Indie Comic Round Up
Whenever I go to conventions I always try my best to support local artists and pick up some independent comics. Admittedly, this is a task that gets harder and harder every year, with more talented artists and writers selling their wares what I can afford to pick up is, sadly, just a drop in the ocean. That said, what I do pick up I try my best to review and promote, so for your reading pleasure please find below some brief reviews of the some of the indie comics I've checked out this year.
A Brigand's tale
Written and drawn by Daniel Tribe
If you're looking for a fun and action packed all ages romp, A Brigand's Tale might just be the book for you (or that younger comic reader in your life). Featuring a cast of lovable weapon-wielding anthropomorphic animals, A Brigand's Tale brings all the fun of long-form series like Spider-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and packages it in a self-enclosed 24 page story.
What the comic lacks in colour, Tribe's art makes up for in detailed shading. Plus there is undeniable energy to his art that almost leaps off the page.
That said what particularly impressed me was Tribe's skilful world building. Although the issue is set in the small town of Treelocke, Tribe wastes no time in using snippets of dialogue to hint at a larger, interesting world with its own unique lore. Indeed, A Brigand's Tale felt like a brief, but enjoyable sojourn into the fantasy world of Huntenprae; a setting I hope he writes more stories in soon.
I think young boys especially will really get a kick out A Brigand's Tale. There's humour, plenty of action and magic powers. Seriously, what more could you possibly want out of a single issue?
You can pick yourself up a physical copy of A Brigand's Tale from http://boltcomics.bigcartel.com/products
The Adventurers #1
By Andrew Tribe
Another all ages book, The Adventurers is a heartfelt read filled with cute characters and subtle moral lessons. This first issue introduces us to Ellie, a young dragon eager to leave her sheltered home of Haven to visit the exciting world of the humans.
Unfortunately the leader of Haven, an elderly dragon by the name of Greyash isn't too keen on this idea, convinced that all humans are selfish and dangerous. What follows is a simple yet enjoyable story about finding your own way, that I think primary school age readers in particular will enjoy.
Andrew Tribe delivers functional artwork with a cartoon feel and great character expressions. Although quite simple at times, it always reflects the fun and playful tone of the story Tribe is trying to tell.
You can pick yourself up a physical copy of The Adventurers #1 from http://boltcomics.bigcartel.com/products
Morlok Issue #1 and 2
Written and drawn by Daniel De Lafoix
Morlok is a passion project in its purest form. Melding together myth and actual historical events from European History, to call this book a labour of love would be an understatement. It's beautifully drawn, immaculately researched and ambitious, to say the least. In Morlok, De Lafoix is attempting to tell the century spanning story of two immortals, the Count de Saint-Germain and The Wandering Jew, and their battle against the mysterious evil known only as Morlok.
It's historical fiction with a generous helping of horror and fantasy as our two immortal protagonists fight their way through all manner of demonic nasties and creatures of horror. In addition to the twenty plus pages of comic-goodness, each issue contains a timeline and historical background to help give the reader some context to the unfolding events. This really shines a light onto just how much work goes into researching each issue as well as the effort taken to make Morlok feel like an organic part of the historical world it is set in.
Admittedly it's dense read, and I'm not too proud to admit I will have to give the issues a couple more reads before I fully understand what De Lafoix is setting up, but for those feeling adventurous I highly recommend picking up a copy.
You can pick yourself up a physical copy of Morlok from http://morlokcomic.com/
Written and drawn by Katie O'neil
When I picked Princess Princess at SMASH this year I had no idea that this pretty little book would have so much to say. Sure, it was O'neil's charming art that initially caught my eye but it was her unique voice as a writer that kept me smiling cover to cover. Make no mistake, Princess Princess is a very special book, and hands down one of my favourite books I have picked up this year.
This simple tale opens with a Rapunzel-type scenario, only instead of the usual handsome prince, an adventurous young princess by the name of Amira comes to the rescue of the trapped princess, Sadie. What follows is a fairy-tale inspired adventure filled with wicked sorceress', dragons, unicorns and a dancing ogre.
Although relatively simple in terms of plot, Princess Princess is a book that has a lot to say about female empowerment, body image, LGBT rights and the importance of finding your own path. It's a thematically rich read but never once did it feel preachy or heavy handed.
O'neil's masterful writing and storytelling is matched by her vibrant art which is somewhat reminiscent of Faith Erin Hicks combined with a bright color palette that reminded me of shows like Adventure Time.
I had an absolute blast reading Princess princess and cannot recommend it enough. You can purchase a physical copy here http://strangelykt.storenvy.com/products/9490669-princess-princess-book or read the digital version for free here http://strangelykatie.com/princessprincess/.