Thursday, March 01, 2007

Independent Comics - May Review - Part 1

Indies March07

Editors Note:
Howdy all, I just wanted to point out this running discussion isn’t so much about buying (although there is plenty of that) but also about the neat things out there. Marvel and DC tend to dominate the scene but there are many, many smaller publishers that are producing lots of great stuff.

Unfortunately, there are lots and lots of small publishers producing crappy stuff too. With that in mind, the world of indies requires more research to see if a book is worth your dollar. Inbetween the regular discussion, I have included lots and lots of links so you can see for yourself if something is to your liking….

Anyway, on with the show!

About Comics
SCHULZ'S YOUTH HC by Charles M. Schulz
Lee: This is a collection of Schultz non-Peanuts work during the 50’s and 60’s. The 6x6 format most likely means single panel cartoons, one per page. A nice collection and sizeable too at 296 pages. I would be interested in seeing this but it really is for the Schultz/Peanuts collector.
Jim: Actually I was never a big Charles Shulz fan, but would be interested to brose through some of his other work, which I was unaware that he even had any other work.

REX LIBRIS #8 – by James Turner
Lee: Talk about a cover that really grabs your interest, I love it. The series is billed as “a librarian fights evil one book at a time!” What a hoot. Books like this are the joys of indie reading. BUT, unfortunately lots of indie books have good covers and crappy interiors. As I’ve said before, the key to weeding out the junk is research… and in this case, I found the artist website and his link to the book. I really like the art, it’s funky and different from anything out there. Finally, I was lucky enough to find a positive review too,
So the question becomes, as always, wait for trade or get the single issue to sample? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Jim: This is one of the type of books that might need people to buy the single issues to save it from an untimely death. Also this is a book that I wish some more people would try. I personally now go out of my way to try stuff from different publishers and have really fallen in love with a lot of IDW and Boom studio stuff. So Lee, buy the single issue on this one.

WONDERLAND #4 - by Tommy Kovac & Sonny Liew
Lee: I know nothing about this book but I know the name Sonny Liew. He has done lots of art for the Graphic Classics series, the Vertigo series “My Faith in Frankie”, and more. His work is is great. A nice mix between graphic arts and the Gloom Cookie goth girl art. It appears to be another examination of Alice in Wonderland (certainly can’t have enough of those can we - *sigh*) but the art is the real draw (pun intended!!!) here. As always, check it out for yourself…
Jim: Here is the official hype
Creators: by Tommy Kovac & Sonny Liew Description: Full Color. Mary Ann and the White Rabbit, along with the King and Queen of Spades, have escaped the treacle well with the help of The Butterfly. The disparate companions crash the Mad Tea Party (literally), and are welcomed by the Mad Hatter and the March Hare.However, it is revealed that the White Rabbit is wanted by the Queen of Hearts for treason. Tensions and scrub brushes bristle, personalities and patterns clash, and the Queen of Spades whisks her charges off to Sir Edward the Tailor. A nicer dress and a few giant moths later, Mary Ann finds herself sneaking into Looking-Glass House to glimpse the Alice Monster. 32 pages.
Jim: You have to love simple plots.

BEAR HELLO SH!TTY T-SHIRT (XL) - From Jamie Smart's smash hit new series, Bear!
Lee: Now that’s a t-shirt that’s almost (but not quite) subtle. Aaaahhhh to be back in HS and able to wear things like this. And, yes, if I was in HS, I would. Wish I knew what the Bear! series was.
Jim: Lee, did you ever graduate high school? I think I want to know what the book is before I buy the t-shirt.
Lee: It isn't about the book. And trust me, even if people don't know it's from a comic book it will still have the "desired" effect.

SHAOLIN COWBOY SEVERIN #7– by Geofrey Darrow
Lee: Wow, talk about a long time between issues. I mention this only because it really, really needs a trade. Actually, it needs a nice oversized HC to show off Darrow’s exquisite artwork. I recently picked up the first three issues in the $1 bin at my local store and loved it. I won’t be getting this but I will look for it in the $1 bin down the road.
Jim: It has been a long time between issues, but it is well worth the wait. This is one of my favorite comic books and I hope that he eventually publishes a larger format hard cover as the art is worth the price of admission. This book is pure unadulterated madness and is absolute fun. This is what makes the independent comics great, in that no major publisher would want a series about a Shaolin Cowboy and his talking ass (the type with four legs). Also this is one of the things that drive people crazy about independent books also and that is the sporadic publishing schedule. Just add it to your pull list and hope two or three issues get made every year.

