A monthly column devoted to recommending interesting indie comics for pre-order. Pre-ordering supports indie creators and can often be the difference between a book succeeding or failing. Plus, you usually save money by doing it, too.
Oh man, another great month for indies—but also a great month for comics all around. If this column covered major publishers, too, there are at least three other books I'd be recommending: Dark Horse's Green River Killer and Creepy Presents: Bernie Wrightson, and Vertigo's Joe the Barbarian. Hope you're feeling flush this month, because it's going to require a lot of cash.
Order Code: MAY111196
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Details: B&W, 304pgs, HC
Writer/artist Nate Powell had been doing pretty amazing short comics in his anthology Walkie Talkie and other places for years before his breakthrough, the 2009 Best Graphic Novel Eisner winner Swallow Me Whole. That book was a fascinating take on mental illness and its effects on families. Powell's new book, Any Empire, is a meditation on violence and its effects on children. Powell's work has always been excellent—his moody, brushed pages are beautiful to behold even without any story—and he seems to be in the midst of a flowering of his talent. A must have.
Book of Human Insects
Order Code: MAY111268
Details: B&W, 368pgs, HC
While manga god Osamu Tezuka is best known for his kid-friendly work on titles like Astro Boy, he always created some much darker and more adult works (check out Ode to Kirihito or Black Jack, if you're interested). Book of Human Insects, as the title suggests, is one of those darker tales. This 1970s-era one shot follows a woman who can emulate anything and, when she emulates people, they often end up dead. There's not a lot more online, but just about anything by Tezuka is worth a look.
Yes, yes, this was the inspiration of the marginal, uber-goth 90s movie of the same name. But before that appeared, it was a landmark indie comic and it's that comic that's being presented here. The plot may be familiar—a man murdered by thugs comes back from the dead to exact revenge for his and his girlfriend's murder—but writer/artist James O'Barr's evocative pages are a sight to behold. This edition adds 30 new pages of never-before-seen material.
La Mano del Destino
Order Code: MAY110969
Publisher: Castle & Key
Details: FC, 22pgs, SC
I know there are some people who love anything lucha libre—masked Mexican wrestling. I'm not one of them (though I like my fair share of wrestling), but La Mano del Destino won me over with its online preview. The preview, which is actually all 21 pages of the book itself, reveals some beautiful, energetic art with a compellingly retro treatment. The six-issue series, written and drawn by J. Gonzo, follows a fallen luchadore out for revenge.
Order Code: MAY110779
Publisher: Abstract Studios
Details: B&W, 24pgs, SC
Writer/artist Terry Moore is probably best known for his long-running series Strangers in Paradise. In what sounds like a pleasingly extreme left turn, his new series Rachel Rising is a horror comic with an irresistable premise (blurb from Moore's blog):
Rachel Beck wakes on damp, soft dirt. Sitting up, she sees a foot sticking up from the ground in front of her. She is sitting on somebody. She is sitting on a shallow grave. Rolling onto her knees she claws the dirt away. It is the body of a woman much like her. The clothes are like hers. The face… it’s her. Dead.
That's a pretty wonderful setup, one that gets deeper when Rachel finds that her boyfriend has already moved on. I wasn't a huge fan of SIP, but Moore's talent is undeniable and this sounds like a terrific series.
A rash of deaths from spontaneous human combustion drives Melvin Reyes to seek proof of the phenomenon's reality, what pattern is driving the outbreak, and what killed his father years before. Written by Joe Harris (X-Men, Batman), with art by Brett Weldele (Southland Tales, The Surrogates, The Couriers). Sounds like lots of fun to me.
Sam Costello is the creator and writer of Split Lip, a horror webcomics anthology that io9 has called “the webcomics answer … to the Twilight Zone and Night Gallery.” It offers nearly 500 pages of free comics.
Split Lip: Termites In Your Smile and other stories will be on sale at the end of the month directly from Sam.
Other iFanboy Posts by Sam Costello
On My Own in Indie Comics Series:
Indie Comics Coming Attractions Series: