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Anthony Cleveland’s Mini Review Roundup!



Sometimes you just don’t have time to read a bunch of reviews and choose which great Indie Comics you’ll get into next, and when that happens, Anthony Cleveland has got your back and some great picks! It’s Mini Review time!


1. EELMAN CHRONICLES

I fucking love Eelman Chronicles.  There it is; Out of the way. 

There’s just so much heart and thought into this low-fi DIY comic. Eelman Chronicles is Chris Spalton’s (writer & illustrator) retellings of his father’s stories from being..well..an Eelman– someone who catches eels for a living. The stories are about his father’s bizarre run-ins on the job and about his town as a whole. Each story is fun and usually pretty absurd at times–and they stick with you! 

Chris is in the process of putting together a collected volume now, so follow him on social and keep an eye out for updates!

Rating

5/5


2. GUNPOWDER WITCH

What drives me crazy the most about the superhero genre in comics is its lack of originality. If I crack open a superhero book it’s usually because there’s some new ideas that were able to pull me in– for example: Gunpowder Witch’s original pitch. 

Gunpowder Witch ( great title, by the way ) has a very simple question: “What if the accused in the witch trials in the early American colonial era were actually superhumans with powers?” It’s X-Men meets the Crucible in this alternate timeline and it’s a blast! 

There’s a very simple art style here that matches well with the story and the characters are impossible not to connect with. At about 150 pages, it’s a great ride that is well worth your time. Pick this one up!

Rating

5/5


3. TALES FROM DREAMSPACE

While perusing CXC’s horror comics I came across Tales From Dreamspace. The $0.00 price tag made it an easy pick up and I was in the mood for an anthology.

 The horror anthologies I liked as a kid were the ones that were a bit more grudgier and left you feeling that icky horror feeling long after you set the book down

 Several of the stories in Tales from Dreamspace this hit that mark. There’s also few that have classic horror reveals and reversals that feel familiar with the EC horror comics. I was impressed with some stories that committed to challenges like: “How to make a bathroom rug scary?”

 Sprinkled throughout are mini-stories, quotes, and short narratives. It has a feel closer to a digital horror zine than to a classic horror comic you’d find in the backroom of a comic shop. –By no means am taking away points for it being a digital horror zine, but some of the stories didn’t hit the ball as hard as the others and the payoffs didn’t match the stronger narratives.

 Regardless, the stronger stories make it well worth a full read, especially if you’re a horror fan looking for a free and fun fix.

Rating

3/5


Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe to “the Pulse” for indie Comics new, CXC Updates and more great articles and reviews from Anthony Cleveland.


After decades of lurking the backroom of his beloved comic shop, Anthony Cleveland released his first comic Silver Skin issue #0 in 2017. He spends most of his time tweaking his upcoming projects, reading an unhealthy amount of horror shorts, and slaving away at his day jobs.

Twitter & IG @ant_cleveland







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Canada Bear #’s 1 & 2 [Review]


Canada Bear #’s 1 & 2

S & P Comics
Creator and Penciller: Paul Farris
Writer and Letterer: Sean Wilson
Inker: Carlos Azevedo
Reviewer: Rob Wrecks


After reading this, I am so, so, SO glad I saw ComixCentral on Twitter promoting this comic.

I’m even gladder I reached out about potentially reviewing it as well cause this was highly enjoyable for me. To the point it had me laughing over the goofy silliness that’s contained within the pages of these two comics. And any team that can get you laughing more than once over their comic’s events is a team that deserves an award in my humble view. I’m curious if Paul Harris and Sean Wilson have any Canadian roots or if this is just something they chose to do for the heck of it. Or perhaps out of a love for Canadian culture and admittedly, I found more amusement then I should have in the use of the word ‘Eh’ that are found throughout these first two issues. Now Canada Bear is something I probably coulda passed on to Derrick considering his love for stuff involving animals that talk and the like, but then that would have meant I wouldn’t have found so much joy within Canada Bear’s pages. Who is a legit bear who ended up changed thanks to the Canadian Government.

Even if it wasn’t something they were intending on during their (to me anyway) oddball war with the Swiss! Our furry hero can talk, fly, be super strong, and is invulnerable. Kinda like Superman but, you know, furrier and a bear! Canada Bear would be perfect as a cartoon for kids, teenagers, and adults to enjoy together as it’s not something that’s meant to be taken seriously. No, its just meant to be taken as something to enjoy. Or at least that’s how I view what Paul and Sean are doing here. The art and the coloring definitely help sell the idea of this being something for all ages to enjoy. I’m curious just how aware the Canadian Government is of what happened with our furry hero and just what exactly was in that bomb of theirs to change him like it did! Fairly certain though they now know to thoroughly check the land below them for any flight paths they take! Whoever Blue Jaw is talking too at the end of issue one is something I hope we don’t have to wait too long to find out about. Though it’s bound to be amusing either way when the mystery person and Canada Bear tie into it.

Unless of course, Paul and Sean choose to make the whole thing quite seriously. And in issue two, we get to see our furry hero take on a trio of bank robbers. Whom you wouldn’t think would be able to accomplish much considering what two of them are wearing for masks! It’s amusing however with what the leader thinks of Canada Bear, amusing but also an understandable thing given his line of thinking where the big furball is concerned! I’m not necessarily sure you would see this kind of silliness in a Marvel or DC book these days, especially the lengths we would be the leader of bank robberies goes too in order to get what he thinks is a mask from a certain furball. I would love to go on and on about this title from S & P comics, but that would ultimately spoil things for you readers and that’s the last thing I want to do. As this is something that should be enjoyed by many as much as possible due to the highly amusing fun things that go on in these first two issues. Which makes me curious as to how Paul and Sean are gonna top it with the third issue!

