20 Oct 2016

Pipedream Indie Round-Up - October 2016

Following last week's announcement, here's the first batch of reviews delivered by Pipedream Comics for their monthly round-up. Prepare to enter the world of indie and digital comics, prepare to make some exciting new discoveries...

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Marcos Martin, Muntsa Vicente

Alex T: Brian K. Vaughan may be the king of comics right now with his epic sci-fi space opera Saga and his Eisner Award winning Paper Girls, but he is also a self-publishing digital comics supremo! Along with his long time collaborator Marcos Martin, they have released titles like the Eisner Award winning The Private Eye and Albert Montey’s quirky Euro sci-fi series The Universe via their Panel Syndicate website which has the unique selling point of letting you pay as much or as little as you want for their comics - meaning you can never complain about lack of value for money! Their latest series, Barrier, sees a Texan cop and a South American immigrant get kidnapped by a flying saucer in a story about both kinds of illegal aliens! Barrier started out as a tense, crime-infused thriller, with the two characters from each side of the law and the border running side by side, before a giant spaceship comes along, beams them aboard, and pushes them together in a completely unexpected manner! As such we have no idea where this story is heading long term, but we can’t wait to find out as this is the kind of leftfield storytelling you expect from a maverick genius and is definitely part of it’s appeal! But it’s not all about BKV, as Martin’s stunning artwork (brought to life by colourist Muntsa Vicente) is truly breathtaking and manages to balance the gritty world of Earth with the fantastic world of a psychedelic spacecraft to create a truly unique read from one of the most exciting comic book partnerships around. 8/10

Writer: Tillie Walden
Art: Tillie Walden

Alex T: Indie wunderkind, Tillie Walden (I Love This Part, Endless Summer) has brought her unique comics voice to the world of webcomics with a sci-fi tale that is unlike anything else you have read before. Her previous work is packed full of subtle introspection and beautifully realised character studies, and there is plenty of that in On A Sunbeam, as a young girl becomes part of a mysterious crew on a spaceship whose job it is to look after old relics around the universe. Although it sounds like your average misfit crew story, Walden manages to instil it with her unique voice giving the all-female crew a set of unique and complex personas and the relationships are delicate and fragile and all too real. She also manages to defy expectations with spaceships that look like giant koi carps and planets that look like cathedrals all rendered in her own unique hand drawn, yet highly detailed style. With a clear love of Studio Ghibli, it has the same innocent charm, but with a depth of character that makes Tillie’s work a truly compelling read, whatever subject she is covering. With a meandering plot that feels as if she is almost making it up as she goes along, there has never been a better time to get into the world of this unique talent (and if you like what you read be sure to read her other books via Avery Hill Publishing). 9/10

Writer: Matt Garvey
Art: Aleksander Bozic

Alex T: Taking the best elements of the Victorian adventurer and detective and combining them into a feisty American female, Matt Garvey’s The Adventures Of Cordelia Swift is a really fun and enjoyable twist on the classic penny dreadful adventure. Assigned to look into a particularly grizzly murder, Swift has to chase down a Jekyll and Hyde type villain while also dealing with elements from her own past in the shape of her troublesome brother from overseas. All of this, while also dealing with the inevitable mistrust from her male colleagues, and also her unconventional scientific methods (which have a slick steampunk edge to them). Garvey’s story rattles along at a great pace and has a really smartly realised resolution at the end, wrapping things up very neatly but with enough loose ends to entice you back for more. And most important of all it gets a great balance of action and humour and so the book never feels po-faced or overly serious. Meanwhile, artist Aleksander Bozic gives the whole book a really strong look with a monochrome style that feels a bit like classic late '80s Frank Miller (we're thinking early Sin City, before he went too crazy!), mixed with Eddie Campbell’s From Hell. With the first arc now completed, it’s the perfect time to discover the exciting world of one of the indie scene’s most exciting new heroines! 8/10

Writers: Chris Imber, Chris Jenkins & Matthew King
Art: Chris Imber

Alex T: If, like us, you grew up in the halcyon days of the 1990s when every other comic had a holographic cover and characters were judged by the size of their guns and the number of pockets on their thighs, then you will definitely love the wonderful world of The Last Sheriff from Chris Jenkins and Chris Imber at Reckless Hero. Packed full of the kind of high impact energy that we loved in those classic '90s comics, but with a contemporary slickness and a western infused plot about the last representative of a mystic order of sheriffs hunting out a team and avoiding mercenary bounty hunters. All of which means The Last Sheriff is one of the sharpest shooters on the indie scene right now. The artwork is super slick with Imber's pencils and Jenkins colours improving in leaps and bounds with every issue, but also the story is really beginning to flesh out nicely with the Jedi-like Sheriff looking to put together a posse and avoid the attentions of the despicable evil bounty hunter Mr Sixx (who is like a surreal mash up of Judge Death and General Grievous and is one of our favourite new indie villains!). So if you like your comics bright, loud and energetic then you need to round up The Last Sheriff today! 9/10

Writer: C.S. Baker
Art:: Shaky Kane

Alex T: From the pencil of UK comics legend Shaky Kane comes Last Driver, a psychedelic '80s inspired road movie that features a corvette driving, kick-ass hero battling giant pterodactyls and then barbecuing them. From Dead Canary Comics, publishers of Reddin and Frogman, comes this dazzling technicolour tour-de-force, which has just been successfully funded on Kickstarter. Written by Dead Canary regular Chris ‘CS’ Baker, the story sees disgruntled telesalesman Frank Sudden fight back when the world is taken over by giant irradiated monsters. It’s the kind of story that could only be brought to life by a unique artist like Shaky. Even if you have never seen his work before, you will probably recognise his style as the mix of classic Kirby simplicity and giant '50s b-movie monsters rendered in vibrant primary colours is quintessentially his own. This high octane all action adventure may have a fairly simple premise, but it’s gonzo style and kick-ass hero means that Last Driver gets into high gear right off the start line and never lets the foot of the gas to deliver a high octane, all-action thrill ride! 8/10

For a further news, reviews, interviews and much, much more, head straight over to the Pipedream Comics website.

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