INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE #10 Fall 2015 (Aazurn Publishing) Eight stories, 64 pages, black and white, $6.49. Available only through pre-order at your local comics shop. Featured in the October 2105 Previews catalog for December releases.
Comics readers interested in exploring independent offerings need time to search the internet and a decent amount of money to order works that appeal to them. For ten issues now, INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE has been providing a valuable service by featuring a cross-section of some of the best works by independent creators, writers, and artists.
Utilizing a unique business model where all parties involved share in the production costs, it provides an affordable outlet for creators to get their work exposed to a larger audience. That may lead some to believe that all it takes is to agree to help with the printing costs to get featured in the issue, so there may be some “filler” material that otherwise would not be deserving. Not true. Editor/publisher Gary Scott Beatty has established high standards as well as a succinct mission for INIDE COMICS MAGAZINE and only works with creators who meet those criteria.
There is no better example of that editorial style at work than in Issue #10, in my opinion the best cross-section of material that I have seen so far from this publication. If you want to see what I”m talking about, then take a chance and pre-order INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE #10. They only print enough issues to cover the pre-orders plus some additional copies for the featured creators, so the time to get onboard is right now, this month. It’s doubtful and also a little disappointing that very few comic shops are going to order any copies for their shelves. It takes some careful decision-making every month for comic stores to anticipate book sales from the major publishers and they have to dedicate their “shelf money” to most of those books (or risk disappointing their regular customers).
Here is my short summary of the contents of Issue #10, based on my preferences. My preference is for tales where the script and art work in collaboration to tell the best story and get the message across. However, if I can’t have both I prefer a good story. Story trumps art, in my opinion - - even though good art can salvage an average story .
There are two works in this issue where story and art work together perfectly. They are “One Dollar” and “Farm Noir”. Both stories are worthy of repeated readings and study by anyone interested in learning about the creative process involved in telling a story through comics.
Well known for his adaptations of Franz Kafka’s novels into comics, writer/artist/professor Peter Kuper leads off Issue #10. “One Dollar” follows the path of a single one-dollar bill from it’s printing press origins to bank delivery to it’s final resting place. In between the bill is handled by people from all walks of life, both savory and unsavory, kind and cruel, law-abiding and criminal. “One Dollar” is told is a crisp, multi-panels per page style without any dialogue or captions. It is simply brilliant.
My second favorite feature, with its story/art one-two punch is “Farm Noir” by author/television and film producer Rick Bonn with art by animator Scott Irwin. The story meshes the hard-boiled crime genre with barnyard sensibilities and a dash of the Wild West. A rooster detective (and narrator) investigates murder and thievery in the hen house.
While I don’t mean to make light of the art style here, the following features impressed me most for the story. The art throughout Issue #10 is very good, with many different styles featured. There is something here to please everyone.
“Unpropitious Fate” by writer Paul Bradford and artist Matt Olson is a science-fiction sort featuring a planetary civilization with a grim (yet effective) method of city management. It’s a bit disturbing in the blunt manner of the leaders.
“Welcome To The Con” by writer/attorney Jeffery Kaufman (best known for Whore from Zenoscope Entertainment) is a humorous look at cons and fading celebrities. Kaufman even inserts himself into the story. Government agencies save money by using older, second-rate actors as covert agents to carry out risky assignments in exchange for continuing work in television and/or commercials. Stinging commentary but lots of fun.
“Horse Power G” is an amusing all-ages tale about human-animal interaction by writer Terry Cronin and artist Savannah McKendree. The story is divided into two parts. First, humans bring a new horse to the stables and introduce it to the other animals. Then, the tale is told again from the animals point of view including their reactions and comments.
Finally, if you are an admirer of fine comic art, the following stories will impress you with their artistry and diversity of styles.
K. J. Murphey’s dark pencils and ink are perfect to illustrate “A Wendigo Curse” , an interpretation of the origins of the legendary wintry creatures in a tale of survival by any means necessary.
Gabe Lamberty’s angular style and perspective is perfect for “Speed Dem” , a story blending street car racing with battles against supernatural forces.
“The Duel” by Troy Vevasis is a grim tale of future combat and manipulation of alien gladiators.
There is a lot to enjoy and appreciate in INDIE COMIC MAGAZINE #!0. Please order a copy for yourself and support independent creators. Each issue also features short biographies of all creators and links to their web sites.