Will the ‘Salmon’ prevail where others have tried and failed? I have no idea but I can’t wait to find out!

You can buy Canada Bear issues in the SP ComicShop right here.


Known as Rob Wrecks, and due to a love for Independent titles that was born from an earlier start of reviewing comics for InvestComics. IndieComiX came into life from that love in 2012 and has been a-rockin’ ever since! Can reach him here and read more of his reviews and more on indiecomix.net


 




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RAGS: Prologue [Review]

RAGS: Prologue [Review]

Written by: Brian Ball, Trent Luther, and Liz Finnegan  |  Art by: Luigi Tereul  |  Reviewer: Rob Wrecks


The RAGS Prologue (Preview?) is something I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts on awhile now but haven’t done so.

RAGS is; if you haven’t seen previews and the like from the Twitter page, along with anything ComixCentral (Love that bunch!) has shared about the title, a fun-filled Zombie genre comic. Now in this preview, we don’t know what caused the dead to start being a huge problem and that’s okay as that’s probably explored in the full-on comic and its follow up issues. Unless Brian Ball, Trent Luther, and Liz Finnegan choose to keep that a mystery.

I like that there’s little color to be found in this comic, aside from the main character’s Redhair (Gotta love a Redhead!) her tattoos, and a couple of other areas – I won’t mention here. Our Redhead, one Regina Ragowski, who’s also a Marine Veteran, seems to be in something of a pickle. Then again, most would be when on their own and trying to avoid being Zombie dinner!

Now what baffles me about this preview is the fact that the lovely Regina is running around for dear life in nothing but her underwear. Why that is, isn’t exactly touched on, but in a way adds a nice touch of realism as one isn’t always gonna be dressed during a bad situation. Much like a certain couple once found out back in the day in Predator 2.  I could have done without the censorship once she loses her top, however. Now I’m not saying this cause I want to perv on a fictional character, but if you’re gonna already have cussing and violence in your comic, you might as well not even bother with the censors. As it’s pointless to do unless you are purposely doing it in order to draw in an audience.

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 Hell, when I first read this, I honestly thought I was seeing tattoos until I realized what those images actually were. That’s my only real problem with this preview, well, that and the fact this is a 14-page preview that leaves me wanting to know what happens to the lovely Regina! Especially as she ends up going from one pickle to another with some disgruntled folks who’d been doing their best not to become Zombie Chow!

Whether or not Brian, Trent, and Liz will have something that’s a break out hit in the Zombie genre remains to be seen, as most are more than likely tired of Zombies. Only time will tell for RAGS; and will Regina find herself a pair of pants?! Only our intrepid trio, plus the artist himself, Luigi Tereul knows for certain! At least then Regina will have some form of dignity if she ends up dead or worse while wearing some pants!


Known as Rob Wrecks, and due to a love for Independent titles that was born from an earlier start of reviewing comics for InvestComics. IndieComiX came into life from that love in 2012 and has been a rockin’ ever since! Can reach him here and read more of his reviews and more on indiecomix.net






 

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The Maroon[Review]

 

Reviewed by Anthony Cleveland

Writer/illustrator: Derek W. Lipscomb

Derek W. Lipscomb (writer/illustrator) approached ComixCentral to discuss his comic book series: The Maroon. We gave it a crack and discovered a fantastic series with genre combinations that have yet to be explored in other comics. The Maroon combines Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy with the fantastic mythology of American legends and history, all while never once pulling a single punch or tomahawk throw.




“The world I have The Maroon inhabit is a crazy mix of folklore fantasy with horror-inspired from Le Pacte de Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf),Derek began. I love how that film blends lore from history and fabricates it’s own clever take on the legend of The Beast of Gévaudan. I liked the idea that in the nooks and crannies of 1850 American history, there were mythical creatures and supernatural dealings that permeated the fringes of a growing civilization.”

Derek pitched his comic to me as a simmering campfire cauldron mixed with western films, anime features, & spiced generously with Native American mythology. If I could add to Derek’s pitch, I would say this is very much like a Conan the Barbarian story taking place in the 1800s south. Like many of the classic Conan stories, they begin grounded in a somewhat familiar and historical setting and later introduce the more fantastical elements. What remains constant throughout is how we are reminded that this is a savage world these characters inhabit.

The stand out issues were #1 and #3. In each of these issues, the strengths of the series are on full display. With issue #1, we are introduced to a father and son, who we are led to believe will be the main focus of the arc. A few pages later we meet The Maroon (real name unknown), who is on the run and is being pursued by a posse. As the issue comes to a close, the three are confronted by the posse and #1 concludes with a tragic climax that sets the tone for the rest of the series.

“ While The Maroon is a blending of history with the fantastic,  what I really hope comes from this experience, is the further exposure of a pocket an American-created people often blindsided by ‘grander events that pushed American History forward,’ ” Derek added.

Derek’s research into his settings must be applauded as well. Throughout he uses specific historical events as backdrops to his character’s stories. He also goes on to describe specific Native American tribe culture and incorporates their mythology into his story arcs. This shows through best in Issue #3.

