With all the troubles Marvel is having, even after their supposed “relaunch”, and while DC is certainly producing high quality art… it just doesn’t have the emotional stakes. Part of this is because of the way the big two are set up with their comics — to keep their characters the same: iconic and unchanging in order to produce films and television and try to capitalize off of residual sales from that. It leads to stagnation, no matter the creative team. And it’s unavoidable when you have characters who can’t change, or if they do, it gets reset so they’re back again.
I’ve turned my comic reading to other sources. As those who read the blog regularly know, I pick up almost every Valiant book, of which the storytelling has varied pretty significantly depending on who’s writing it, but the art has been top notch all the way through. I’m sill very much enjoying X-O Manowar, which I think is the best comic released in years. Reading that got me looking at Matt Kindt’s other work, and i found a treasure trove of beautiful indie stories.
Mind MGMT is the one that blew me away. It’s about the government running a secret psi program of people with different abilities. They’re erasing memories, keeping us and each other pacified, leaving coded messages everywhere. It’s a head trip in a head trip, and super gripping all the way through.
Dept H is a murder mystery in an underwater science base. There’s some crazy stuff and I really still don’t know exactly where it’s going. I keep looking for volume 3 to come out, but it’s got a ton of potential and cool characters.
3 Story – This is a tragedy about a giant. I love the pun title and I couldn’t put it down.
The Tooth – A twist on the superhero. This goes into the ridiculous realm which I’ve had a lot of fun with. It also got me looking at Cullen Bunn’s work, as he wrote this story while Kindt drew it. His stuff comes next.
Cullenn Bunn is doing the relaunch of the Tick, which I picked up for fun, family friendly entertainment to share with my kid. He provided that. But he also does horror books which are really creepy. I don’t usually like horror but this is more an action/adventure style horror so it works for me. I’m a bit nervous about some seeming anti-Christian themes in his books, but of what i’ve read it hasn’t gone too far, and I haven’t found it offensive. It may just be the horror tropes and getting into that dark spiritual realm that necessarily has that feel. I hope I don’t get to a point where I see anything too far but I’m enjoying what I’ve read. These are not family friendly below:
Darkark – this is currently on #2. Satan made an ark along with God and the task is to save the supernatural spirit realm. I don’t have a link to this!
6th Gun – Weird west. I don’t know how I missed this originally as weird west is something I usually grab off the shelves immediately as I see it. I read the first volume and it’s dark horror fun with six-shooters. Loving it so far.
Alterna Comics is another interesting group. They are making REALLY CHEAP (not low quality) comics. You can buy most their titles for $1-2 but only a few shops carry them. They are also on comixology. I’ve read LIlith Dark and Adam Wreck of their titles, and i”ve ordered a whole bunch more. I’m not sure how their business model is going but I love this kind of thing, and i love they’re using newsprint to be able to get things out to us and not charge us $5 a book because of print costs. I highly recommend checking out your catalogue and having your local comic shop order from them so they can expand their reach: https://www.alternacomics.com/ very little risk at the price point!
And on the cutting edge front:
I want to talk a kickstarter project by Brant Fowler. I’ve been mentioning it on social media, but yesterday it finally funded. It’s about a teenage pyro girl. The art looks really solid and I’m excited to get to read this story. It’s really cute that he works with his girlfriend who does colors on the book too. I like that kinda thing. Matt Kindt’s wife also colors Dept H, so he’s in good company.The kickstarter link is:
Brant is a great guy who I’ve watched stick by comics for years, and we used to do comic reviews at ComicRelated.com. If you want to be on the front lines of getting new indie projects going, supporting Brant’s kickstarter is the way to go. He is the next generation of great indie work and I’d love to see this get to the point where it turns heads at the bigger companies. I’ve backed this myself. Hurry though, it’s the last day to do so!
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll let you know what else I find.
If you like good indie action adventure stories, you’ll love For Steam And Country, the hottest new steampunk novel series of 2017. You can buy it here.