VAMPIRELLA: REVELATIONS VOL. 1 SC (JUSKO S/N) - Full Color. Creators: Carey, Lilly, & Jusko Description: A very special edition of Vampirella Revelations signed by comics legend Joe Jusko, packaged with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity! Acclaimed writer Mike Carey (Lucifer, Hellblazer) and rising star Mike Lilly (Nightwing) present the definitive origin of Vampirella - a journey to hell and back! This edition is strictly limited to 200 copies. 88 pages.
Jim: I added this to have the cover, as Vampirella has always been a guilty pleasure for me and I wish the old Warren stuff would be collected. But, truth be known I think this series sold because no male would mind this girl biting their neck.
Lee: I would like to casually point out that occasionally, not always mind you.... but occasionally, you make fun of the choices I make in the indie world. Uuummm, let's just leave it at that!


MR. STUFFINS #3 - [ of 3] Full Color. Creators: Cosby, Stokes, & Carter Description: The all-out action finish! Mr. Stuffins will do what he has to do to protect the boy that he's been instructed to protect. No matter what the government, or more nefarious interests, wants. So it's Stuffins - unleashed! The mini-series conclusion from the creator who brought you the Sci-Fi Network's Eureka!
Jim: I love this concept. An artificial intelligence is put into a stuffed bear and now the Teddy bear thinks he is a secret agent. This book seems like it should be so much fun and writes new lyrics to the old childhood song “Me and my Teddy Bear”.
Lee: Lotta bear books out there these days. I must say this looks better than the serial killer one that is published by Amaze Ink, I think. Here's a trade, I'll get the evil fighting librarian and you get this.

STATION #1 - [ of 5] Full Color. Creators: Johanna Stokes Description: The International Space Station - it's the crowning achievement of mankind's space program, maintained and assembled by the governments of the world's five greatest super powers. So why is it the site of a murder? 24 pages.
Jim: Space stations and a murder mystery. Sounds like another book I will be checking out.
Lee: So what market is Boom Studios going for? They seem to be full of mini series but will that build a returning fan base? Interesting premise though.

RETURN OF THE SUPER PIMPS #2 - Creators: Richard A. Hamilton & Ulises Carpintero Description: With The Hood reduced to a lawless slum and the villainous Darquefire resurrected, Detective Jackson Maple races to track down his childhood heroes - the Super Pimps! But what ghosts from the past prevent Blackbeard from leading his team once more? Thrill at the return to Pimps' Lair! Cower at the sinister origin of Darquefire! And discover... Whatever Happened To The Super Pimps? Created by award-winning screenwriter Richard A. Hamilton and featuring the dynamite pencils of Ulises Carpintero
Lee: As we have already admitted, this is a slow month. But, not to be discouraged, slow months allow you to read gems like this!!! Superpimps? I’m sorry but I snicker just reading the title. The really surprise part… not only was there Return of Super Pimps #1 BUT there was a SuperPimps volume 1!!!! That’s right this sold well enough to warrant another miniseries. So Jim, are you pimply enough to brave SuperPimps???
Jim: Lee, yeah the Superpimps. As we have stated often the independents are not all gems, but at least they catered to almost any taste, but I’ll pass.
Lee: Alright, so maybe it isn’t to your taste but…. OH OH OH!!! I know… You can get the Afro Samuri highly-collectable Action Figures, place them next to your sandwich and read this while looking at them during your lunch hour!!!! If this doesn’t fulfill your middle-age-man-in-the-hood needs then nothing will.

DELPHINE #2 – by Richard Sala
Lee: I love, love, love Richard Sala. I remember his from his animation on MTV’s Liguid Television. This is a nice magazine sized (8x11) story. Highly recommended for the creepy, horror fan in all of us!
Jim: I’m unfamiliar with Richard Sala as MTV was not what I was watching in the nineties. Still in reviewing the hype and the cover, it looks good.