By this issue, Derek fully immerses the reader with the fantasy elements of his story. #3 also sheds more light on our main character’s backstory through a brutal hallucinatory dream sequence that bleeds into reality when he comes face to face with a half-owl, half-woman beast. The fight between the two is raw, bloody, and intense. These 10 pages were the highlight of the series for me.

Another high point of the issue was when tidbits of The Maroon’s backstory is revealed and he’s forced to meet his past face to face. We learn that he was once in love with a woman above his social class and was tricked by a witch to drink a potion that was promised to make her fall in love with him. The potion instead curses him for life. This was the first time we are offered a look back at who The Maroon is.

My only real critique of the book would be to have more moments like this where we can explore that character’s history. Additional issues are on the rise and I’m sure Derek does have more in store for that.


Thank you for checking out this ComixCentral Review by Contributing Author Anthony Cleveland

Click here to find more articles and reviews from Anthony Cleveland  and don’t miss Anthony’s own Comic now available on ComixCentral, Silver Skin







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The Owl Tribe [Review]

 

Reviewed by Anthony Cleveland

the-owl-tribe-comic-book-review_-comixcentral

Writer: Lukasz Wnuczek
Illustrator:  Lukasz Wnuczek


Quick Overview: The Owl Tribe is a comic that revolves around a hunt for a beast straight out of the Native American (and Norse!) legends. It is set in the time of Viking exploration of pre-Columbian America and features fantastic characters borrowed from the lore of Native American tribes while also drawing from Norse tales.


Story

This 56-page comic is so rich and dense with world building and characterization that it feels like a sweeping epic graphic novel with a thick page count. What Lukasz Wnuczek (writer & illustrator) has done with this book is really something unique that lacks from other comics that commit to this particular length. Every panel matters and every panel sets up a pay off for our characters down the line.the-owl-tribe-comic-book-review_-comixcentral-2

The book follows several characters that are on both sides of the conflict and treats them both accordingly. It’s tough to say who is the bad guy or good guy throughout the comic. Our characters commit some pretty brutal acts, but we are shown their backstories so we can see their motivations and more often than not, give them our sympathy. This works the best in this comic when we see the motivations AFTER we think a character might be our villain.

It repeatedly makes the reader ask: Does this character’s emotional history justify their violent actions?

It’s engaging to the reader. Not only do you have an interesting conflict on the page to read, but you also have an internal conflict going on inside the reader. It’s difficult to accomplish and this Lukasz pulls it off seamlessly.

The best example of this is on the final page. It’s such a great gut punch that I will not spoil.  


Art-

There’s an earthy texture in the art that is very appropriate for this book. It feels organic and genuine. Lukasz puts this on display the strongest with his backgrounds and landscape panels. It’s an immersive feel that puts you right in the forest.

From my first glance at this book, the most eye-catching detail was in the character designs. The book’s cover features one of the more supernatural characters of the comic. This character is wearing a leather stitched mask with tribal-like paint across it. He stands with his staff and stares off into the mist. This is an eye-catching cover that makes you want to pick up the comic just to see who this guy is and what this book is about.


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RATING

This is a really unique book that shares an overlooked part of history. The comic doesn’t take sides in this conflict and instead allows the story unfold naturally by giving the right amount of information to the reader without spelling the whole saga.

The combination of earthy art and empathetic characters get this book a 5 out of 5.


Amazon: available as Kindle/paperback / extended paperback (with artbook section)


Thank you for checking out this ComixCentral Review by Contributing Author Anthony Cleveland

 






 

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2017 Comics Of The Year Awards

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The First Annual Comics of the Year Awards – 2017 Edition

2017 was an astounding year of firsts here at ComixCentral. When we opened the doors in March of 2017, we could have never imagined that so many incredible Comics of exceptional quality would be added to our marketplace in such a short time. We are overwhelmed with gratitude that the community we love so much has embraced us and chosen to sell their work on ComixCentral. We thank you all for joining us on this amazing journey, and we look forward to growing together for many years to come.

With that said, this year’s nominations were excruciating to choose. We love each and every comic on our site, and the competition was fierce! We’d like to thank all of you talented creators, and I hope you know how hard it was for our team to vote this year. But, as my 10th-grade gym coach once told me, “A little competition is good for the soul!” and we’ll add, great for our industry!

 We can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2018! And with that… here are this year’s winners!


“Best Fantasy” 

Comic”Skylin 001: Old Remnants

Long ago, the six nations fell victim to the ruthless tyranny of the Demon King and his Serpen. He burned all who opposed him and spared few. With little hope for liberation, nobles from each nation journeyed to an ancient floating city where they pleaded to the Spirits for help. Six warriors, one from each nation, were granted a powerful Serpen of their own, which they used to defeat the Demon King.

Buy Now »

 “Best Mystery”

The White Room of the Asylum

The White Room of the Asylum focuses on the tape-recorded memoirs of an old man named Steve who recently committed suicide. The tapes tell of the last period of his stay at the Soraberg Asylum and his discovery of what he came to call ‘The White Room.’ The White Room is an infinite space of pure white in which the residents can create anything they can think up. Over time more residents gain access to this mysterious place- Thus beginning a series of events that stretches Steve’s sanity to its limits, offers a chance at redemption, and leaves a man too broken to fix.

Buy Now »

 “Best Action”

Smart Bomb!! Level 1-2

Imagine an alternative gamingverse. One where TV games you’ve never heard of (yet, somehow, find oh-so familiar) are the norm. If only there was an awesome mix of comics and video games magazines to let you in on what’s going on? Thank Mr.Jump!’s ghost, it’s SMART BOMB!!

