Dumb, Elena: Divinity Rising, If You Die in the Woods, and Life & Death in Paradise: $10 Worth of ComiXology Submit

December 10, 2015
by Christopher Gates
  • Dumb Elena Die Woods Life Death Paradise

Every week, I randomly buy about $10 worth of comics from ComiXology Submit, ComiXology’s wonderful self-publishing platform. This is what I think of ’em.

ComiXology Submit is a great way for independent comic creators to get their books out to a wide audience, and it’s an excellent place for readers to find titles that are fresh and different, while still maintaining a certain level of quality. Don’t take my word for it; check it out for yourself!

This Week’s Haul:

Dumb #1 & #2 ($3.99) – OUR BOOK OF THE WEEK!

Dumb 1 & 2

Writer & Artist: Georgia Webber

Genre: Autobiography
It’s Kind of Like: Dumb is its own thing.

The Premise: When Georgia talks, her throat hurts. No big deal. But as time goes on, Georgia’s condition worsens, until a doctor breaks the bad news: she can’ttalk any more.

100-Word Review: I review a lot of horror comics here. Forget ’em; Dumb is infinitely more terrifying. Dumb tells Webber’s (true) story about her progressive voice loss (and her eventual recovery), and how pain turned her life upside-down, is both heartbreaking and incredibly relatable (a few years ago, my girlfriend had to spend a month ‘dumb’ for medical reasons, and it was… difficult… for both of us). A special shout-out to Webber’s lettering, which does a pitch-perfect job depicting how casually we use our voices, and how debilitating it would be to lose that vital ability.

Buy it here.

Elena: Divinity Rising #1 ($0.99)

Elena Divinity Rising #1

Writers: Stuart Jennett, Darren Pierce
Artist: Stuart Jennett

Genre: Spy & Espionage
It’s Kind of Like: There’s so much Alias here.

The Premise: A mysterious terrorist organization attacks New York City, and it’s up to a team of CIA operatives—including Elena Anchova, a young woman who can psychically scan machines—to stop them.

100-Word Review: Elena’s unique brand of techno-superpowers is an amazing hook for an espionage thriller set in the digital age. I just wish the first issue did more with them. Elena’s barely in the book’s first half, and when she finally gets to act, she’s not a very effective secret agent. The art is consistent (although the lettering isn’t) and the plot is fine once the tone settles down (Elena looks like a gritty spy drama, and then submarines surface in the middle of the Hudson River). I just that Elena had more to do. It’s her book, after all.

Buy it here.

If You Die in the Woods, Does Anybody Care? ($1.99)

If You Die in the Woods

Writer & Artist: Steve Steiner

Genre: Comedy
It’s Kind of Like: If that dog from The Sandlot was actually as scary as everyone thought he was.

The Premise: A homicidal beaver keeps murdering people in Big Hole State Park, and park rangers Fred and Randall are going to have to kill it.

100-Word Review: If You Die in the Woods isn’t deep, but it’s surprisingly dark. Sure, the art is cartoony, and the gags feel like they’re ripped out of the pages of MAD Magazine, but If You Die in the Woods isn’t for kids—not young ones, anyway. Not all of Steiner’s jokes land like they’re supposed to, but his vibrant madcap art carries the reader through the rough spots. If You Die in the Woods is reasonably scary, too—at least, more than the premise deserves. A nice surprise.

Buy it here.

Life and Death in Paradise ($0.99)

Life & Death in Paradise #1

Writer: Alan Lynch
Artist: Michael Clarke

Genre: Crime
It’s Kind of Like: Goodfellas, but just the heist part.

The Premise: In the 1990s, Barbados turned into a gambler’s paradise, and a popular tourist destination. Soon, developers started creating artificial islands to increase the amount of the country’s beachfront property; billed as the New Pelican Isles, these man-made utopias are home to some of the best luxury resorts in the Carribbean—not to mention drugs, violence, and corruption

100-Word Review: Barbados’ New Pelican Isles are a fascinating setting. I’d never heard their story before picking up Life and Death in Paradise, and now I’m dying to know more. Life and Death in Paradise does a good job laying out its world, too; the art in Life and Death simply oozes neon sleaze. However, the lettering tanks the whole thing. It’s not just ugly; word balloons are full of typos and missing punctuation. I like this world, but I shouldn’t have to work so hard to follow the basic story.

Buy it here.

How I Choose What to Review:

  1. I’ve got $10 to spend. That’s it. Most of the time, I’ll try to split that money between different titles, so if your book costs $9.99, it’s going to have to be pretty darn special to get my money.
  2. I try to stick to #1 or one-shot issues. You might be telling the greatest story ever, but I don’t want to start in the middle.
  3. Unless the hook is amazing, I don’t buy superhero books. Don’t get me wrong, I love superheroes. I read ’em all the time, and that’s the problem. DC and Marvel already meet all my superhero needs. When I come to ComiXology Submit, I’m looking for something different.
  4. I take recommendations, although I don’t always follow them. You think I might like your book? Hit me up.


Christopher Gates lives in Los Angeles, CA. He writes about video games, comic books, and pop culture for sites like Looper, Maxim, Playboy, The Star Wars Insider, and others. In his spare time, he reads too many comics, watches too much baseball, and drinks too much beer.

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