Ghost City Comics is launching a comic competition on May 20. Founded by Michael Ruiz-Unger and Tucker Tot the contest was inspired after the two created their own comics and found it difficult to be seen by a publisher or facing the difficult work of building their own fan base.
The hope is through this competition, indie creators will have a new way to “get their work out there,” and a “chance to have their comics read by industry professionals, win some cool prizes, and get reviewed and promoted across the internet.”
This is the first year for the competition and there’s three categories “1 Page Comic,” “Short Story,” and “Single Issue.” There’s also awards for “Best Writing,” “Best Artist,” “Best Colorist,” and “Best Lettering.” Prizes include cash prizes, gift cards, and reviews from publishers and comic creators.
You can find more details on their website and good luck to all of those entering!
Released in 2016, Those Dark New Hampshire Woods. Vol. 1 by Desmond Reed is an interesting indie comic focused on the unsettling lives of an ever-expanding hoard of creeps living in the woods.
As the comic progresses the weird is added upon the weird as the comic itself is broken into multiple stories that eventually come together at the end. Each story is familiar and plays off each other in a way with a slight twist on an aspect found in each. It’s strange in a good way resulting in an experience that can’t be found in mainstream comics.
Reed’s work in both story and art reminds me of a combination of Gilbert Shelton’s The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and R. Crumb with a little Harvey Pekar thrown in there for good measure. The art is the draw with a style that stands out from mainstream offerings and creates a look that perfectly fits the creepy world that Reed has created. It’s not completely unique as it does remind me of a few other artists, but it’s a style you just don’t see a ton of in mainstream comics, mostly relegated to indie offerings where the art is as experimental as the story.
This is an odd one that had me both enjoying the read and scratching my head trying to figure it all out. There’s a second volume released already and you better believe I want to see what else Reed does with these characters and style. For those into indie comics, this is one to check out as it feels unique in every way.
You can purchase the first two volumes now.
Story: Desmond Reed Art: Desmond Reed
Story: 7.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read
Graphic Policy was provided with a FREE copy for review
Every now and then a comic comes into my inbox that I have absolutely no preconceived notion of what it is, and unless there’s a half interesting name or elevator pitch then sometimes I don’t always read it (usually it’s a case of “oh.. that could be cool. I’ll read that later,” but then life happens and I never get back to it.
I don’t remember what it was that made me want to read AA Squad #1 from Rob Wolinsky, other than maybe the opening of the email; the “Hello time travelers” immediately spoke to my fascination with time travel, so I dropped the review I was writing and opened up AA Squad #1.
It was absolutely nothing like I expected.
The comic focuses on a squad of time police who have to correct small aberrations in the timeline, key word being small. These guys aren’t the most decorated team, and are thought of and treated more like the Great Lakes Avengers as opposed to the actual Avengers. We’re introduced to the existing squad by the new guy Luke Adam Bean, and through him we see just how routine saving the time line has become for the others.
AA Squad #1 is two things right off the bat; charming and funny. As I said earlier, time travel is one of those things that will always intrigue me, but what I didn’t expect was how entertaining the comic would be. I genuinely found myself laughing at several points as I read this, both from Wolinsky’s writing, but also from the visual gags from artist Chunlin Zhao. Speaking of the art, there’s an almost manga-like feel along with a slight dash of stylized Western flavour that combine to give the art a very unique feeling that really works for this comic.
As far as first issues go, this is a fantastic introduction to a new story, and I can’t wait to read the second issue.
If you’d like to purchase a digital or print version then you can do so here.