Buy Now »

  “Best Thriller”

Daughters of Knights – Chapter 1

Seraphine, accused of witchcraft, recalls the demon who slaughtered her companions and framed her. Daughters of knights is a medieval horror story about a disfigured girl, slaying monsters, and an uncomfortable, unconventional attraction.

Buy Now »

  “Best Superhero”

Humalien #1

In a future where humans are extinct. One was engineered in a lab to be a living biological weapon

Buy Now »

 “Best Horror

Bastard Son: Murderborn

Busted Knuckle Press presents: ‘Bastard Son: Murderborn’, a horror graphic novel. ORIGINS OF A SLASHER – 120+ PAGES OF BLOOD AND MADNESS! Created by Frank T. Allen & Marco “Sbrillo” Fontanili. Lettering by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios. Chapter One cover by Jacen Burrows.

Buy Now »

 “Best Sci-Fi”

Folklore Issue 1

A band of survivors travel across North America after a biological weapon turns the world’s greatest superheroes into horrifying abominations. The first issue of Folklore’s ongoing story, collected in this easy to enjoy PDF! Purchased issues help support the ongoing creation of Folklore, but you can find all our pages for free at http://folklorecomic.com/ or support Folklore directly by visiting our Patreon at patreon.com/Folklore

Buy Now »

  “Best Mature”

Dildo Boy Origins

Dildo Boy Origins is an XXX rated short comic which satirises the chauvinistic, adolescent male power fantasies of the superhero canon. Written, coloured, and lettered by Doktor Geraldo. Illustrated by Stefani Magician’s House. @DoktorGeraldo @MagiciansHouse In association with Digital Pastiche.

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 “Best Manga”

Samurai Shin Issue #1

Samurai Shin is highly influenced by anime such as Afro Samurai, Samurai Champloo, and Sword Of The Stranger

Buy Now »

 “Best Comedy

BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC #0 TRUE TALENT

Renegade Psychic. Professional Hairstylist. This is not your usual paranormal adventure. This is about the rise of a new kind of hero. Or, rather, the reluctant rise of a hero. Meet Bob Holbreck, a talented guy who has mad hairstyling skills. He owns and operates a nice little shop in the trendy part of town. His clientele is building with loyal customers. Bob truly knows what looks good on a customer before they do. How does he do it? How does he know what to do with a head of hair? Well, Bob has other talents. There are those who may consider it a gift. Like his great-grandfather, who is at odds about Bob’s future career choice. Bob just wants to be a hairstylist and make people feel good about themselves; Gramps wants him to cash in on his psychic abilities.

Buy Now »

  “Best LGBTQ+”

Alex Priest #1

In a world where vampires and demon ilk are very, very real, two agencies work to keep the world safe from the forces of darkness. Demon Eradication And Denial (DEAD LLC) is a corporate entity that charges itself with the training and employment of demon slayers – specialists in combating magical beings. Living Corpses that Bite (LC & B) is a tax exempt public entity that relies on time proven traditions to keep humanity safe from vampires. When hunting evil evolved into blue collar work, the evil had to evolve.

Buy Now »


 “Best Story Arc”

Project Shadow Breed #1

In the new millennia, SinTech, a private government contract corporation began developing a serum to turn ordinary soldiers into werewolves. With the backing of the US military, SinTech perfected the serum. In 2014, they created the first “wolf pack” of soldiers. What they didn’t expect to create was Marrok.

Buy Now »

 “Best Series”

WOLF HANDS: Season 1

Vaughn Miller is a mild-mannered cellphone plan salesman who was bitten by a dying werewolf. Now, whenever trouble rears its ugly head, he transforms into a werewolf….IN HIS HANDS! Pursued by the evil Professor Orchid and his army of Frankensteins, Vaughn turns to his far-more-capable girlfriend Jenny Rose to get him out of this increasingly sticky situation. Madcap adventures and cartooney ultra-violence ensue! Written by Justin Heggs with art by Nick Johnson.

Buy Now »

 “Best Overall” 

RAGS: PROLOGUE

Marine Corps Veteran Regina Ragowski is trapped naked and alone in the town of Paso Robles during the Zombie Outbreak. In order to survive she’ll need to avoid the zombies and find food, shelter and weapons…but most importantly….a clean pair of pants.

Buy Now »

Congratulations to all our first annual Comic of the Year Award Winners!

You can check out all the Nominated Comics here:

Get your Comics uploaded and available for sale on ComixCentral.com to enter the 2018 Comic of the Year Awards! 

 





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Review: Project Shadow Breed #4

blog-headers-review-project-shadow-breed-4

Project Shadow Breed #4
Different Breed Comics/Dim Throat Comics
Written by: Justin Bartz
Art and Colors by Stefani Magicianshouse
Lettered by: Justin Birch
Story by: Josh Schneider and Justin Bartz
Reviewer: Rob Wrecks


Project Shadow Breed has been an interesting read for me so far. As one of the main things I really like about this is the fact that the main character Marrok is a Werewolf! And not necessarily a traditional kind either. But more man-made for one of those black ops type military projects. You know how it is, man playing God and all that just to get themselves a good ol’ fashioned weapon to better fight their enemies with! Yes, I’m talking about you, SinTech! You naughty fellas! I’m curious though, does Marrok get affected by the Full Moon? Making him stronger during it? Maybe a bit more feral? Or is he completely unaffected by it since this was basically a Science Experiment by folks who shouldn’t have been mucking about with things greater than them? Answers that perhaps one day, we’ll get from Justin Bartz when the time is right!

