Welcome once again to this Black Ship of ours. Today I’m going to take a break from spotlighting great comic to focus on some indie titles that I picked up from the inaugural Palm Spring Comic Con.
If your interested in my thoughts about the con, feel free to check out my podcast on it: Nerd Rage Episode 11.
I nabbed a whole bunch of independent comics at the event and, although I am glad to say that I did not regret purchasing any of them, some were a cut above the rest. While I would love nothing more than to shout out all the titles, I have limited my article to the top three for brevity’s sake.
In first place we have M3 from Vices Press, a spy thriller that was written and lettered by Erica Schultz, with art from Vicente Alcazar. From the very first scene, it’s clear that this book is tightly scripted. The pacing and tone of the storytelling is simultaneously dark, confusing, and engaging — all the right ingredients for such a story. Flat characterization is my only complaint; I wasn’t sold as to whether or not the characters had a personality. It was more the murder mystery that pulled me in, yet I was pulled in all the same. Vice has even collected back issues into trades, which I’m going to have to grab sooner rather than later.
Schultz and Alcazar have a long history of working on mainstream projects for other publishers, but this title is produced by their own imprint. More issues will be released later this year so do keep your eyes open for that. Here’s a link for you all to connect:
The second book that I thoroughly enjoyed was a title by the name of TransCat, released from NorthWest Press. It is a fun, humorous, black-and-white, anime-like comic. A transgender hero is featured as its protagonist, and the character fights patriarchy. I purchased the first issue, which fittingly had to do with convention etiquette. I found it hella fun given that a lot of the plot points applied to the con I was attending while reading it. Regardless of where I would’ve read the title, the truth is it is well scripted and cleverly paced, very much in the same vein as Scott Pilgrim. The art didn’t add anything to the title, but also didn’t take anything away. It seemed hollow, and could’ve used a little more depth.
This title is put together by Knave Murdok, “an American cartoonist [and] author of the comics Dave the Punk Rock Cat and TransCat.” TransCat is on its sixth installment — the link provides you with a few pages from each issue:
Lastly, I want to introduce Grrl Scouts by Jim Mahfood. I was drawn to his work on Tank Girl so I definitely had to read his independent work. I love the premise of a girl gang that sells dope, and Mahfood’s style realy helps it come to life. The illustrations have a lighthearted and punkish tone, delivering the kind of counter-culture sagas that I love and crave as a Chicano Punk.
Although the premise is great, I don’t think this particular installment really delved into the kind of high jinks and dilemmas that these characters could face. It felt more like the beginning of the idea, perhaps further indicated by the fact that Mahfood has also helped produce a live-action web pilot for his Grrl Scouts that is free on YouTube:
So those where the top of the crop from the comics that I got at the con. Special shout outs to:
Splatter Comics with Flesh or Blood. I grabbed the first two issues, created by Micheal Badger and Kyle Brummond. They currently have a Kickstarter up and so I wanted to make sure to mention it: Justice Kickstarter.
Greg Beda with his title, Zeke & Goulash, which was a fun and wholesome read. I’m sure you can get a feel from the Facebook page that just launched: Zeke & Goulash.
Finally, I wanted to mention an anthology by Dave Baker and friends. I will be getting back to Dave and his partner Nicole in a later installment — I enjoyed their Suicide Forest graphic novel very much. For more info on Dave’s title check out: Action Hospital.
Next on my agenda is the San Francisco Zine Fest. Until then, all hands on deck and keep this Black Ship of ours sailing.