Where are the Indie Comics?

So, we’re being bombarded by Civil War and 52, then we go outside, and there are X-Men all over the place, and look, up in the sky, it’s Superman!

And of course, that’s all we’ve been talking about for weeks and weeks, and in the midst of it, I find myself thinking of days past when I read more indies. So, is it me? Am I missing good stuff? Or is this just the time of the cape? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with some good superhero action, but a man needs some variety!

So here’s what I want: I need to know some titles I can pick up that have nothing to do with crime-fighting, and that I can go ahead and start reading. Preferably, I’d like some monthly titles I can start picking up without having to buy years of trades, or issues I can’t find.

Can anyone suggest something? What’s going on outside of the big two?


  1. Indies seem to be 90% zombie/horror books these days. And most of them are pretty bad.

    The best Indie that I could recommend would be Supermarket – (there are only 2 issues out so far, so there’s not much catching up to do) it is really beautiful and sylistically presented, as well as having a bit of snappy monologue in there.

    Local is good too, you don’t really need to read back on any issues to pick up what is going on, they are pretty much self-contained.

    I can’t really think of anything else that really impresses on the indie front… maybe Raymond E Feist’s Magician? It’s only one issue in and that wasn’t very promising, but the book it is based on was good. And then there’s Battlestar Galactica kicking off soon, which is recieving a lot of hype, although the preview pages looked a little underwhelming.

  2. I need to know some titles I can pick up that have nothing to do with crime-fighting…

    Does that mean no cop books or spy books or anything ilke that?

  3. I’m about to order all the issues of Local by Brian Wood that I’ve missed because my stor didn’t order them (I know, I know, you don’t like Wood. I think I got the first issue and that was it…

    I’m also loking to get my hands on Strangetown by Chynna Clugston

  4. I like me some Brian Wood. Of course, I’m waiting for trades.
    My favorite indie title right now (and I’m waiting for trades) is Shaolin Cowboy.

  5. I’m really digging Strange Girl by Rick Remender. First trade is out. It’s about a girl who lives through the rapture and has a friend demon. It’s pretty entertaining.

    I’ve ordered Scott Pilgrim. I’m hearing great things about that.

    I am reading and enjoying Girls by the Luna Bros. It’s really weird and strange, but I feel compelled to read it to see where it’s going. The first two trades of this is out.

    I’ve been reading Fallen Angel by Peter David from IDW. It was originally a DC comic, but they dropped it and IDW picked it up. The book is expensive, but the art is great and I really enjoy the story. The first trade is from DC, but the IDW stuff isn’t out.

    Olympus Heights from IDW was a trade I got from the Library that I really dug. And Night Mary has a good story and wonderful art. Also by IDW and Rick Remender.

    In closing… I like indie books.

  6. I second the montions for Local and Supermarket. Both are Brian Wood books but have very different vibes. Local is my favorite of the two but they are both great.

    Fallen Angel (already mentioned as well) is also really good. I just read #5 of the new series last night and there are some really great philosophical topics being addressed, all wrapped up in a thriller/action/supernatural setting. I wouldn’t recommend just picking up the latest issue and reading it without first reading 1-4 though. It is definitely an episodic series.

    And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my guilty pleasure – Red Sonja from Dynamite. I think it is up to issue 9 right now. The stories are suprisingly solid (Mike Carey and Michael Avon Oeming) and the art is really good (Mel Rubi). I got the first couple just to look at the pretty pictures but it has slowly worked its way up the stack because I am actually caring about the story.

  7. Good stuff. Keep it up! Thanks.

    I’m definitely going to check out Scott Pilgrim.

    Conor, are there cop or spy books I don’t read?

    I’m thinking of getting caught up to Girls as well.

  8. Ah yeah, good call ron, I forgot about strangetown. The first issue was surprisingly good, although I’d haver to read more to decide exactly how much I like it. It was a nicely drawn and interesting little read.

    Now onto something I’m a little embarrassed about; Shrugged. i really liked issue1, as well as the extra FCBD story. I normally wouldn’t have picked this up, Aspen is generally pretty terrible, and I don’t much like Turner, but for whatever reason, I picked this up and it paid off. It’s a story about a teenager that has been assigned a guardian demon and angel who guide him through his life in indirect ways, but it is told from the point of view of the demon and angel, rather than the teenager. I like the concept, and the first issue was definitely promising.

