There was a time when all I read was main-universe superhero stories from Marvel and DC. The first independent comic that I can remember reading was a Concrete comic book that I found at my local library, and, let’s be honest–I didn’t like it very much. It lacked the superheroes, rich (or, what I thought to be rich at the time) story lines, and–most importantly to my young mind–the Marvel or DC logo. It wasn’t until I started reading J. Michael Straczynski’s Rising Stars that I truly started to appreciate independent comics. Over the years independent comics–those not under the DC or Marvel main banner–have become my favorite reads. The Boys, Witchblade, Rising Stars, Global Frequency, and A Man Called Kev, just to name a few. But even those are under imprints that can still have quite the impact across the comics world. Where you are really going to find the best indie comics is with the little guys, imprints that only have a few titles, or, even better, self-published titles. Here are a few indie comics that I enjoy and I think you should check out.
The Unauthorized Biography of Winston Churchill: A Documentary
Writer: Erica Schultz Art: Claire Connelly
You can tell from the name that this isn’t your grandpa’s Churchill. Time travel, English dinosaurs, H.G. Wells–yeah, this is something new. In the comic we find Churchill embroiled in the middle of World War Two, looking for anything that can help him to overcome the impending Nazi doom. And his lead scientist has something that may just be able to help him fight back against the impending blitzkrieg title wave.
The main stand-out from this comic is the art from Connelly. The black and white, straight line, comic strip style illustrations help add to the craziness of a time traveling Winston Churchill. If you are looking for a comic book which is short and fun, look no further than this book.
Writer: Matt Wahlquist Art: Ryan Winn
The RISE, published by Tartar Sauce Comics, does one thing right: action. The comic moves in pace and tone incredibly smoothly from one frame to the next. There is no question that Wahlquist and Winn know how to create incredibly well done action-themed pacing. The first issue of the series is light on dialogue, relying instead on multiple fast moving frames to help tell the story. There’s nothing wrong with this, and I think that adding in more dialogue would hurt the overall pacing of the story.
Issue one leaves the reader with plenty of questions. Who are the characters? Where are they? What are their motivations for what they are doing? All of these questions are left out in the open. However, the issue doesn’t leave you feeling like you have been robbed. It’s more like the action-introduction of a thriller movie. Sure, there are plenty of questions, but the action keeps you tied into the story, and you know that somewhere down the line all these questions will be answered. I for one look forward to getting those answers in future issues.
Writer/Artist: Neil Alexander
It took me a little bit to figure out why I enjoyed Good Guys so much. There are some things it does that I immediately loved: It makes a clever play on the superhero genre–It’s set in a world where 98 percent of people have super powers (also called Su-po) and the other 2 percent (the No-po) spend their time clamoring over the super powered celebrities who fill their TV screens. The premise alone is great. And that great premise is followed up by writing and art that makes the comic enjoyable, readable, and reread-able.
I think the reason that I enjoyed the comic so much is because of how much it reminded me of other comics of its same ilk that I love to read so much. Good Guys reminds me a great deal of comics like The Boys and Promethea. The comic does not shy away form the ridiculous, and it does not shy away from subject matter and images that some may find inappropriate. It is definitely a comic that you should pick up if you enjoy stories that take the super hero genre and shake it up.