Tad Caldwell, Old Wounds, and Outrunners: $10 Worth of ComiXology Submit
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:
Tad Caldwell and the Monster Kid ($2.99) – OUR BOOK OF THE WEEK
Writer: Kurt Amacker
Artist: Karl Slominski
It’s Kind of Like: Donnie Darko watches The Ring.
The Premise: After Nathan watches his own murder on a mysterious snuff tape, his investigation leads him to a L. Ron Hubbard-like science fiction author named Tad Caldwell, who knows a thing or two about aliens and may or may not have killed his own son.
100-Word Review: Big ideas punctuated by small moments. Amid all the time travel, extra-terrestrials, and doomsday cults, Tad Caldwell perfectly captures what it’s like being a teenager, when you’re not quite sure where you belong, what you believe, or who you can trust. If that’s not enough, Tad Caldwell has a fantastic, horrifying hook and weird, moody art (I adore Slominksi’s inks). Not all of the book’s big answers feel satisfying (and the big reveal is kind of a dud), but it’s because Tad Caldwell’s so damn ambitious. Better to swing for the fences and miss, than not try at all.
Old Wounds #1 ($3.99)
Writer: Russell Lissau
Artist: John Bivens
Letterers: Josh Southall & Steve Wallace
Genre: Mystery, mostly
It’s Kind of Like: Mr. Lissau liked Watchmen, but didn’t care for its happy, go-lucky attitude.
The Premise: Michael Lane used to be the Night Hunter, a vigilante who prowled the streets with his wife, Lori (also known as Miss Fury). Now, he’s an old, divorced drunk. After Lori dies in an explosion—not an accident, by the way—Michael needs to man up and solve her murder. After all, no one else is gonna do it.
100-Word Review: Night Hunter and Miss Fury are really more like pulp figures than superheroes, but don’t expect any levity. Old Wounds is bleak. Depression, established on the first few pages through Bevin’s moody, noir-ish art, permeates every aspect of the book. It’s hard not to feel bad for Michael, but the story sometimes the story is too unrelenting. There’s no variety, which makes Old Wounds’ second half feel like a slog. Old Wounds’ character work is solid, but the mystery doesn’t payoff: the solution is both too obvious, and too complicated.
Outrunners Vol. 1: 26 Klick Ride ($2.99)
Writer: Jonathan S. Gelatt
Artist: Andrew Krahnke
Genre: Sci-fi Gang Warfare
It’s Kind of Like: Put The Warriors in Batman Beyond, add a little bit of The Wire, and shake thoroughly. Serve with a Clockwork Orange garnish.
The Premise: Charly’s gang has problems. A heist gone wrong, with a body left behind. An ally that’s sold them out. A mysterious new gang on the loose, who Charley and his friends might’ve just ripped off. The police, hot on their tails.
Yeah. It’s not looking good.
100-Word Review: Hot damn, does Krahnke know his way around an action scene. From the opening truck heist to the climactic bike chase, Outrunners is frugal with character development (though it’s there, when needed), and big on high-octane set pieces, perfectly choreographed by the artist. Outrunner’s dystopian future isn’t anything new, but Gelatt breathes life into tired concepts with his dialogue, which feels similar to Anthony Burgess’ work. People in the future may not talk like they do in Outrunners, with weird slang and a distinct, sing-songy cadence, but until I learn otherwise, I’m convinced.
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.
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