I SHALL DESTROY ALL THE CIVILIZED PLANETS SC - Description: Fletcher Hanks worked for only a few years in the earliest days of the comic book industry (1939-1941). Because he worked in a gutter medium for second-rate publishers on third rate characters, his work has been largely forgotten. But among aficionados he is legendary. Hanks drew in a variety of genres depicting science-fiction saviors, white women of the jungle, and he-man loggers. This book collects 15 of his best stories in one volume followed by an Afterword which solves the mystery of "Whatever Happened to Fletcher Hanks", the mysterious cartoonist who created a hailstorm of tales of brutal retribution ... and then mysteriously vanished. 120 pages. (8x11)
Lee: Normally, I don’t like the leave the whole description in place but in this case I almost have to. I really have no clue who Fletcher Hanks is or why he deserves a collection but there are several things that attract me to this. For one, I love comics history and apparently Hanks is good, and Golden Age reprints, in color are hard to get. There is so much un-reprinted material that this should be fun. For examples of his art, and a couple of scanned strips from the 50’s check out,
Jim: Lee, this does look like fun. Okay you have to let me borrow your copy of this book. This type of obscure material is really a joy to read.

THINGS JUST GET AWAY FROM YOU HC – by Walt Holcombe Description: Blessed with a lovely bouncy, rubbery SpongeBob SquarePants-y style, cartoonist and animator Walt Holcombe tells wildly imaginative stories of love gained and (often) lost. Things Just Get Away From You collects all of Holcombe's late-1990s comics work, with a bonus new story, "Hails at Sea," thrown in for good measure. It leads off with "King of Persia," a 1001 Nights/Yiddish vaudeville-inspired graphic novella in which king Faisal Al-Ghazali must win the affection of the woman he loves by traveling to an enchanted land in search of a giant emerald, while accompanied by his faithful companion, the talking camel, Jamila. 216 pages. (8x9)
Lee: I am looking forward to this because it is small press at its best. A xeric grant winner, Holcombe, even got a good review from TCJ. For TCJ to give a solid thumbs up means it has to be good. Nice big size, 8x9, and a wonderful silly cover.
Jim: Lee knows more obscure stuff then any other comic fan that I know, often he is spot on with some really underappreciated good stuff, but this is something I would have to read a little first before buying.

PROFESSOR'S DAUGHTER SC - Full Color. Creators: Joann Sfar & Emmanual Guibert Description: Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert bring the spirit of Victorian London to life in this witty, engaging, and heartwarming tale of a proper but mischievous girl and the mummy who opens his eyes for the first time in 3,000 years and instantly falls in love with her. With breathtaking art and hilarious, insightful writing from an Eisner Award-winning creator, The Professor's Daughter is the story of a delightful 3,000-year-old romance!
Lee: I am not sure how this snuck onto the radar but it looks sweet! I am a sucker for foreign language graphic novels. America is not the only place to create graphic novels and I think it’s really interesting to see what other countries/people create. Of course, I say this but I haven’t ever read a manga. Go figure. Anyway, this is a French creator, and the series was well received. My only complaint… the digest size. Would it kill a publisher to release something full size? Would it?
Jim: This does look amazing. It is the type of material that never sees the light of day from any other source then an independent. Lee – you need to read some magna is brilliant. Battle Angel Atlita is one recommendation I would make or even GON.

TINY TYRANT SC - Full Color. Creators: Lewis Trondheim & Fabrice Parme Description: Welcome to Portocristo: its clear skies, sandy beaches, bustling streets - and its spoiled rotten, six-year-old King. The little despot is grouchy, whiny, and demanding, but in Portrocristo, anything he says goes, no matter how bizarre or harebrained. With wacky, inventive writing and madcap art, Lewis Trondheim and Fabrice Parme's twelve stories for younger readers about the zany adventures of the Tiny Tyrant of Portocristo will delight and enchant you.
Lee: *SIGH* Another digest. These things kill me BUT sometimes they are the only way to get new and exciting material. Another foreign press book BUT with an all ages imprint something I can share with the kids. And honestly, between Civil War grim and gritty, Wolverine slaughtering thousands (I read ‘Enemy of the State this weekend’), some light hearted, humorous fun is EXACTLY what I need. A preview can be seen at,
Jim: It is nice to see an all age read that you can share with your kids. As my kids are turning 25 and 21 this year I’m past that stage. Still the digest size is something younger children seem to enjoy.


  1. I just wanted to confirm for you that yes, the Schulz's Youth book is indeed made up of single-panel cartoons (with one exceptions.)

    More information, including the updated cover and some sample cartoons, can be found here.

    --Nat Gertler (publisher of the book)

  2. Nat - Thanks for the update. Hope the book does well for you.