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 them.
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:
Outer God: Part One ($1.99) – OUR BOOK OF THE WEEK!
Writer: Luc Labelle
Artist: Daryl Toh
What Is It? After Matthew Lovegood disappears in the ruins of an Egyptian temple, his wife, Qiana Banks, receives his journal in the mail. What unfolds inside is a tale of exquisite cosmic horror: impossible geometry, mysterious languages, and the growing sense that something just ain’t right…
Is It Worth Reading? Outer God is worth it the art alone. Labelle’s story—a modern spin on an otherwise traditional Lovecraftian adventure—is compelling, but familiar. Toh, however, is a goddamn rock star. His characters are unique and full of life, his backgrounds vibrant (and expertly colored). He can even draw dogs. Really, the only downside is that Outer God ends on a cliffhanger; then again, this is only part one. That’s to be expected.
Writer & Artist: Johnny Herber
What Is It? A Robert E. Howard Conan story, as filtered through a peyote trip. Uana, a snarky young woman, leaves her village for a life of thievery and small-time hustling. After a heist goes wrong, Uana dies. That’s when the giant snail shows up.
Is It Worth Reading? That depends. Part way through, Escargoteric takes on a modern, hipsterish tone that conflicts with the first third’s surreal—but genuine—fantasy. Some readers will appreciate the shift; for others, it’s going to be jarring. Still, Herber’s black and white world is attractively weird, and while the plot meanders en route to Escargoteric’s big reveal, the setting is never dull. If you like Adult Swim, Escargoteric isn’t a bad comic to check out.
Writer: Gilad Levine
Artist: Pramit Santra
Colorist: Zhao Chunlin
Letterer: D. Montgomery
What Is It? It’s 1941 in Jedwabne, Poland, and the Jews are burning. Trapped in a fiery barn, surrounded by savage villagers, and with no way out, Shmuel reflects on the circumstances that brought his people to this point. What follows is a harrowing account of the days leading up to the Nazi’s invasion of Poland, as told through the eyes of a single Jewish family.
Is It Worth Reading? If you’re a history buff, or if you’re not familiar with Jedwabne’s particular story, then Inferno is worth a read. Levine’s script does a nice job of explaining the political situation—and the resulting tension—without feeling heavy-handed. Santra’s figure work is rough, but at its best Inferno #1 remains a subtle, human examination of what it’s like to stare down the barrel of an impending tragedy.
Writer & Letterer: Phillip Rogers
Artist: Joe Bilicic
What Is It? A mysterious messenger arrives in San Dismas, a crime-ridden town in the Wild West. Meanwhile, a local gunslinger takes on a bully, and another mysterious stranger—this time, a man of the cloth—arrives and makes a sudden, violent impact.
Is It Worth Reading? Bellicic’s artwork is decent, but otherwise, this is an ugly, ugly book. Violence against women used exclusively to motivate a male hero? A “hero” whose sadism is played off as cool? A “boundary pushing” character twist, punctuated by needless cruelty? A hooker with a heart of gold? It’s all here. Even the lettering is gaudy and off-putting. San Dismas probably works for some people, but not for me.
Writer: Jesse Koza
Artist: Zoey Huerta
What Is It? It’s every little girl’s dream: your teddy bear comes to life, reveals he’s the head of a top-secret espionage agency, gives you a haughty but cool teenage robot for a sidekick, and then sends you on heroic missions through time and space.
Is It Worth Reading? Tegan and Archer is slight, but cute. Thanks to all the (necessary and relatively painless) exposition, the mission in the first issue—closing a stuck “time door” that leads back to the Paleolithic era—doesn’t get as much space as it needs, but otherwise Koza and Huerta do a nice job capturing the feeling of a fun, kid-friendly Saturday morning cartoon (remember those?).
How I Choose What to Review:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I take recommendations, although I don’t always follow them. You think I might like your book? Hit me up.