    If we’re including Image in the indie category, yeah Kirkman stuff is always great (Invincible, Walking Dead and the ever elusive Superpatriot) and Girls is great, if a little slow paced. Savage Dragon has its moments too.

  9. Anyone can recommend anything they want, because this obviously isn’t for me alone, but rather a guide.

    That being said, I must say, I’m not a Brian Wood fan. I feel like he gets by on his attitude more than his storytelling ability or his characters. I’m sort of past my disaffected punk rebellion angst, and that’s what I get from his work still. Now, it may have matured since then, but I did give him plenty of chances. I read Demo most recently, and while I love her art, the book was just OK for me.

    Image can count, but I already read Walking Dead and you know we love us some Invincible.

    I also wish I hadn’t missed Andi Watson’s last Oni series. I really enjoyed Love Fights.

  10. I picked up Supermarket, much to my own chagrin. I’ll report back soon. Thanks!

  11. Heh, well if you aren’t a Brian Wood fan you probably won’t find that much new to like in Supermarket. Aside from the art. Which is lovely.

  12. It’s like one of those bands every one likes, and I just don’t get why, but I keep listening, hoping I’ll get it it. Oh well.

    I guess you’re saying that his mileu hasn’t grown much?

  13. this ain’t indie really, and it’s kinda got one superhero in it (well, so far) but I read issue 1 of the wildstorm signature series Winter Men and thought it was really, really good. warren ellis recommended it on his e-mail list. dunno how to describe it really, or why it’s so good–just really great storytelling, sharp dialogue, compelling story set in a decaying soviet union and moving to NYC.

    good stuff, maynard.

  14. “Really good” trumps everything as far as I’m concerned.

  15. which sorta brings to mind another thought I had during the podcast yesterday–y’all were talking vertigo and it occurred to me that where I think a lot of the most interesting storytelling is happening right now isn’t at vertigo, or even the indies so much (though there is plenty still at both).

    i think wildstorm collectively and image are putting out some really interesting, fun, provocative books. dunno if they’re reinventing the wheel necessarily, but man. most of them I haven’t tried yet but it’s still a good list–ex machina, fell, winter men, noble causes, invincible, etc.

    (maybe some of those are oni? i dunno. my memory needs food badly.)

  16. Well yeah josh, it’s not exactly a blind, punk rock, ‘screw society!’ philosophy (eg a t-shirt saying ‘bullshit’ ;p ) but it still slants heavily towards anti-consumerism etc. It’s definitely been thought through a bit more than his earlier work though, so maybe you’ll find it easier to read.

  17. (eg a t-shirt saying ‘bullshit’ ;p )
    Ah Ricky always makes me laugh – “Fuck the Gap”

    I have to agree with Matt, most of the non-mainstream stuff I’ve been reading have been from image, be it Ultra or Girls or Noble Causes (which is a blast). Oni is good for it too, but Image by far as been putting ot the ones with the most depth and breadth of options…

  18. I’m a fan of Noble Causes too. My LCS doesn’t have the singles, but I pick it up in trades.

    I have to say that I do like Owly. It’s kinda of heart warming, even though liking it may revolk my cool card… again… I’ve also got Tricked from the library that I’m planning on getting into this weekend. I like what I’ve read from Top Shelf.

    I’ve also picked up Past Lies from Oni, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

    I find that most of the things that I pick up are from Image. It’s really easy to get into and you don’t need to know any backstory.

  19. hey hey, I just read ‘Talent’ #1 and i thought i’d post about how great it was here. It’s published by BOOM and written by Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski (the names aren’t familiar to me)

    It was about a lone survivor of a plane crash who gets investigated by some shady church/fbi agents, who want him silenced for various equally shady reasons. Not too much is revealed in terms of what happened exactly, but it is intriguing and I highly suggest you read it if you get a chance. It came out last week i think.

  20. I used to buy a lot more Oni stuff, and haven’t kept it up for some reason. I think I need to start checking out Previews a bit more.

    I’ll look out for Talent in the shop, and flip through it if it’s there.

    My real habit is to wait for San Diego and go buy all the trades of the indy stuff I’d been meaning to pick up. I do it almost every time I go. Then I have a month or two where I’m besieged by reading. but I skipped last year, and maybe that’s why I’m feeling the pangs of wanting.

  21. you’ve lost your “indie edge” 😉

  22. I totally have. At some point, I was unemployed and I stopped reading tons of stuff. In there, I completely lost track of anything good in the black and white areas.

