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15. Fatherhood

 

Written by: Ryan K. Lindsay

 

Art by: Daniel Schneider

 

This was a 22 page comic about a man who snaps and decides to take extraordinary measures to get his daughter that special toy.

 

Fatherhood kind of read like a revenge daydream or an intimate look at road rage; I’m sure it was cathartic to write, but there really wasn’t much meat to this story. The art was nice.

16. The Pursuit of Beautiful Things

 

Written by: W. Maxwell Prince

 

Art by: Thomas Kovach

 

Lettered by: Jason Arthur

 

This 16 page, web formatted comic was about an old man who was rescued at sea and must decide if he can live with his rescuers.

 

Although this was another relatively short, web formatted comic, rather than just an introductory piece, this one was very much in the vein of a short story.  There’s obviously a tale to be told about the old man, but it’s not really necessary for us to know it; this story is all about our protagonist finding something out and deciding whether he can live with it.  There’s lots of atmosphere and some elements of the fantastic, but ultimately, the discovery and the decision are the heart of the story. 

 

As for the art, I wouldn’t generally gravitate to this style, but I think it works in this case.  Oddly enough, though it was easily legible, I found the lettering to be a bit of a negative.  Still, decent art, a short simple story... not bad.

Rex Libris #1

Written & Illustrated by James Turner

This is published by Slave Labor Graphics, so I'm not actually sure it was part of the Submit bundle. Anyway, here's the Wikipedia description: "The series follows the adventures of Rex Libris, the Head Librarian at the Middleton Public Library. Unbeknownst to the general public, Rex is actually over a thousand years old, and was the original librarian at the Library of Alexandria. He is a member of the Ordo Biblioteca, a secret international society of librarians. With the aid of the ancient god Thoth, who lives beneath the Library, Rex travels to the farthest reaches of the universe to collect late book fees, and to fight the powers of ignorance and darkness."

I'm a librarian myself, so I really wanted to like this. The library humor is actually pretty good, and not so "inside" that you would have to work in a library to get it. But the art is really generic: it looks like it's more laid out on a computer than drawn (I have the same problem with Jonathan Hickman when he illustrates his own projects). The story starts out well, with Rex battling a demon in the library. But it swiftly gets really talky, so much so that I was skimming it towards the end. And there's even more text on the bottom of each page, in the form of a Commentary discussion about the action and the production of the book. Clever, but not very funny, and so much hassle to blow up to readable size on my Fire HD that I stopped bothering after the first couple of pages.

Afterlife Inc. Vol.1: Dying To Tell

Written by Jon Lock

Art by Ash Jackson, Jack & Will Tempest, & others

Here's the teaser description:

The afterlife is under new management.

For con-artist Jack Fortune, death was just another step up the corporate ladder. As CEO of the newly modernised Afterlife Inc. Jack must now balance Big Business with the demands of his undead customers and the occasional threat from beyond time and space.

“Afterlife Inc. A Company You Can Believe In!”

This collection is a full-size 112 page graphic novel. There are eight ten-page chapters, each a standalone story, but they are also interconnected. They each follow a different recently-deceased person (usually) as they enter the afterlife. The corporate aspect is a minor story element: it's mainly about redefining the afterlife to be whatever a person wants it to be, rather than traditional ideas of heaven or hell. The tone is light and tongue-in-cheek. Lock uses the anthology format to tell a wide variety of stories. One chapter is cast as a crime noir, complete with typewritten captions; another borrows from Alice In Wonderland

I enjoyed this very much. It's definitely professional quality in both the writing and the art. There have been three collections of the series, and Lock recently concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a printed compilation of the series so far.

They're offering another deep discount bundle deal: Comixology Submit - SDCC 2014 Bundle. "Save 94% and get 100 incredible creator-owned comics! Available for a limited time only." The selection doesn't look as appealing to me this time, but it's still a great deal.

1. ‘Twas the Night Before Krampus

Story and Art - Tim Baron

Script - Ben Avery

This was a 68 page, black and white comic, about St. Nicholas and his Christmas Eve battle with Krampus.

