7 Jun 2013

Caught In The Web: Roundup 07/06/2013

In Caught In The Web, we set aside the printed funny books temporarily to delve into the world of digital and web comics. Here we 'roundup' a selection of releases that have been launched into cyberspace over the past few weeks.

Writer: Joshua Williamson
Art: Mike Henderson
Monkeybrain Comics $0.99

Matt C: Monkeybrain Comics are at the forefront of the digital comics market at the moment, offering a wide and varied selection of titles, and for me this is the one that really stands out from the pack. Rather than a singular narrative, Masks And Mobsters offers a series of interconnected stories centring around a city in the 1930s where costumed heroes are emerging for the first time and the local gangsters are realising how bad for business this is. This issue concerns a heated discussion between a mob boss and the hoodlum who set off an escalation of superhero activities by offing one of them in cold blood. But, even though that’s the meat of the story, it all takes place in the background, mostly in silhouette. The foreground focuses on a young couple having a picnic, an innocent, pleasant activity that isn't actually what it initially seems. The action in the foreground cleverly reflects and inverts the tone of dialogue in the background at various stages and it's a testament to both the script and the artwork that it all flows seamlessly. There's a hardcover due out soon from Image that collects the first few issues of this series, and if you've not 'gone digital' as yet, seek it out as it's absolutely worthy of the PCG seal of approval! 9/10

Writer: Gabriel Hardman
Art: Gabriel Hardman
Monkeybrain Comics $0.99

Matt C: A strange one this. In all likelihood you've seen Gabriel Hardman's punchy, dynamic artwork in titles like Hulk, Agents of Atlas and Planet Of The Apes, so you 'll know it's well suited for conveying exciting action on both large and small scales. So here we have a tale of a what appears to be a stray dog, a guy who finds him, and his discovery that the dog may actually be lost. Yep, that hardly sounds like a nerve-shredding thriller, but hold onto your horses a second: it's actually pretty good! Okay, so it probably needs more to it in the long run, but that's bound to be on the horizon, and Hardman suggesting in interviews that it's going to be akin to a Coen Brothers movie has me intrigued and more than a little excited. The art's great (natch), the characters engaging, and while it's completely different to what you might expect from the writer/artist, it's got a quirky sensibility that may prove hard to resist in the long run. 7/10

Writers: Chris Sims & Chad Bowers
Art: Erica Henderson
Monkeybrain Comics $0.99

Matt C: An infectious all-ages debut, featuring a colourful female power pop band being fired off in a space rocket to the moon (!) for a publicity stunt only to discover that their manager might have had more sensational plans for them all along. It's a great deal of fun, and if I mention the obvious parallels to Scott Pilgrim that it brings to mind (visually as well) that's meant entirely as a compliment and not a criticism. It's essentially a throwaway premise but it's handled with enough wit and effervescence that it's easy to get pulled into the world of these characters leaving you with a desire to see what happens next. 7/10

Writer: Christopher Sebela
Art: Ibrahim Moustafa
Monkeybrain Comics $0.99

Matt C: Another cracker from Monkeybrain, and you'll probably guess from this selection of reviews that I'm coming round to thinking they're one of the best publishers currently on the scene, regardless of the format. This story springs forth from the so-called 'Death Zone' on Mount Everest, where the frozen corpses of over 200 climbers lie after failing in their bid to either reach the summit, or return from it. It encompasses a unique form of graverobbing, blackmail, a protagonist haunted by failure that she deals with on a diet of drink and drugs, and a black ops unit intent taking any action necessary to get their hands on what they require. A thrilling, propulsive script, coupled with both the sturdy realism of the art and the enthralling subject matter make this easily the match of the work being published by more prominent creators working in similar genres. 8/10

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