  23. does anyone else just not have the budget to read as much indie as they’d like? i’m back into comics after a long absence and i have a tiny budget. i find i really crave the sticky sweet superhero stuff so much that i pass over more “indie” items in the shop all the time. jan mentions top shelf…when goodbye, chunky rice came out, i just about flipped. still one of my favorite books. yet what’s on my pull list? big dumb superhero books. no top shelf anywhere near it.

    man, i need more money. can someone give me some? ok thx bye

  24. That’s exactly it with my weekly buys. At the same time, it also takes longer to know which indie books actually are very good, and therefore which ones we should pay attention to. There’s no derth of bad indie books.

  25. I actually find Indie books easier to get into. Not having to know a huge backstory on all the characters and not having to worry about reading 12 other books in conjunction is much less daunting for someone getting back into comics after a lapse.

    Most of the comics I buy are Image. I try to keep them mostly to trades. Much easier that way. I much prefer reading something in Trades than monthlies. Sometimes the patience is hard to control.

    But I’m starting to see the appeal of the big two. Or at least Marvel. Civil War is such a cool concept to me, I find that I’m going to pick up Civil War, Civil War: Front Line, and The Runaways/YA crossover. That’s adding a lot to my monthlies.

  26. That’s probably true of indies, but that’s likely because most haven’t been around 40+ years. But just try to go pick up a Strangers in Paradise today, and see if it makes any sense to you.

    Not really an indie, but I remember picking up Preacher 49 to see what all the fuss was about, and thinking, this is shit! Who are these people? Had to get the trades to understand it.

  27. Before I went to see X-Men on Friday, I had some time to kill and I stopped at Midtown Comics with the sole purpose of picking up some new indie books. Unfortunately, I came back empty handed.

    The single issues Indie section has shrunk at Midtown, there’s hardly anything there. On the weekly release racks, maybe a few feets are dedictaed ot Indies, and of those they breakout IDW, Devils Due and one more company that I forget…no Oni section or anything.

    I walked the Trade Paperback aisles looking for something new or something I didn’t recgonize, and nothing.

    Now, keep in mind, that I’m not looking for horror or zombies or whatnot, rather something along the lines of Strangers in Paradise or Blue Monday, black and white relationship-y books – looks like we’re in a down period for that genre…

  28. I am reading Tricked by Alex Robinson right now and that’s a black and white relationshipy book. I’m really digging it. I read one called Scooter Girl (from Oni) and that was a relationshipy book. Funny, but not great.

    I did finish Past Lies and that was prett good, but it was about a Private investigator.

    And I think Oni only comes out with actual graphic novels. I don’t think they do monthlies at all.

  29. Alex Robinson is a favorite. We talked about Tricked in one of the podcasts a while back. Box Office Poison was one of my favorite books ever.

    I think Ron is a big fan of Chynna Cluggston’s work. Never quite did it for me, but it’s definitely in the style of what we’re talking about.

    Queen & Country is a monthly book from Oni, and I know they at least do minis in issue form. Not all comic shops sell them, which makes it a bit tricky sometimes.

  30. Yeah, Alex Robinson’s stuff is good, oddly Josh likes it alot more than I do, but I do enjoy it.

    Josh is correct I do enjoy Chynna’s work a ton, and loved Scooter Girl..she’s got a new one that I’m tracking down called Strangetown.

    Oni does release monthlies, albeit it seems like less and less…

  31. Yeah, Oni only put out one book a week on average, the most popular two as far as I can tell as Queen and Country and Local.

    I hope you have luck getting a hold of Strangetown #1, i think the longer you leave it the harder it will be – when we started getting low we tried to order some more in from Diamond, but apparently it was out of stock and it probably won’t come back in. 2nd prints are rare from indies also. It was a great read though, although as I might have already said, (If so, I’ll say it again, my opinions are by far the most interesting opinions in the world;) I’m going to give it another issue or two before I commit myself to liking it though, it’s not to my regular tastes.

  32. just a quick FYI–I saw the first three issues of Winter Men from Wildstorm Signature in dollar bins at a couple shops this weekend. I already had 1 and 2 so I got 3 for a buck.

    this is the book I said was, um…really good above. for a buck, it’s even better. and actually, these shops are in socal…aren’t you down here too josh? i can provide address info if you’d like, or even just scare them up myself and mail them to you with a dead rabbit.