Music can have a transportive effect in that it can make you look back at a fond time in your life. Music has the ability to make a positive impact on mental health, but it can also be the undoing of many promising young artists. Such was the case for Kurt Cobain as he ultimately committed suicide. Writer Jeremy Holt is shining a light on Nirvana and mental health struggles with his new graphic novel Skip to the End.
When it comes to an interesting comic, I think an important factor is quirkiness. If the comic comes across as original and out there then it’s going to be the kind of story I want to read. This was the case with Ben Mitchell’s Storm Clouds series. Set in Australia, the neo-noir comic focuses on a man who struggles with anxiety and gets pulled into an investigation around a cult. Storm Clouds is the opening issue and it contains the kind of absurdist humour and dark themes that are sure to appeal to its audience. Mitchell sent a copy of the comic to The Comic Vault in exchange for an honest review.
In recent years, there’s been an increasing number of comics that have focused on food, and it’s possible that the most well-known is John Layman’s Chew series. It follows the adventures of Tony Chu, an FDA agent capable of learning new skills from the food that he eats. I was blown away by the awesomness of the first volume, so it inspired me to pick up the next collection. Chew: Volume 2: International Flavour sees Chu on the hunt for a new type of food that’s sprouted up on a remote island. The graphic novel contains all the irreverent grossness and dark humour of the previous volume.
When a TV show gets a cult following, it can lead to a number of spin-offs being developed. Sons of Anarchy is a good example, with a comic series being created to highlight Jax Teller’s early days with the club. Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original: Vol Two, written by Ollie Masters, centres on the first year of Jax’s life with the MC. As a prospect, Jax is hungry to prove himself and earn respect in the eyes of men he’s always looked up to. But past mistakes have led to him losing his patch and being cast out. The second volume deals with him trying to regain his place, resulting in a fast-paced graphic novel that echoes the thrills of the original show.
We’re living in an exciting time for comics, with plenty of independent creators being able to get their work in front of an audience and engage with people around the world. A number of apps for independent comics have started to be developed, and one of the most promising is Macroverse. The brainchild of M2, Macroverse is a phone app that allows comics to be consumed in a creative format. Creators Eben Matthews and Adam Martin teamed up with comic artist Steven Perkins to produce an original comic for Macroverse called DeadTown. I enjoyed talking to all three of them about how the app can help indie creators and the hope that Macroverse can become the Netflix of comics.
What I enjoy about independent comics is the amount of freedom writers have to explore different genres or bring them together. History and fantasy are two of my favourite subjects, so any story that combines them gives me something to invest in. It’s why I was interested in reading Donnie Souza’s Untold #1, which is set in a World War 2 era world where humans, elves and other fantastical creatures are fighting side by side. Untold deals with themes of patriotism, post-traumatic stress disorder, racism and what it means to come home after a long time fighting. Souza sent a copy of Untold #1 to The Comic Vault in exchange for an honest review.
Food and comics are two of my biggest interests, so I’m always looking for an excuse to combine the two together. It’s why I’m kicking myself for only recently discovering the Chew series created by John Layman. The series follows Tony Chu, a Food and Drugs Administration agent who solves crimes by getting psychic visions from the food he eats. His power puts him a variety of messed up situations that involve cannibalism, gun fights and murder all in an effort to uphold the law. Chew: Volume 1: Taster’s Choice introduces the character’s world and it’s one of the most original, entertaining stories I’ve ever read.