Saturday, August 10, 2013

ONE AND DONE: Something the Big Two Publishers Cannot Do



INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE #7 (Aazurn Publishing, Summer 2013) $6.49 black and white illustrations, 64 pages. Available only through Previews #299 August pre-orders for October 2013 release dates




INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE and its’ sister publication INDIE COMICS HORROR have become the best sources for readers interested in independent creator-driven works to get acquainted with some of the artists and writers who are essentially self-publishing and marketing their own creations. With so many choices available for the curious art seekers, INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE is a nice showcase of some of the cream-of-the-crop creators. Every story is prefaced by a short biography of the writer and/or artist and includes web addresses where interested readers can see and purchase more of their works. Unlike some of the other anthology comics available today, INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE publishes no continuing stories or series - - just well-told tales complete in 8-10 pages or less. That makes it easy for new readers, who can pick up any issue at random and get a good taste of what’s available should they choose to invest further.

As publisher and editor Gary Scott Beatty explains it from a reader’s standpoint: “My most frustrating problem is finding well written stories that are not part of some multi-issue series. I’m not looking to devote a large chunk of my life to a meandering epic. I just want to read a solid story in a few pages. . . . . .”

“Someone in marketing at the big comics publishers convinced everyone else never-ending stories are good for sales - - at least until readers figure out the epic is less than epic and try something else. . . .”

“With so many reading choices today, I refuse to jump on that promotional roller coaster. If there was only a place I could look into talent before committing to full books! . . . Well, there is. You’re holding it in your hands and we would all appreciate it if you told your buddies about it.”

Print runs are limited to 1,000 copies, which makes it essential for anyone interested in this title to pre-order through the PREVIEWS catalog. Issue #7 can be ordered through the current August catalog (for books to be released October 2013). As much as we’d like to say that you can pick this up from your favorite comics store, it’s highly unlikely to see INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE on their shelves. Most stores are going to carry only what their customers pre-order, and then hold the copies for them.

What those who decide to give this title a chance will see in Issue #7 are eight original illustrated tales of action, adventure, horror, folklore, mystery, time travel, space and graphic expressionism. We’ve been reading INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE on an infrequent basis and are beginning to recognize some of the regular contributors, foremost amongst them Terry Cronin of Students Of The Unusual. Terry prefers the short-short form and usually includes two stories whenever he is contributing. The first story is normally a re-telling in comics form of old folklore from Florida (and other countries) and his second short will be an original (and often disturbing) tale. With artist Jorge Calamato assisting, ‘Nikook And the Tupilak” recounts a Greenland fable of an Inuit shaman’s demonic creation fueled by jealousy and envy. “Connect The Dots’, the second Cronin feature, is a disturbing account of excessive body markings illustrated by Sergio Cariello in a style that will make fans of Neal Adams drool with delight.



The favorites for art this issue are ‘Masher’ with story and art by Tom Kelly and an unfinished piece (I’m reviewing an advance preview copy that is not complete) by another returning contributor by way of Scotland and Australia in artist/writer Paul Bradford. Kelly’s story features an ultimate cage match against a massive, almost inhuman foe. There is great use of silhouettes and shading in single solid colors of either jet black or brilliant white. It’s gorgeous to look at and will remind readers of Frank Miller’s breakthrough stylings on SIN CITY. Bradford’s piece centers around a medieval ninja remarkable for its directional battle scenes with weapons and blows flying across several panels.

The favorite piece for story this issue is ‘Slices’ by caricaturist Chris Bergs and his amusing tale of time travel involving the gangster John Dillinger. Rounding out Issue #7 are:

‘The Case Of The Lost Offspring’ by writer Marta Tanrikulu and artist Jorge Donis - - a clever short mystery/crime story involving impersonation and lost heirs.

‘I Got Fired On My Fortieth Birthday’ by Kim Mey-Hoehng is a slice-of-life dialogue between two hyperactive friends that flits between movies, English, philosophy and war in a font-crazy style that will challenge readers.

Editor and also artist/writer Gary Scott Beatty returns to his exploration of adapting 1950’s jazz art to comics with another musically inspired art deco story about - - music, of course with ‘The Bridge.’

Issue #7 wraps up with ‘He’ by Derek Adnams, Brandon Bullock and Justin Wood of Devastating Roulette Studios. It’s a prehistoric tale of alien visitors, dinosaurs, and writing on cave walls. Both the main character and the art style will remind readers of the indie comics character ZEN from a few decades past.






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