Heads Up: Indie Comics Previews – March 2012

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.


The Coldest City HC

By Antony Johnston & Sam Hart
Order Code: JAN121214
Publisher: Oni Press
176 pages – B&W – HC


A couple of weeks ago, I saw the new film version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. A great novel with a great 1970s BBC adaptation, I’m told, but this modern incarnation was simply dead boring. Not too challenging or too slow, just authentically uninteresting. Still, that collision with Cold War spy fiction hasn’t soured me on the genre entirely and hear comes The Coldest City. This spy thriller is set in 1989 Germany as Communism begins to collapse. A spy is sent into this chaos to recover a list of every spy working for both sides in Berlin at the time so she can save the lives of British agents. Sounds like a good, exciting set up; is that too much to ask from a spy thriller?

Corto Maltese Vol. 1: The Ballad of the Salt Sea

By Hugo Pratt
Order Code: JAN121272
Publisher: Universe
256 pages – Full color – SC

Your classic comics pick for the month (need it be said again? We’re living in an amazing time for high-quality reissues of historically important comics). This late 60s European series follows the adventures of the titular Maltese, a man who seeks adventure and treasure on the high seas. This book collects Maltese’s first appearances and begins with him drifitng through the World War I-era Pacific Ocean and encountering a Russian who calls himself Rasputin. I don’t this series that well, but my impression is that Pratt is well respected and infuential (didn’t I read something a few years ago by Paul Pope about what an influence he is?).


Fallen Words

By Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Order Code: JAN121093
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
264 pages – B&W – SC

(of works other than Fallen Words)

Tatsumi has been a favorite of mine since the three-volume set of slice of life short stories Drawn & Quarterly released a few years back. Since then, Tatsumi has earned accoldates for his autobio-in-comics A Drifting Life and (deserved) skepticism for his slight, facile crime story Black Blizzard. While his style is simple, almost cartoony manga, his stories are deceptively sharp edged and bleak. This book collects eight short stories adapted from the Edo-era oral tradition of rakugo. We’re told to expect “mystery, emotion, revenge, hope, and of course, love.” Combine that with Tatsumi’s unfliching perspective on humanity and it sounds like a winner.

The Lovecraft Anthology

By various (British, I believe) writers & artists
Order Code: JAN121255
Publisher: SelfMadeHero
120 pages – Full color – SC

Art Samples

We all know Lovecraft, right? Cthulhu, forms too unearthly to describe, geometries that make you insane, words like gibbering, goats with a thousand young? I don’t mean to make light of the guy—I like Lovecraft as much as the next horror comics writer and I live just a few miles from where he’s buried—but I figure I don’t need to spend time reminding you. Instead, let me point out the awesome collection of Brit-comics talent involved in this anthology adaptating Lovecraft stories: David Hine, D’Israeli, Ben Templesmith (OK, yeah, he’s not British, but he is in the book), Ian Edginton, Split Lip cover artist Shane Oakley (whose Lovecraftian work is amazing, by the way), and more. That’s worth the exposure to cosmic horrors, yeah?


Rachel Rising Vol. 1: The Shadow of Death

By Terry Moore
Order Code: JAN120780
Abstract Studios
120 pages – B&W – SC

The first collection of Terry Moore’s new series about Rachel, a girl who wakes up by a shallow grave that contains a body—her own! Such a good horror premise. This TPB collects the first 6 issues of the series, issues that find Rachel discovering her situation, teaming up with the town mortician to track down her killer, and realizing that each time she’s killed, she comes back to life again.

Sam Costello is the creator and writer of Split Lip, a horror webcomics anthology that Comics Should Be Good has called “the best horror anthology on the internet.” It offers over 500 pages of free comics.

Split Lip: Termites In Your Smile and other stories is available now directly from Sam. It’s 174 pages of comics for $15. Just try to beat that.


  1. I don’t believe I have ever read anything Terry Moore, but that series sounds interesting and the cover is great!

  2. someone send that Lovecraft Anthology to Josh so that his house can be filled with the Whiff of Chluthu!

  3. Chlut–Cthulh–Chultnot gonna work here any more!

  4. I’ve been reading Rachel Rising in single issues and so far it’s been good. I have yet to read issue 5 which came out this week, but so far I’ve been happy with the series and will keep it on my pull list.