25th Nov2020

eBuying Comics: Week 47

by Ian Wells

Carrying on the theme of last week, again I am wanting to support the comics industry in these times of crisis. Last week I was more than abley assisted by Phil when we put a selection of LCS under the spotlight. I wanted to give them a push whilst in lockdown as they are offering solid online services. This week is a little different but no less important. With the festive period upon us I thought it would be good to showcase some independent creators. These guys are the back bone of the industry. They are fans who have been inspired by comics to go and carve out a little corner for themselves in a very crowded marketplace. Again in these times we have found ourselves in in 2020 they really need our support, they thrive on word of mouth. If we continue to support their output we will continue to receive good comics regardless of what is happening at well established publishers.  With the ‘Big Two’ continuing to act as they do, whether it be their approach to distribution or being seen as lesser mediums for their IP. Their approach to story telling and trotting out the same old same, and pushing event after event I think more and more people will turn to independent creators for good stories. With a wide range of digital platforms available for them to sell their work now is a good time to seek them out. Whether you are looking for X-Mas inspiration or some good winter reading.

First up with have Fraser Campbell (@FraserC69). I have been a fan of his work for the last two years now. Just from following him on Twitter you know he is going to have good stories in him because he is always talking about good comics that inspire him. As well as this he is always pushing his followers in the right direction for good stuff on Kickstarter. Campbell’s work covers a wide range of genres for me the pick of the bunch is ‘Alex Automatic.’ If you are a fan of the spy genre and 70’s British TV this is the comic for you. There are currently five issues with #4/5 being double sized. With the earlier issues they are now only available digitally. Art on ‘Alex Automatic’ is by James Corcoran (@Fictitiousink). If you are more into cerebral head f@!*s I will point you in the direction of ‘The Edge Off’ where Fraser teams with Iain Laurie (@iainlaurie). In a previous review I called ‘The Edge Off’ as a thought provoking, horrifying page turner. All of Fraser’s work with his collaborators are available at cabalcomics.bigcartel.com His latest project is ‘Ind-Xed’ with Lucy Sullivan (@LucySullivanUK). It is described as lo-fi sci-fi. Sullivan has had a stand out year with the success of her first hardcover graphic novel ‘Barking.’ It is a very dark, hauting and personal tale. Checkout unbound.com for that. Over on her own website lucysullivanuk.com you will find a real eclectic mix of comics and ‘zines covering a wide range of topics from feminism and social media. As well as having a number of prints available at very reasonable prices.

Also this year Campbell teamed with Adam Falp (@adamfalp) on the homage to 80’s Marvel Comics ‘Knockout & Tigerstyle.’ This comic is written with tongue firmly in cheek. With Power Man and Iron Fist being the biggest influences both stylistically and tonally. Physical copies of the debut issue can be found at adamfalp.com and store.tribute-press.com, with a second issue to follow next year. Falp has been in comics twitter news of late as the latest issue of his comic ‘Atomic Hercules’ (with Tony Esmond) was banned from Kickstarter for adult content! The first and second issues went through the same platform with no problem so it really makes you question the decision makers. I can report that the news has done the third issue no harm at all. Head over to Falp’s website for the latest issue and catch up on previous ones of Kickstarters hottest new enemy. I believe the first issue has appeared on a mail bag episode of Cartoonist Kayfabe to positive reviews from Jim and Ed. #readmorecomics.

David Taylor (@dftaylorcomics) is a creator I discovered via Twitter, probably again from a Fraser Campbell retweet. Last year I backed his latest Kickstarter offering ‘The Grave.’ This comes highly reccomended from me. Especially if you are fans of Frank Miller, Ed Brubaker and hard boiled crime as a hole. ‘The Grave’ is such a well structured story with the city being as big a character as the crooks. Part of the tier I backed got me access to Taylor’s entire digital back catalogue. It is a back catalogue filled with hits. ‘Decades’ ended up being my favourite out of them all even though I paid to back another comic! ‘Decades’ is a story right up the alley for fans of ‘Mindhunter’ and true crime podcasts, again it is well paced story keeping you on the edge of your seat till the end. Lasty in the package was ‘Her’ again top marks for imaginative story telling, great twist at the end. This year it saw a sequel with ‘Her: Prosperity’ and ‘Her’ is been made into a film onver on Kickstarter too! These three stories are available in digital and print format at dftaylor.art and buysmallpress.com under ‘313 Comics.’

Next up I want to talk about two creators who I have discovered recently on Twitter but am yet to sample their work. They are Ken Reynolds (@ReynoldsKR20) and Russell Mark Olson (@russell_m_olson). Reynolds has two projects that have piqued my interest, both are available from kenreynolds.bigcartel.com and buysmallpress.com under Ken Reynolds. ‘Cognition’ is a story set in Victorian England about the exploits of a automaton and a mouse (‘Nuff said right)? The cover image and blurb for the series give me big ‘Hellboy’ vibes which is never a bad thing. On his bigcartel site you can buy the first five issue story arc either as a trade paperback or floppy single issues. This year Reynolds expanded on the world of ‘Cognition’ with the prose novel ‘The Journal Of Silas Pope.’ This is available via Amazon at  £1.79 for the Kindle edition or  for the handsome price of £6.49 you can bag yourself a paperback copy. I had a browse of the reviews last night and they are all glowing, plus the book just looks aesthetically pleasing to look at! Russell Olson came onto my radar the other week when I was looking to do a deep dive on stories with a vintage pulp/noir feel. Olson currently has two comics out playing right to this strength. First up is ‘Black Iris’ a WWII era wordless comic told in one page/one panel images. Then he has the first volume of ‘Gateway City’ in trade paperback. Set in the 1920’s ‘Gateway City’ is a blend of old pulp detective stories and sci-fi, which is just what I’ve been looking for to spark some inspiration in a personal project. Olson currently runs a Patreon (russellmarkolson) and all his work is on buysmallpress.com, where he also has a few pieces of original art currently listed. Check out the rocking Cyclops!

Lastly I want to talk about buysmallpress.com as a whole. It really is the go to place for buying small press. Every penny goes to the creators and I like how big and bold on the home page is the statement telling you by purchasing comics from helping small press grow whilst supporting your favourite creators. The site is really approachable to navigate which makes browsing for new stuff on a whim more easy and fun. You can browse all comics or by genre or by store if you already know of creators who use the site. I urge people to give it a look and I’ll use the old proverb of ‘Throw a rock you will hit something you like.’

Again like last week I hope I have done a little to help the industry I love and the people with in that industry who are the unsung superstars. Like I said earlier I can see there being a bigger and bigger demand for these guys selling their passion projects through the multitude of online platforms that make selling comics more accessible. At the end of the day people just want to read a good story or indulge in some brilliant art work without a multi million dollar company overseeing your favourite characters every move. So long live small press. Keep supporting and promoting your favourite reads. Lets help out and see them go from strength to strength.

 

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