And while I enjoyed Stefani Magicianhouse’s art and colors, there were points in her art that were a little off. For example, I’ll go into the early pages of #1 where a mother is holding her (dead?) mixed little girl after a shootout occurs. I don’t know if this was done intentionally, but instead of holding the little girl in her arms, she’s holding the little girl in a way one would probably do so in a sacrificial way. And looking very stiff as well instead of actually looking like a body. Its possible this was done on purpose because the panel’s not exactly a big one but still, the whole thing looks really weird.



It’s also clear to see that the city of Seattle has a big problem. One that Marrok and his partner/mentor/friend Leroy are trying to do something about. Even if one’s a lot younger then the other but they don’t necessarily let that affect them too much! I love the friendship between these two and you nearly wanna’ climb into the pages yourself to help Marrok put a hurting on some folks after Ol’ Leroy ends up in the hospital. Ol’ Leroy’s the reason Marrok himself didn’t end up becoming anything more than a Government Black Ops pawn that probably woulda been seen as expendable at some point in the future. PSB is also a lesson in why the Government should NOT be doing business with Businessmen. Especially those who aren’t good people and will use a place like Seattle for anything they please.

The trucker villain who’s got a Van Dyke look going on (which is weird considering he’s a trucker and a villain for Marrok) is someone who is unapologetic about what he does. And you wanna just hate him for it, especially once you see what he’s got in his trailer! I honestly had expected him to be a one time character after his first appearance but was surprised he wasn’t. Which makes me look forward to seeing how much of more a pain in the ass he can be for Marrok and Leroy in the future. I’m also a little curious about if whether or not Justin and Stefani are Rick and Morty fans since in the 4th issue there’s a Scientist who has a resemblance to one of those characters. Or close to it at least! Issue 4 also gives the lovely Goddess known as ‘Red Hyena’ and she’s certainly a handful! Not to mention a bit sneaky!

I honestly hope she’s around for future issues, and armed with more armpit gas as that’s not necessarily something you see someone use a whole lot of! Has me curious about what got Justin to go for an idea like that! Near the end of the 4th issue, however, is a little jarring. I don’t know if this was intentional or what, but seeing Marrok talk with Leroy and practically pleading with him to wake up from his coma-like state and then a panel away discussing some bad business the two’s been looking into it (like I said before) pretty jarring. Though I’m curious if any more of Leroy’s old friends are gonna show up with intent to be a problem for him and Marrok. Then again, that nurse of his might cause him more trouble than any other old friends of his!

Andrews and his cohorts clearly have some bad intentions in mind and I can’t wait to see what those are. If only to see Marrok and Leroy stop them but good! As Andrews and his bunch definitely need to be stopped before they can do any kinda real serious damage!

So Justin? Bring on #5 so we can all have a howlin’ good time!


Find more great Indie Comic reviews from Rob Wrecks on indiecomix.net


 

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Champions of Hara: Chapters 1 and 2 | Comicbook Review

Champions of Hara: Chapters 1 and 2

Reviewed by Rod Jenkins


Creators: Walter Barber
Ian Vannest
Andrew Zimmerman

Writer: Walter Barber

Art, Colors, Lettering: Jason Piperberg

Cover Art: Chapter 1 – Hannah Kennedy
Chapter 2 – M. Misztal


Quick hit: Champions of Hara is a mix between Fate Stay Night Anime and Eternal Champions.

Champions of Hara is a tale of a world created from chaotic energies, that is also being destroyed by those same energies. In order to keep the lifeforms of Hara viable, the Kensei (guardians of Hara) reach out to other worlds, perhaps other dimensions, to find beings who may be able to control and harness the chaotic energies of Hara and stabilize the realm, only one can claim the right to these energies, thus from what I gather, an ‘unofficial’ competition begins to see who is worthy of possessing Hara’s energy, and as a side perk, the winner gets to have the greatest desire granted.


This reviewer quickly thought. if these guardians have that kind of power, why can’t they control Hara’s energy on their own? Perhaps as the tale is told, more of Hara’s secrets will be revealed. The ‘chapters’ of Champions of Hara are quick, with timely wording and elegance provided by writer Walter Barber. These first two novellas introduce readers to the first 2 participants in the competition. It must be pointed out, that so far there has not been an actual number of participants listed, so from here, no one can be certain if there are any more beings participating.

The expertise of artist Jason Piperberg is clearly shown throughout both books, from knowledge of time settings of Earth to fantasy flora and fauna.

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Piperberg’s use of shades and colors deftly, and subtly set the emotion and pace of Barber’s writing. I give full marks to Jason for his use of digital coloring, as this reviewer is not a huge fan of the technique, Piperberg touch is not overblown, nor lacking to the lineart, instead, it’s a perfect harmonious balance.

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The only flaws of these fine books are: a page wasted for indicia, perhaps the creative team was looking for ways to stretch out the stories (each book is just 12-14 pages) This reader would’ve preferred if the legalese was placed along with the credits, the give Piperberg a page to really show off his artistic skill (perhaps with character design sketches).

The other flaw is the second page is too dark, where, readers skip by the pencil art that is on the page, you don’t see it because of the darkness of the page, a lighter gradient will fix this oversight.

Champions of Hara is all too quick of a ride, however, the substance that Baber and Piperberg give readers, is a complete joy, that has this reader and many more, eagerly waiting to see what is upcoming.

