You may have figured out that I like to read comic books. I’ve probably mentioned it once or twice. Recently, I’ve cut out a number of DC and Marvel titles from my pull list, and started reading a lot more independent titles. I thought I would bring a little indie spirit to my blog by using this post to talk about some of my favourite books that aren’t published by the big two (and that aren’t based on an already well-established franchise).
So without further adieu…
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Michael Lark
In the future, the planet’s most powerful families have risen up to take over the void left when the world’s economy and governments collapsed. In order to protect their interests, each family has a Lazarus: A genetically modified family member that is designed to defend the family’s land, resources and other assets. They are basically trained killers. The main character of the book is Forever, the Lazarus of the Carlyle family. Forever does her job as best she can to support her family, but things change when she learns that she may not be the person she thinks she is.
You may remember Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s work on the awesome Gotham Central book they did for DC Comics. While the DC Universe provided a fantastic sandbox for Rucka and Lark to tell their stories, the great thing about creator-owned books is that the writer and the artist get the opportunity to create the entire universe. While that may seem like a daunting task (I mean, I know it only took God 6 days to do it, but he had the power of Jesus on his side… I think) it all comes together nicely with Rucka’s strong characters and a plot that makes you want to beg for more, and Lark’s gritty art style that really makes the dark and dirty world they’ve created come alive.
This book is still early in its run, so it’s not too late to pick this one up. If you are a fan of dystopian fiction, you will love this book.
A Voice in the Dark
Writer/Artist: Larime Taylor
Publisher: Top Cow
What happens when you’re a young college freshman who has murdered someone, and now you have the urge to kill other people? You start a late-night radio show to help suppress your dark feelings. But what if someone really pisses you off? Well, in that case… you imagine killing them, obviously. And maybe you do a little more than imagine.
A Voice in the Dark is written and drawn by the incredibly talented Larime Taylor. If you want an example of how great he is, look no further than the issue where the entire book is basically just a telephone conversation between two people. Think about that for a minute. An entire comic book of just two people talking who aren’t even in the same room as each other? In the wrong hands, this issue could have been as dull as mud, but Taylor is such a good storyteller I didn’t feel bored or disinterested at all. Another great thing about this book is that almost all the main characters are female, and Taylor draws them all like real women. None of the characters are drawn with the ridiculous hourglass shape that most women in comics have.
This book is seven issues in, and I understand the eighth doesn’t come out for another couple months. That means you have plenty of time to catch up. If you like strong female characters, clean art, and, you know, serial killers, this is a book for you.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Michael Dialynas
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Remember when you were a kid and your high school was magically transported into the middle of the woods on a moon in a faraway solar system, and those woods were filled with some of the most terrifying creatures you could ever imagine? And do you remember that time that you and a bunch of your friends decided to explore the woods to try to figure out why your school was brought to this awful, awful place that has already killed a few of your classmates? Man, those were the good old days, weren’t they?
Well guess what? Today is your lucky day because James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas have created a book that will remind you of all the great times you had back in the day. I was already familiar with Tynion from his work on the back-up Batman stories as well as his run on the Talon book, so I fully expected to like this story, but Dialynas’ art was a very nice surprise. That guy knows how to draw scared kids and scary monsters like nobody’s business.
Only a couple issues of this title have been released so far, but it’s already one of the books I most look forward to every month.
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Facundo Percio
Publisher: Avatar Press
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I hate comic books that take place in space. It’s weird because I love regular books that are set in space, and I love space-themed television shows and movies, but for some reason I can’t stand comics in space. Maybe it’s because comic books only present static images and I always think of space as a place where things are constantly in motion. Or maybe it’s because when I think of space comics I think of Green Lantern and when I think of Green Lantern I get really angry (because Green Lantern is super lame).
Anyway, that all changed when I picked up the first issue of Caliban. Caliban is the name of a spaceship that for some reason suddenly finds itself merged with an alien craft, which results in all the people in cryosleep being dumped into the emptiness of space. More craziness happens and one of the surviving crew members ends up being possessed by some sort of entity. I don’t want to give too much away, but the possessed person ends up breaking every single bone in another person’s body. The visual? It. Is. Fucked. Up. Well done Garth Ennis and Facundo Percio, well done.
If you like sci-fi horror (and messed up visuals), you will like this book. I guarantee it (guarantee not guaranteed).
So there you have it. Those are a few of the independent titles I’m reading right now. You should read them too. If you don’t, that probably means you have poor taste… or that you’re just not very bright.
Thanks for reading!