Tag Archives: study group comics

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Underrated: Indie Publishers

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: Indie Publishers.

I’m defining Indie Publishers as having less than two percent market share from the month of April according to Diamond, and obviously doesn’t take into account any digital sales. If you didn’t click the link, that precludes Boom, IDW, Dark Horse, and Image from the list (Marvel and DC, obviously, go without saying). The list will be in alphabetical order so my biases toward certain publishers aren’t as evident in the ordering of the list.

croak1Alterna Comics
I’ve been raving about Alterna’s Bring Back Newsprint movement on twitter for the last week or so after I finally got around to reading their newsprint offerings fairly recently (the fourth, not mentioned here, is Lillith Dark, a charmingly innocent tale about a young girl with an active imagination) after I picked them up based solely on the price point – at $1.50 I figured I really couldn’t go wrong. The newsprint comics may have turned me on to Alterna, but after a little research I signed up for their news letter and received an email with 30 free comics included that’s not a typo – your get thirty free digital comics upon signing up for their email newsletter (this was true as of 6/1/2017; it may be different depending on when you read this), and you really can’t argue with that.
Titles To Check Out: Any of the Newsprint comics (Croak and Adam Wreck were my standouts from the first batch).

Oni Press
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t give Oni Press the credit they deserve. Whenever I do pick up an Oni title, I frequently find myself wondering why I don’t read more of them.
Titles To Check Out: Redline, Scott Pilgrim & The Sixth Gun

Self Made Hero
A British publisher that specializes in graphic novels, what I have been able to get my hands on from Self Made Hero has without exception been utterly captivating. If you like to branch away from superheroes, then this is a company that you need to check out, and your best bet would be your favourite online retailer.
Titles To Check Out: Fun & Return Of The Honey Buzzard.

vile1Study Group Comics
Home of Tyler Landry’s stream of consciousness style of story telling, this is a gold mine of inventive storytellers, writers and artists that produce some truly exciting and exhilirating work. Landry’s Vile has produced two of my favourite horror stories in comic form, and his sparse use of colour on the black paper is incredibly well suited to the genre. It’s exciting stuff, and you’ve probably not read it. You need to fix that.
Titles To Check Out: Vile & Titan

Valiant Comics
Valiant are, hands down, the publisher that gets me most excited about superhero comics – especially ones set in a shared universe. I don’t love everything Valiant have published, but on the whole I tend to enjoy their stuff so much more than anything from Marvel or DC.
Titles To Check Out: X-O Manowar, Faith, and Divinity

There we have it folks. An incomplete list taking a look at some underrated indie publishers. I’ll see you next week!

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/27

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.

Ryan C

Underwinter_03-1Ringside #10 (Image)** – This series is so up-and-down — on the rare occasions when a new issue actually comes out — that it’s difficult to know where to even begin, much less what to expect. Joe Keatinge delivers a middling script this time that does move the narrative forward, albeit not in the most convincing way possible, while Nick Barber’s art continue to — how can I put this kindly? — go off the rails. Overall: 3.5  Recommendation: Pass.

Underwinter #3  (Image)**– I’d been doing a reasonably good job of following what Ray Fawkes was doing with this series (never the easiest of tasks) to date, but with this issue he completely lost me. It’s frankly becoming impossible to tell what’s happening in the here and now and what’s some sort of “waking dream” or “vivid memory,” and while in the right hands that can be equal parts disconcerting and exciting, for all his practice at it in prior efforts like “Intersect,” it’s still not something that Fawkes knows how to successfully pull off. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Mother Panic #7 (DC/Young Animal)** – Jody Houser kicks off a new storyline with the great John Paul Leon joining on art, and the results are frankly astounding — far more coherent and absorbing than recent issues, with some scenes that pack a real emotional wallop and draw obvious parallels to the story of a young Bruce Wayne. Throw in an intriguing new villain and further revelations about our erstwhile anti-heroine’s own mysterious background, and what you’ve got is one superb comic. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Action Comics # 980 (DC)** – Dan Jurgens and Patch Zircher continue their entirely competent but just as entirely uninspiring take on Superman’s adventures with an issue that shows the newly-minted Superman Revenge Squad going about the task of trying to break General Zod out of Belle Reve prison while the Kent family moves closer to ditching Hamilton County in favor of a return to Metropolis — a development that doesn’t thrill me in the least. Not a bad comic by any means, but not an especially good one, either. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass


titan5The Old Guard #4 (Image)** – Leandro Fernandez’s art is just blowing me away. The guy draws the hell out of every single moment and his storytelling and body language are knockout. Greg Rucka ably gives us enough emotional material to make the action sequences dramatically as well as physically brutal. Guys, if you’re not doing anything afterwards, I’d buy a straight-up war anthology book from you. Any time, any place. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Titan #5 (Study Group)** – One of my favourite series comes to an epic conclusion. François Vigneault’s drawing is really sneaky, and his style hits a high note here. While it looks very cartoony up front, it is actually all business: his characters are bloodied, scarred, bruised, bumped, bandaged, sweaty, and totally intense. Meanwhile, his backgrounds are detailed but – unlike in classic ligne claire – not just architecturally rendered and clean. Everything is lived-in, everything is beat-up and not only used but in use. For some, cartooniness can be a way to cut corners: in Titan it’s a way to show them. Never mind that the writing is also top-notch, dealing with a revolution-in-space genre that makes no bones about problems of race, class, economic exploitation, sex, and the political uses of violence. Go out of your way and get these. They’ve just been collected in French translation, but are still looking for a home in English. Get on this, internet! Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Victor LaValle’s Destroyer #1 (Boom!) – I’m kind of a sucker for a good Frankenstein story, so I was curious about this. The snarkyish rundown: Frankenstein’s monster, who’s been living in the Antarctic, tries to save a whale, which brings him back into contact with civilization and a shadowy government agency that’s been looking for him. They then go looking for a scientist, who’s holed herself up in Montana to bring her dead son back to life. Said scientist goes out drinking in a sweater and jeans, but changes into a skirt and heels to do Science. This story makes little sense (the inciting incident is ridiculous and so very long) and Dietrich Smith’s drawing is okay, but only that. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Skip

Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).