Rating 4 out 5 eyes ( Worth the price of Admission)





 

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Review: The Legend Of Pinky #1

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Review  |   The Legend Of Pinky #1   |   Carbon Age Comics  |   Written and Illustrated by: Craig Johnson II |  Reviewer: Rob Wrecks  |

Summary: Follow the exploits of a cocky young hoodlum, “Pinky” Horwitz, as he navigates race, nightlife and a shaky criminal career in 1928 New York City!

When ComiXCentral sent this my way and I saw the title, I legit thought this was a continuation of the ‘Pinky’s’ films. As we seriously need a comic of them movies! Naturally, I ended up being wrong on that count but I found myself not being too disappointed by that. And come on! Who doesn’t love a comic set in gangster eras like the 20’s and higher? Crazy people, that’s who!

Craig Johnson III certainly does a great job in capturing the era he’s writing in and I can only imagine how much time he spent to research in order to make it look like a genuine 20’s era story. Although, judging by a few unnecessary spaces in certain areas, it does seem like he could use an editor to prevent that kind of thing from happening in the future. Now, because of the setting here, you may not want to read this if you’re easily triggered by the social norms this comic clearly has. I like how Craig uses only a few colors for his art in this. Making it easy in its own way to tell who is who as otherwise it might be somewhat difficult to tell who anyone is if it was only done in black and white.

Pinky himself, while a gangster, is definitely the type who loves to party it up and doesn’t care who it is he’s partying with. And I can only imagine that doesn’t settle well with some considering the time period and all. Gotta wonder how much of his personality comes from his ma? As she seems quite the character herself and I kinda wouldn’t mind seeing more of her! And considering a few of Pinky’s actions, I can see why she’s worried about losing her boy.



I will say you’ll want to read and check out each face carefully as you might get confused at certain points. As Pinky and Sam kinda look alike at one point and when we get a scene shift from the past and back to the present, we get no warning and it’s a little jarring at first. Trouble is definitely a brewin’ in all corners as we get to the last page of this first issue and it seems like Pinky is definitely at the center of it all in one way or another.

How this will all play out is anyone’s guess aside from Craig’s and I can’t wait to see how it all goes down. Especially a certain view of Lump’s about Pinky that will probably come back to bite him in the butt!

So if Gangster era comics is your jam, don’t sleep on this one!

Editor’s Note: Both Print and Digital versions of ‘The Legend of Pinky’ can be found right here!


Find more great Indie Comic review from Rob Wrecks on indiecomix.net





 

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Review: Arkade – Can the vikings of Arkade survive the nothingness?

comic book review arkade

Art

Elaine is always great (read “Look Straight Ahead” if you haven’t done this already)!  The layouts, the character designs, the colouring, the lettering, she does it all folks!  The pixilation effect Elaine created is fresh and adds a lot to the tone and setting of Arkade.

Story

Mark crafted a solid story here.  There is a world within a world, life outside the cartridge impacts the story within.  The characters are all searching for something; for the game dwellers it is a way to survive and stay relevant, for the video game stoners it is nostalgia.

I felt there is an existentialist aspect to this story.  The cartridge folk face an absurdist threat of nothingness (“The Never Ending Story”).  The bored stoners roam through a video game store, looking for a distraction.  It is people trying to come to terms with their situation, and find meaning in what they are choosing.

ComixCentral is selling “Arkade” in PDF format: https://www.comixcentral.com/product/arkade/

You can learn more about Mark and Elaine’s projects on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CuckoosNestPress/




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The Eyrie: Midnight Walk on the Beach  

the eyrie comic book review

Trick or treat, indie idolaters. No, it isn’t Halloween, but it might as well be. You know how I get truly, madly, deeply giddy over spooky, ghastly, creepy storytelling. Now that I’ve reminded you of my bias, we can begin.

I don’t know if I would really call my loveable lament a review as much as the electronically written equivalent of my joygasm. That last word is in the urban dictionary, by the way. Don’t like it? Don’t read my stuff. No one loves the angry nun living inside of you who constantly regrets her vow of celibacy. If you care about that word, then your definition of terror lies in a classroom on the end of a ruler. It’s archaic, and that nun is most likely dead. The Eyrie by Mr. Thom Burgess, on the other hand, is much more frightening and very much alive. Mostly alive. Maybe just sort of alive. It depends on your medical opinion of certain longfellows.  



First of all, Illustrator Barney Bodoano’s style is the PERFECT dark cloak to cast over Thom’s tightly knit words. Notice I said cloak here, not cloud. That’s because the art of The Eyrie feels more like a fabric than a storm.

It’s the kind of creepshow you feel just attop your skin with plenty of room for goosebumps.

His work reminds me of my first favorite illustrator Stephen Gammell, who brought horror to life in the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series of Alvin Schwartz fame. I’ve always enjoyed the challenging maze of haunting illustrations because the creator has to draw a fine line between frightening and fascinating. In my view, the art is a slightly matured shade of Gammells mastery. Nothing can replace my first childhood horror gem, but as far as one-shots go, I’m made both small and fragile by Bodoano’s vision. The world is unfamiliar, unsettling, and still somehow nostalgic. I couldn’t have drawn a better picture myself. Well done.

If any of you readers out there are actually writing out your own panic-filled panels, I strongly recommend you take note of how Thom Burgess handles exposition and tension. Our protagonist Rebecca is introduced in the midst of a tense moment right off the bat. The basic details of our story are sprinkled on an icing of frustration and sarcasm that allows for both familiarity and sympathy. You feel connected to the character, and despite her clearly eerie road trip, we’re all ready for a ride along.   

