clip. Worth a look for fans of crime stories.
- The End is Totally Nigh. (A-) Very Whedonesque dialogue and crisp artwork makes for an interesting set-up.
- The Intergalactic Nemesis. (B) The story piles on quite a few pulp cliches, but the art and writing are not bad.
The grand prize winners of 2015: Leaving Megalopolis, Dayglow, Punk Rock & Trailer Parks.
Megalopolis doesn’t really feel like a fair entry, since it’s basically the work of professionals at the top of their game, but then again, there were a couple of other comics in this bundle that were by what I would consider to be “pros” and they were not as compelling.
Dayglow is the one series of them all that I definitely plan to pick up the second issue, and I plan to finish Punk Rock & Trailer Parks.
I’m going to be honest: after last year’s bundle, I cringed every time I started a new comic. But there were a lot of stand-out comics this year. Almost all had something to recommend them. At times, it felt like giving grades had led to grade inflation, but I think the A’s and B’s are well worth giving a look.
It’s no contest really: This year’s bundle was one third the size and three times the quality of 2014. I hope the trend continues: Then there would be ten absolute classics next year!