The comic goes the route of setting up its own worlds/mythology much like Marvel has done with Thor. Some of the familiar elements of the legends are misleads and distractions, such as the global trip and the flying reindeer, while others, like the elves, come into play in completely unexpected ways. Overall, the created mythology works, and this turns out to be a pretty fun super hero tale about humanity’s protector of hope, St. Nicholas.

I was impressed enough with the story and the art, (despite not being a big fan of black and white comics), that I’ll probably look for more work by these creators. If this kind of comic’s within your wheelhouse, I’d recommend it.

17. Evil Inc. Monthly #7

 

Created by: Brad Guigar

 

This was a 16 page collected comic strip about a world of super heroes, villains, and monster housewives.

 

Seeing as this was adapted from a comic strip, it doesn’t flow like a normal comic, it’s rather choppy and new sections start mid page.  Rather than being one story, it’s made up of three main plots: a super hero who’s never told his father (also a super hero) that he loves him, a “real housewives of Transylvania” segment, and a villain filing the paperwork to become a nemesis when the previous nemesis dies mid-caper.  I can’t say that dressing up as a super hero and then dealing with mundane matters makes something interesting, however, the official villain rankings have some quirky appeal.  Overall though, whether you’d like this comic or not is probably based on how enamoured you are with puns and one liners, as the panels are chock full of them.  If they tickle your fancy, you might want to give this comic a whorl... otherwise, not so much.

I was looking for something to read this morning, so I appreciate the seasonally-appropriate tip. Very enjoyable, and I might never have gotten around to reading it if you hadn't recommended it.

Border Mutt said:

1. ‘Twas the Night Before Krampus

Story and Art - Tim Baron

Script - Ben Avery

This was a 68 page, black and white comic, about St. Nicholas and his Christmas Eve battle with Krampus...

I was impressed enough with the story and the art, (despite not being a big fan of black and white comics), that I’ll probably look for more work by these creators. If this kind of comic’s within your wheelhouse, I’d recommend it.

Relaunch Issue #1

Written by Ron Perazza

Art by Daniel Govar

A story about an astronaut in trouble. It's basically self-contained, although the ending is not completely resolved, and there hasn't been an Issue #2. It seems to have been created for digital, because it uses landscape format, and flies in some of the panels via the guided reading feature. A small sci-fi story, but well done. I'd like to see more from these creators.

I was looking for something to read this morning, so I appreciate the seasonally-appropriate tip. Very enjoyable, and I might never have gotten around to reading it if you hadn't recommended it.

Glad to be of service :)

Snow Complete Edition

A graphic novel by Benjamin Rivers

The Beat ran a story recently about the top Comixology Submit downloads. This was on it, and sure enough I already owned it as part of a big bundle offer. So I downloaded it to my Kindle Fire HD and read it over my lunch hour today. The four chapters run 155 pages, so it was easy to read in just under an hour.

It's a B&W slice of life comic about a young woman named Dana who works in a bookstore in downtown Toronto. Other characters include her best friend, coworkers, and some strangers she has significant interactions with. The setting and the main character's age call the Scott Pilgrim books to mind, but this story is completely naturalistic: there are no evil ex-boyfriends or video game effects that happen in real life. It also reminded me of Box Office Poison, but on a smaller scale.

It's a very good story if you like this kind of thing. Dana learns some things and comes to a significant life decision at the end, so it's not just self-indulgent navel-gazing. The notes at the end mention a movie and a video game that have spun out of it, and gives links to access them for free. I plan to check them out.

The Chairs' Hiatus

Matthew Bogart

Rob Staeger mentioned this in another thread, and he had me at "music" in the plot. It's the story of a member of a successful alt-rock band who has gone into seclusion. She's living in a new town, working a non-musical job, and having limited human contact. Her old band mates come to visit, and we slowly learn what happened to their musical partnership (it wasn't about the music, as is often the case in the real world).

It's a nice little slice-of-life story, told in B&W with blue wash. At 99 pages it also read comfortably over a lunch hour.

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