I found the whole read to be a wonderful descent. We begin by slipping into something mildly uncomfortable. The greasy history of our English backdrop adds a barbarous fog to the mix. In the case of Rebecca, I suppose it’s really a “be careful what you didn’t wish for” situation. Disconnection, isolation, and “generally pissed off” are all wonderful ingredients for madness. Still, our girl seems to keep it together for the most part, considering the noises in the shadows.

This story has plenty of the classic tropes we’ve all come to expect. Still it’s clear that Thom has cut his teeth on fright-night noir and the criminal creep themes in order to find his own voice of darkness. Most importantly, he understands what it takes to craft a scare. That is to say, the build up is everything. It’s not about the moment itself, but the vision you paint around it. While torture and sacrifice are a must in Sussex, happily, no one falls victim to your typical jump scare. I’m afraid that’s just too Hollywood, and every flesh food fan I know is over it. I think I speak for most monster maniacs when I say thanks for racking your brain for the sake of our genre.

I do not wish to take you round the final turn or through the last dark tunnel. It would be cruel of me to do so. However, Thom has earned his dance among the ghosts. He stepped onto the floor with Malevolents, and the creative choreography within The Eyrie’s pages will pull you in just long enough to stop your heart. With a well-deserved introduction from Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen, Shaun of the Dead) to get you started, you know you’re in for an interesting nightmare. Lastly, never mind a knock or two on the cottage door, but do be mindful of Mr. Owl wearing a hat. He may not be as welcoming as your childhood tootsie-pop dreams made him out to be.

You can learn more about The Eyrie here. And buy it too!





 

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Evian Rising: A Lesson in Love

evian rising comic review

What’s up manga misfits? Today we examine the architectural odyssey of Evian Rising. I do not use the word “odyssey” lightly.

As it stands, if Stephen King’s Pennywise is considered “the eater of worlds,” then Latravious Calloway may very well be the clown’s antithesis. A kind, meticulous designer whose love and devotion for his wife and daughters created a universe. That’s a pretty strong monument to unity and family compared to your last-minute-no-thought-sad-sack-cuz-girls-like-singing-things-sometimes purchase of Pitch Perfect 2 from Walmart ‘ay Jim.

Evian Rising’s creator seems to have the corner market on lavish love letters in the form of a martial arts fantasy/anime mashup.

His journey is crafted upon a sculpture of feminism that is both timeless and modern, broken from the mold of diversity, mythology and vengeance. The magnetism of the main character comes from her decisive nature. It’s up to you as the reader to decide whether the ends justify the means, but I can appreciate the story’s attempt to demonstrate the power human charisma can have over blind faith. The protagonist is both blunt and empathetic, similar to the likes of Salt or Lara Croft, and she’s just as mysterious.

With only one issue thus far, backed up by an unfinished 60 plus wikia page chalked full of backstory, character descriptions, and skill trees, it’s clear this arc is going to be a very long trip. Thankfully, we could all use a new heroine addiction. It feels a little bit like Dungeons and Dragons grew lady parts and flew into space. I’m down with that.
Since Latravious uses the graphic novel medium as a means to redefine the term “passion project,” I thought it might be best to express the creative process of Evian in the form of a sonnet, one love letter for another, if you will. A bit strange perhaps, but more than appropriate considering our topic is a little out of this world.

Evian Rising: A Sonnet

When stars could not keep locked the heaven’s lore

And humans learned the truth from stranger things

The beings with new faith were slaves no more

God’s idle hands were tricked by freedom’s ring

But while her ring burst forth with good intent

Her voice broke through the masters lazy rest

His morning fury came without consent

And stole the light the new believer’s blessed

But though the night brings monsters in his wake

The light gave birth a wish upon her death

A star with mother’s skin and daughters strength

Who would return the power that hope left

A warrior countess born without a past

Will fight to give the cosmos truth at last

~

While I’m not as familiar with our story as Latravious must be, the vast nature of its lore along with our author’s attention to detail must be nothing short of poetry.

Though it might be easy to label this tale as 2 years in the making, there’s something about the venture that is honestly timeless. While love may be the most widely worded topic in the land of art and literature, that’s only because it reminds each of us why we tell stories in the first place. That is, to tell the truth.

While I wish Evian’s rise to be a successful one, she can rest easy above the clouds knowing she’s supported via a rare and devoted romeo who really wanted to put a new spin on those three little words we all know in a big way. While we all want our creativity to shine far and wide, we often forget the value of genuine depth under all that noisy expectation. It’s all pretty wild considering a universe this big can exist around a single focal point.


This is the kind of creative journey we can always feel more than anything else.

It reminds us that “I love you” is never boring and always matters. Don’t take my word for it. You don’t need a class in Shakespeare or a course in etiquette to tell a good story. You simply need to place your heart in the hands of someone you love and let her do the talking. I have a feeling she’ll have a lot more to say than you think.


For more information about Evian Rising check out her home on the web: https://www.evianrising.com/





 

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Masks: An Apocalypse Worth Dying For

indie comic masks

Let’s start with Stanley Ipkiss. Remember? The 1994 comedy smash hit you loved when you were 7 years old because, well, Jim Carrey? ALLRIGHTY THEN!

Take his mischievous nature, and turn the psycho factor up really high.

