Sunflower, The Gatehouse, and Monkey Baron: $10 Worth of ComiXology Submit

October 22, 2015
by Christopher Gates
  • Comixology Submit Review Sunflower Gatehouse Monkey Baron Self Storage

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:

Sunflower #1 ($3.99) – OUR BOOK OF THE WEEK!

Sunflower #1

Writers: Mark Mallouk, Andi Ewington
Artist: Lee Carter
Colorists: David Forrest, Eugenio Perez Jr.
Letterers: Andi Ewington, Marc Peruggio

Genre: Crime
It’s Kind of Like: Take Kill Bill, replace kung-fu with detective work, and drop it in the middle of the flyover states.

The Premise: CJ hasn’t left her property for ten years—not since her husband and her daughter, Tallulah aka Sunflower, were murdered. But when CJ receives a postcard written in Sunflower’s handwriting, she springs into action. See, Sunflower’s alive, and nothing’s going to keep CJ from finding her baby girl.

100-Word Review: A quick, clean hook, delivered in the book’s opening pages. A determined, smart, and flawed hero with a relatable motivation. Clear art, with simple-yet-effective layouts and strong figure work. And a villain, Rush Bridges, who never appears, but whose presence haunts Sunflower’s every panel. I’m a stone cold sucker for a great crime story, and so far? Sunflower is a great crime story.

The Gatehouse #1 ($0.99)

Gatehouse #1

Writer: Sean E. Williams
Artist: Adam Bolton

Genre: Fantasy
It’s Kind of Like: Cheers, but with less Ted Danson and more multiverses.

The Premise: Thalia runs The Gatehouse, an inn that’s also a conduit to different dimensions. Rhys, the Gatehouse’s newest tennant, gets a tour, and decides to rent a room. That’s… kind of it.

100-Word Review: Funny, delightful, and not a story. The Gatehouse #1 reads like children’s book, not the beginning of an adventure. Fantastic strangeness jumps off of every page (and the environments are just as delightfully weird, once Thalia’s tour really gets going), and The Gatehouse is fun to flip through just to see what absurdity is going to pop up next. The thing is, nothing really happens here: it’s all exposition, with no plot attached. Maybe in issue #2?

The Menace of the Monkey Baron #1 ($0.99)

Menace of the Monkey Baron #1

Writer: Hector Lima
Artist: Milton Sobreiro
Cover Artist & Letterer: Felipe Sobreiero

Genre: Crime
It’s Kind of Like: The Wire with vigilantes.

The Premise: The city is in chaos. Drug dealers rule the streets, gunning each other down with abandon. The police are undermanned; the politicians corrupt. Renata, a reporter, catches a story involving the mysterious murder of a councilman and a local drug lord—and catches a glimpse of the Monkey Baron, a vigilante who’s dedicated bringing justice to the troubled town.

100-Word Review: The Menace of the Monkey Baron does a lot of telling, but not much showing. Police talk about meetings with their informants, but we don’t see them. Everyone’s buzzing about murder, but every single killing happens off-panel. In some cases, that’s necessary to preserve the story’s central mystery, but it also robs Monkey Baron of any sense of immediacy. Lima weaves an interesting story with many different threads, but he should let Sobreiro do more of the heavy lifting. The artist is clearly up to it.

Self Storage #1 ($3.99)

Self Storage #1

Writer: Clay McLeod Chapman
Artist: Matt Timson
Letterer: Eugenio Perez Jr.

Genre: Horror
It’s Kind of Like: Storage Wars: Survival Edition

The Premise: By day, Chris buys the contents of abandoned storage lockers, and then hawks their contents at local flea markets. By night, he hangs out with his fellow scavengers and tries to maintain a rocky relationship with Laura, his girlfriend. And then, one day, Chris buys locker #83—and everything in his life changes.

100-Word Review: A truly fantastic premise, even if the cover spoils the twist. In fact, that cover has all kinds of problems. Self Storage isn’t an action-packed zombie romp. It’s a slow, horror burn. Too slow, probably; character development’s always welcome, but the middle section of the book gets overly ponderous, and it’s a shame that the first issue doesn’t do more with Self Storage’s intriguing hook.

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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