Underrated: Alterna’s Newsprint Comics

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Alterna’s Newsprint Comics


Today I wanted to take another look at Alterna’s newsprint movement. If you’re unaware, and judging by the sales numbers* over the past few months a few of you may not be, so allow me to catch you up (very) quickly. Alterna have been releasing comics on newsprint paper, the stuff that all the old comics were released on up until around the mid to late 90’s. By printing some of their comics(all miniseries, I believe) on newsprint, Alterna have been able to drastically reduce their cover price to between $1 and $2, which means that in some cases you can buy the entire miniseries for the price of a single Marvel comic.

Alterna’s newsprint movement is one I am all for and have purchased each and every one of those comics, without question, as they’ve come out because I love the feel of the newsprint when I’m reading the comics. As some of the comics are reprints, doing this has introduced me to stories that in some cases I missed when they first came out. I don’t know which are reprints because I haven’t sought out too much information about these comics prior to buying them because I just want to enjoy reading them for reading’s sake.

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So, in alphabetical order, shall we have a quick chat about these comics – or at least the ones that have been released on newsprint as of this writing?

Adam Wreck Price $1.50 Micheal Bracco’s story about a boy who grew up in the stars is a delight to read. The artwork has a simple colour scheme that’s deceptive in its beauty, and his use of perspective is fantastic. If you can find this innocent gem, then I highly recommend you do so.

Amazing Age Price $1.50 The first of the newsprint titles that I read, Matthew D. Smith and Jeremy Massie’s comic about a teenager pulled into the old comics he used to create is fantastic. The golden age imitation art is wonderful, and almost feels like it came from the Batman: The Animated Series school (but with much less darkness), but the undercurrent throughout the comic – of how life moves on faster than we’d like – is a powerfully simple one. I’d have paid twice the price for this and it would still have been a bargain.

Croak Price $1.50 Confession time: I didn’t know this was a horror comic when I picked it up, not that that would have stopped me from doing so at this price, so when I sat down to read it I felt like a kid again not knowing what was around the corner. Written by Cody Andrew Sousa with art by Francesco Iaquainta and colours by Chris O’Halloran, Croak is a moody, atmospheric tale reminiscent of all the best campfire horror you remember as a kid.

Lilith Dark Price $1.50 Charles C. Dowd has crafted this amazing fantasy story that will transport you places you forgot you ever visited. A fun, charming, and innocent tale about a young girl with an active imagination, Lilith Dark is the kind of comic you want to relax with.

Mother Russia Price $1.50 The WWII/Zombie comic by Jeff McComesy pits a Russian sniper against two million zombies for the sake of a child. It’s a good, fun comic in the vein of a great zombie story, and honestly the one I expected the least from – so it was a pleasant surprise when I realized how much I enjoyed it.

Scrimshaw Price $1.50 A post apocalyptic tale with all the elements from various fantasy and action movies that you probably love, Eric Borden and Dave Mims Scrimshaw is possibly the comic that I enjoyed the least on this list. That’s not to say it’s bad… just that I enjoyed the others more. There is a full review coming this weekend of the comic so you’ll read more about it there. Still, for the price I paid for it, it was well worth it.

The Chair | Price $1 Perhaps one of the comics I was most surprised about. I honestly only picked this up because of the price tag and utterly fell in love with Peter Simeti and Kevin Christensen’s horror story about a man facing death row for a crime he didn’t commit. The harsh artwork on the black paper works so incredibly resonant that you feel dirty just holding the comic that is, apparently, a ten year old story (I found this out after raving about it on Twitter, to which Peter Simeti replied that he was happy a ten year old story still held up).

Tresspaser | Price $1.50 Written by Justin Ryan with art by Kristian Rossi, Tresspasser is a story about a very hungry family who are visited by an alien. It’s an oddly touching, emotionally brutal tale about a man who just wants to protect his family no matter the cost, and the first issue is almost a complete story in and of itself. This comic took me by surprise in many ways, and I loved every second of it.

These comics are all currently on their first issue, and because they’re published bi-monthly then you can still easily check them out – if you can find them. Anything that publishers do to lower the cost of comics is something I will (probably) always be behind.

*even though the comics aren’t selling in huge numbers, they are still selling out of the relatively small print run.

There we have it. Are there other comic book related stuff out there that is, for whatever reason, underrated and under-appreciated?

Absolutely.

Because of that, Underrated will return to highlight more comic book related stuff  that either gets ignored despite it’s high quality, or maybe isn’t quite as bad as we tend to think it is. In the meantime, though, if you do get a chance check out the characters in thisUnderrated, then you may need to hunt through the back issue bins for some, but others do have some stories collected in trades.

Until next time!