After that’s done, move him from Eagle City to Los Angeles (because let’s be honest, it’s L.A. anyway). Easy right? Now, start lots of riots; blow up everything; kill almost everyone; fast forward about 70 years or so, while somehow feeling stuck in the past; find a way to act creepy and nonchalant at the same time; and become oddly obsessed with finding the one comic that’s really a book, that’s really a bible (maybe, I think). Congratulations! You’ve now sort of skimmed the surface of Masks #1, a new indie comic from story magician Daniel Warner and illustrator extraordinaire Matias Zeballos.


Wow! What a war-torn western celebration of mysterious sadness!

It’s like Stephen King and Quentin Tarantino made sweet dude love in a cave, and a whole population of identity-crisis-covered children came marching out the other side.

Our dark, quiet world sugarcoated in mystery and death is divided into two types of people.

The Maskless (straight shooters with well-revealed intention) and yes, you guessed it, The Masks. It seems that these shady types are the bread and butter of our massacre meal. Thankfully, though, the basic concept is merely an appetizer.

The story gnaws at a basic, enduring, and natural question of identity; however, our main protagonist does a brilliant job of walking the line between a likeable mystery man and a time bomb whose ticking pulls our eyes toward an explosion we can only hope to get caught up in.

The pacing might be overwhelming given that it’s a little over twice as long as your average indie comic, but I implore you, as the reader, to have patience. The burden is shouldered well with Zeballos’ seasoned and gritty horror-color choreography keeping you company. Think Breaking Bad with masks instead of meth.

I’d argue that there’s a little more time dedicated to backstory than Stephen King might prefer (even for Volume 1), but the influence of his Dark Tower hiding inside the panels is much appreciated. I’m also a little biased, because there’s a nice nod to my favorite indie comic—and favorite indie comic film—early on in Issue 1. It would be rather vicious of me to give it away.

All in all, it’s a slow burn worth the read.

The absence of the overall population strengthens the deafening knock of doom that overwhelms the reader. My somewhat limited understanding is that Warner and Zeballos wish for this series to expand 12 volumes, perhaps more. I certainly hope so. I want to meet the Masker. I want to get to know the Bookkeeper. I’m excited to see where the violence takes us. Most of all, I’d love to see where Warner takes such a relatable theme. Can we exist as solely deceptive or open? Do we need both worlds to coexist? Will human identity survive the apocalypse? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do hope that the story continues to take its time. There’s a bloodbath just waiting to occur, and the dark wanderer in all of us is dying to go for a swim.

A solid 4.5 out of 5 stars! 





 

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8 Reasons To Read  the Bob: Non-Union Psychic series

bob non union psychic

In this saturated market, it’s easy to miss the little gems out there.

One diamond you probably haven’t noticed in a vast sea of rough is BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC (“Renegade Psychic. Professional Hairstylist.”), a digital-first series published by Colorado-based newcomer Warehouse 9 Productions, Ltd. in 2015.

The ad copy puts the hilarious, high-as-they-come concept as well as anyone could: “Bob Holbreck would rather use his mad hairstyling skills to make the world look a little sexier than use his awesome psychic powers to make it a lot safer.  Too bad his great Gramps won’t take no for an answer…”

Here are eight (illustrated!) reasons why BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC is worth your time.

1. BOB’s part of that too-rare gem of a genre, the paranormal-comedy-horror comic CHEW just ended, and there’s only one GHOSTBUSTERS.  BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC is serving an under-represented audience right now.  If you’re a member of it and didn’t know about BOB, well, now ya know.

2. Everyone who reads it seems to really like it.  Indie comics don’t make much of a splash – but you can tell a lot from the ripples they do make.  And the series has received unanimously high reviews, averaging no less than 4 stars out of 5.

3. BOB isn’t just an independent comic – it’s a book about independence.  Bob Holbreck’s attempt to join the Psychic Union in BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 0 is a story his creator Lance Lucero originally thought up as commentary on his fights with the gatekeepers of the entertainment world, but any person whose clear ability has been denied for paper-related reasons will dig the central theme of this book.

4. It’s an indie book, but everything about it is pro.  Yeah, we all like the idea of supporting the little guys in comics, but not to the extent that we’re ready to spend our hard-earned cash on sub-par work.  The production values of BOB are as good as any you’ll find, though, thanks to artist extraordinario Francisco Resendiz and the designer’s eye of Lance Lucero.

5. For a book about a psychic hairstylist, BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC is bizarrely well-researched.  Lance Lucero lives in fear of a reader informing him that this or that part of his book makes use of an incorrect fact, so the man does his homework.  For the just-released BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 1, his writing partner Adam Volle even stopped off in Paris to conduct some primary research.

6. BOB is bilingual!  In BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 1, Bob finds himself tasked with an important mission by a French ghost.  The problem is, Bob doesn’t speak French.  You don’t need to speak it either in order to follow the story, but if you do, there’s a whole extra layer of fun available.

7. BOB offers new cosplaying options. Just imagine: while all your friends are boring the world with their run-of-the-mill Deadpool costumes, you can be showing off as the 18th-century founding father of hairdressing, Legros de Rumigny!

8. BOB is timely.  Let us level with you on this: when you’re writing a book about a psychic barber, you are always on the hunt for fun and/or relevant hair-related material.  And the ‘do of a certain new president?  It’s like a gift.  It may also be a clue in a case Bob is trying to solve in BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 1…

You can buy the digital editions of BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC # 0 and # 1 on ComixCentral right now – and it’s highly recommended you do!