Story: Rob Wolinsky Art: Chunlin Zhao
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Graphic Policy was provided with a FREE copy for review
Birdcage Bottom Books is committed to ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard and that everyone is treated fairly and equally. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has worked for over 100 years to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
For the month of February, when you buy any products from BBB or any of the following artists/publishers, 50% of the sales will be donated to the ACLU:
|ALCHEMY COMIX/Jonathan Baylis
|BIGUGLYROBOT PRESS/Adam Pasion
|BIRDCAGE BOTTOM BOOKS/J.T. Yost
|ASTRO PLUS PRESS/Josh Burggraf
||NINTH ART PRESS / Dan Mazur
|CZAP BOOKS/Kevin Czapiewski
||RETROFIT/BIG PLANET COMICS/Box Brown
||ROBOT PUBLISHING CO./Robert Goodin
|Delaine Derry Green
|GRINDSTONE COMICS/L. Nichols
|HIC & HOC PUBLICATIONS/Matt Moses
|KILGORE BOOKS/Dan Stafford
Published by Retrofit Comics, the comic is a beautifully drawn and colored indie comic that’s engrossing and entertaining exploring youth and how rumors can spin out of control and shape reality.
The story is basically a few girls at a pool party who begin to discuss why one of their friends aren’t there. It’s best to not reveal too much and see for yourself to see where the story goes. You never know exactly where that is.
Davis does an amazing job building the story throughout the comic and gets it to a point that you’re not sure what to believe until you get to the ending… and it’s a hell of a twist that had me gasping. It’s masterful storytelling at a great pace that captures the essences of sleepovers and kids chattering.
This is a perfect example of a comic where the less said the better because part of my enjoyment was not knowing what the comic was about and feeling the tension build as I didn’t know where things were going. Is this a simple story of kids playing telephone? Is this going to be a bloodbath? Is this a story about abuse? It’s wonderful storytelling.
The art too is fantastic with a style that’s hard to describe. The color choice is almost like crayons, it’s unique and absolutely fantastic adding to the childlike aspect of the story.
Libby’s Dad is an amazing example of indie comics and one folks should check out. Retrofit Comics puts out amazing comics and this is a fine release to show off how some of the best comics are being produced by indie and small publishers. Another home run for Retrofit and a fantastic comic by Davis.
You can by the comic now through Retrofit Comics’ website in print or as a PDF, from Things From Another World, or from Amazon.
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.
Anthony C Ferrante, director of the iconic Sharknado films, has selected Farway Canyon as his follow-up genre project. Based on the independent comic book series written and published by Steve Hillard and Dennis Nowlan, Ferrante will develop the project as a television series, along with Hillard’s partner in “The Chronicles of Ara” franchise, Joel Eisenberg.
Farway Canyon is a take on the great sci-fi monster flicks of the 1950s and 60s. The story centers on a group of idealistic college students who investigate a lost Cold War project more secretive and potentially threatening than Area 51.
The comic series and its television adaptation is an homage to movies like Them, Godzilla, Forbidden Planet and even Dr. Strangelove.
Ferrante and the team expect to pitch Farway Canyon beginning in January.
Summerland is the story of Santana and her cousin Gwen who work on a play with Chucho while all three are vacationing, created by the animator Paloma Dawkins, who works in a riotous color palette.
Paloma Dawkins has created a comic that’s visually a stunner in Summerland, published by Retrofit Comics. The story is pretty simple taking us through some of the life of Santana and Gwen, but it’s the visuals that draw the reader in.
The colors especially jump from the page in a trippy colorfest that reminds me of my childhood watching 3..2..1… Contact. There’s this weird retro-art thing going on. It’s unique, and really stands out.
I’d say the colors visually assault you, and that may sound like a bad thing, but I don’t mean it that way. The colors are bright in a technicolor rainbow that changes as the comic progresses through the story. From yellow and green to blue to purples to red to orange and back again the colors are as cyclical in what they’re saying as the story is. It’s just amazing to look at and no review will do it justice the visuals matter that much. If you look at the cover you’ll get an idea as to what to expect.
What strikes me about Summerland is that the colors that Dawkins chooses to use say as much about the story as anything else. Where each color is placed, what hue to use, it’s all worth examining and you’ll want to.
Summerland is a visual treat and if you’re into indie comics or love a colorful visual, it’s a comic well worth checking out.
