After a long weekend at Silicon Valley Comic Con, I shifted through the business cards, cute stickers, and Funko Pops — oh so many Funko Pops — to find the pile of comics I’d bought in several crazy-busy trips to artist alley. While there were a LOT of illustrators and artists present, this wasn’t a comics heavy convention. Even still, I collected 4 new comics I’d never heard of from writers/artists local to the Northern California area. It is great knowing that comic book artists are working all around and great to be able to support them with the purchase of a #1.
Let me introduce them to you. These aren’t super-polished comics by any means, so if you’re looking for expensive printing, year-long plot arcs, or the kind of art that comes from 4 different artists, these aren’t for you. But if you’re looking for the new, the personal, the unique, and the genuinely loved, one of these might fit your taste. Check out these artists, fam. Try something new today.
Menhit the Mighty
Writer: Jaimel Hemphill / Artists: Marvin Law & Mickey Clausen / National Press Comics
I bought this book as soon as I saw the cover. Ancient North African gods ripped forward into our time? Yes, please, thank you. In this action superhero comic, shy archaeology student Tina Taylor, touches the wrong artifact in a museum and discovers that she’s the modern avatar for the goddess Menhit, a Nubian war goddess who is an eternal struggle with her nemesis, Sekhmet the Egyptian goddess of war usually figured as a lioness. In the climax of Issue #1, these two duke it out to a stalemate, setting up an ongoing series of conflicts as Tina/Menhit looks for allies in the present day.
The art is bright and direct, with well drawn, physical action sequences. Sometimes the anatomy of the characters is exaggerated, but it doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the content. My biggest art question is what is the huge obelisk/sled things that they fight with?
This comic is queer-friendly (the main character is a woman dating another woman) and full of Black and Brown characters and egypto-style flair. We’ll just have to follow National Press Comics to find out when the #2 will be available.
Other titles from NPC include BlackJacks, a metahuman-themed super soldier comic and Earth Sons, a far fantasy/future comic about the search for a mysterious substance that will save the planet. All their comics are available in print from the NPC site.
Writers: John & Carlos Gonzalez / Artist: Julian Aguilera / Dream Destinations Comics
“Star Wars meets Dragon Ball Z” is how the authors sum up this title. Having read the Double-Sized #1 issue, it reminds me more of Ender’s Game than Star Wars, and Starship Troopers than Dragon Ball Z, but that’s fine. The story in Issue #1 revolves around two teams of teen soldiers (there are even two girls!) fighting their way through typical teen grudges: who’s got the girl, who’s got better hair, who’s the teacher’s pet. The set up is solid and there’s plenty of action to go around.
The art is all digital with backgrounds more implied than described, but this is a comic about pretty boys in power suits punching each other, so who needs a background? And the boys in power suits are very well drawn. Future issues will hopefully include more character depth and make the female characters more than topics of conversation. If you want to know more, you can order the comic in print or digital on their website.
Writer/Artist: Allen Carter / Carter Comics
In classic sci-fi set-up, 5 different people find themselves together in a field in Hawaii on the night of a once in a lifetime meteor shower. Yeah, you know they end up with super powers. But it is getting to that night that is the bulk of Issue #1. This is part comedy of errors, part comedy of manners, part comedy of fate. I don’t mean to say this comic is funny, it is more ironic and sarcastic than “comedy” might imply. You may find yourself rolling your eyes with the characters or wishing they’d get what’s coming to them. And being hit by a meteor may be all the punishment each of them deserves and needs.
Artist/writer/promoter Carter really comes through in his comics — he is just as quirky and interesting as his work is. He was eager to talk shop with me at the con and I wish I’d had more time to linger. He writes and produces two other comics: Damn Tourists, about the world’s 4 most annoying tourists; and The Figure of Speech Mongoose, about…well, a mongoose. If you like original indie comics that are long on style, look this one up. His work is available in print from his site and from IndyPlanet.
Writer: Age Scott / Artists: Allan Angel and Chris Perguidi / Integrity Comics
Y’all this comic is a lot. Set in a near future Oakland where a bomb has destroyed San Francisco, the US has developed superpowered people to defend against this bombs. However, police killings continue, leading to regular riots and unrest throughout Oakland. The current state of crime and gentrifiction and gettophication continue. In the midst of all of this we meet our hero D a street corner dealer and his friend Nathan. That’s when the super powers show up. Yes, hyphy culture, corner crack dealers, and superpowered heroin fiends. Like I said, it is a lot.
Depending on your taste, the dizzying array of influences and culture references (don’t even pick this up if you can’t form a coherent opinion on the Nas vs Jay-Z debate) can be either overwhelming or amazing. For me, it was a bit of both.
It is a sparse black & white comic with a frantic energy and lots of line work. If you want something as far from the “mainstream” of comics as underground rap is from mainstream pop, this is the comic for you. It isn’t yet available for purchase but should be soon through Integrity Comic’s website.