We’ve got a bit behind on our indie round-ups of late, but with so many great new titles coming out from some of our favourite creators and publishing houses we decided to put them all in one bumper indie comics round-up and share the love! Featuring Save our Souls, Papercuts and Inkstains, Tragic Tales of Horrere, 100% Biodegradable and Sliced Quarterly.
Save Our Souls magazine continues to break new ground in the world of indie comics anthologies with it’s second issue full of hilarious cartoon strips and poignant, intelligent long form articles which are beautifully illustrated. In a way it feels more like like the kindred spirit of Private Eye or Charlie Hebdo than it does a modern comic book (despite the very comicy production values) and as such it makes for one of the most absorbing and thought-provoking reads out there. Every page features something different and interesting with highlights for this issue including: Chris Schweizer’s series of illustrations looking at Warrior Women throughout history; Richard Johnson’s diary/sketchbook about his time on the frontline; and Dan Peterson’s autobiographical look at time on board a rescue vessel helping Syrian refugees in the Mediterranian. But if you’re after something a bit lighter there’s also Gabby Schulz’s Little Finlay sketches about an obnoxious boy getting hurt, a story called ‘Pigeon King’ and Mark Stafford’s stunning inside front and back covers, which help to lighten the mood. Purchase Save Our Souls #2 here
Back in more traditional indie anthology territory, Madius Comics’ new issue of Papercuts and Inkstains continues the high quality we have come to expect from Jones, Sambrook and co. Although not quite as perfect as their last superb outing there are still really strong strips from Bob Turner (Immersive Gaming Experience – a unique look at the world of video games) and Rob Moore (Vampire Wonderland 2 – which has a really old school 70s feel to it that feels really inky and granular) as well as the continuing adventures of the always hilarious Profits of Doom. Although it may lack that extra spark that issue #4 had, it’s still a really fun read and this kind of nitpicking from reviewers is what happens if you set the bar too high! Purchase Papercuts and Inkstains #5 here
Also keeping the Madius boys busy is horror anthology The Tragic Tales of Horrere #2 which sees Rob Jones and Mike Sambrook create more sinister black and white horror tales alongside Alisdair Wood, Neil Ford and Gareth Sleightholme – plus special guests Luis Roldan Torquemada and Diego Simone. With a ghoulish cover that has an almost 90s 2000 AD or Deadline feel to it (especially the weird pose and the sinister beaked gas mask) the stories range from creepy ghost tales (The Thin Place) to survivalist horror (Tupper) to cyclical serial killers (The Gilded Cage) – the latter of which feels like it could be a Grant Morrison Batman story in a different life. It’s another superb offering that helps elevate itself above the other indie horror collections thanks to a dry sense of humour that balances out the obligatory mix of chills, twists, blood and guts. While there’s enough of the latter to keep horror fans happy for those of a gentler disposition there is plenty of depth to the stories too. As well as the various new stories in issue #2 we also get a second chapter of the excellent Grimoire with Alisdair Wood’s art work in particular worth a mention. It’s so professional and detailed and, a bit like the Profits of Doom in Papercuts, gives Horrere a solid ongoing backbone for the other stories to hang off. Purchase The Tragic Tales of Horrere here.
Dave Hailwood again takes on the galaxy’s greatest comic and gives it a run for it’s money with another issue of the excellent sci-fi anthology 100% Biodegradable #13. Chris Redfern and Edward Whatley’s Atomic Control features some superb Kirby-esque robots attacking earth, Hailwood and Danos Philopoulos’s bleak fantasy tale The Black Death lives up to his gloomy title with plenty of head-lopping action, and Emmet O’Cuana and Dave Dye’s The Hurlyburly’s Done manages to balance a tragic love story with the end of the world! Also John Freeman’s Death Duty reaches the penultimate chapter of its 8 part run and there’s a suitably crazy three page story from the wonderful Lukasz Kowalczuk and regular collaborator Kek W, which features his trademark hypercolour visuals alongside a character called the Unpronounceable Death Moon of Pluto – there’s not a lot more that can be said after that name is there?! Purchase 100% Biodegradable #13 from Comicsy
Last but by no means least, Ken Reynolds’ Sliced Quarterly #3 continues to improve in leaps and bounds from issue to issue. With all stories based on slices of life, it creates for a really eclectic selection of stories that still have some semblance of a pattern. Brethren Born’s Jon Laight and Griff Gristle’s Rory Donald create a haunting water-based opener, while Kathryn Briggs creates a highly personal and thought provoking story about being an immigrant in the UK which looks as if it has been torn straight out of the pages of her diary sketchbook. John Osborn and Maximillian Meier take us back to the roaring 20s with a lead character who is suffering a bit after one drink too many, while Dave Hailwood and Brett Burbridge do their twist on Benjamin Button in The Ballad of Backwards Billy (which features some stunning duotone artwork from Burbridge). There’s also some preview pages of the wonderful Slime from, that man again, Lukasz Kowalczuk which are stunning! Ken is currently offering all three issues for free, and if you think your stories are good enough to compete with these then he is also taking submissions online now for future issues. For more information and to download issue #1-3 visit slicedquarterly.co.uk
Author: Alex Thomas
Alex Thomas is the Editor and founder of PIpedream Comics. He grew up reading comics in the 90s, so even though he loves all things indie and small press, he is easily distracted by a hologram cover.