Story: Paloma Dawkins Art: Paloma Dawkins
Story: 7.5 Art: 10 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Debuting this weekend at Small Press Expo 2016, Cicada is a short horror comic about a freelance writer and a sacrificial insect. With story and art by Joni Miller, the comic is fun with twists and turns that keep the reader engaged.
A fifty-page mini-comic, the story is an entertaining mix of humor and horror as our nameless heroine moves to a new area and learns that she’ll need to learn to live with the local wildlife if she’s going to keep her sanity… or do something about it.
Cicadas, the strange looking bugs that seem to descend on our land and annoy us through normally enjoyable summers with their song that seem to envelop us. That’s the impetus which gets our story underway.
Miller’s art is fantastic with a great flow to the storytelling. She keeps the pages simple with up to four panels per page, a key thing considering the comic itself being more on the pocket size of things. Too many panels just wouldn’t work. But Miller impressive changes up the page layouts a lot making each page feel unique. There’s an energy that jumps off of the page as things progress as well especially as the “action” kicks up.
Miller keeps it fresh and though there are some elements that feel a bit familiar, it all comes together in a way that’s fresh. If you’re a fan of horror comics, this is one you should seek out.
Story: Joni Miller Art: Joni Miller
Story: 8.45 Art: 8.65 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
A popular talk show is retro-scripted through the medium of food. The administration intervenes to manipulate human bonding. A Jenny Craig commercial is honored in silent ballet. Death proposes. The Ultimate Laugh collects eight of Sara Lautman‘s best stories from 2015 in autobiography, illustrated essays, and tall tales.
The Ultimate Laugh, the Ignatz nominated comic for “Promising New Talent,” is a stream of thought by creator Sara Lautman. The comic book is a fun take on those strange ideas and observations so many of us have… well maybe not all of us. The observations can be out there such as a talk show that’s manipulated through food which early on sets the tone of what follows.
You can see why Lautman is nominated. The comic is a hilarious look at life and brings a perspective, and thoughts, that aren’t often put down in paper. The comic is funny throughout, constantly entertaining.
Like the observations throughout, the art itself is pretty free-flowing breaking free of the rigid constraints of traditions comic panels. Lautman impressively still makes the comic easy to understand and read, even without some of the traditional clues peppered in comic layouts to guide the reader. The art adds to the free and fun style of the comic.
Lautman bursts on to the scene with this one and is a talent to keep an eye on. Already nominated for an award, this is a comic to pick up and find out why.
Story: Sara Lautman Art: Sara Lautman
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Tinto Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Our Mother is a comedy about growing up with a parent who has an anxiety disorder. Luke Howard mixes genres to tell an utterly open personal reflection about his childhood and his relationship with his mother. Jumping between noir, giant robots, fantasy adventure, and even scientific animal research, Luke brings a very intimate story to life with humor and cartooning experimentation.
Our Mother begins with what feels like a bunch of sets of short stories, vignettes that don’t have much to do with each other though may share a theme. As the comic progresses, Howard impressively brings everything together in a world of weird, and rather humorous events.
It’s hard to describe the comic as a whole except take the choppy storytelling made famous by Tarantino, but mix that with an experimental tale. Things such as depression, being trapped in a loop, and more are touched upon in the 40 pages. It’s an interesting reflection on relationships that comes together with humor and an honesty that unveils itself as the story progresses.
The art by Howard is great with a style that is hard to describe. It’s so clean and looks great. Howard seems to have a knack at focusing on the details needed per panel framing each scene in a way that enhances the storytelling. What’s interesting is even with the change in genres and settings, it all, the story, the art, seems very personal. Yes, giant robots somehow feel personal.
Retrofit again shows off that they’re a leader of indie comics and continue to impress with each release. This is a publisher that deserves your attention as their releases rarely disappoint and almost always entertain. If you’re new to the world of indie comics, seek out Retrofit and expand your mind and reading pile.
Story: Luke Howard Art: Luke Howard
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy