This weeks pull list features not one but five comics, all released by new digital imprint MonkeyBrain Comics. An imprint of MonkeyBrain books, this new line up of titles is an eclectic bunch from children’s fairy tales to post-modern superheroes via supernatural spookiness and more, featuring some of the creme de la creme of current indie talent working on creator owned titles. But what really separates MonkeyBrain Comics from other indie start ups is their competitive pricing. With four of the five titles available for 69p and one at £1.49 (but as a double issue) then these 5 titles cost less than 2 issues of Before Watchmen, so how can you go wrong?!
The star of the bunch is Bandette by husband and wife team Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover. A European tinged adventure comic about a plucky female cat burglar turned crime fighter. It’s like Tin Tin meets Hit Girl but without the violence and swearing and really sets MonkeyBrain Comics‘s stall out as something different to the superhero retreads that populate a lot of start ups. With luscious water colour style art, a feisty sense of humour and a light bubbly tone, it’s a lot of fun and feels genuinely exciting.
Next up is October Girl from Dr Who artist Matthew Dow Smith. With its supernatural overtones it has a real hint of Mike Mignola about it, which is compounded by Dow Smith’s angular artwork, and subtle use of colour. Of the five available this is the one we’re looking forward to seeing develop most as the first issue gives just a tantalising glimpse into what is ahead. It feels the shortest of the bunch, concentrating as it does on setting up on the look and feel of world of Sally Miner and imaginary friend Barnaby, but it ends with a fantastic cliff-hanger that will definitely have you coming back for more.
By the far the most eye catching is Aesops Ark by J. Torres and illustrator Jennifer Meyer. with its intricate hand drawn pencil artwork and lettering, it really is a thing of beauty. It may seem contradictory to praise a hand drawn comic as being the best digital release of the month but on on an iPad’s high resolution screen the detail is extraordinary and the subtlety of the work is just stunning. With its story based on Aesops Fables, this is much more of a kids book, but the kind of book that parents want their kids to read and cherish and will more likely be embraced by nostalgic adults than the kids themselves.
After that we are in more traditional comic environs with Edison Rex a post modern super hero tale which looks at the notion of good vs evil in superhero books with a very knowing sideways glance, and Amelia Cole and the Unknown World a magical fantasy adventure with a hint of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and Dr Strange thrown in for good measure. Compared to the first three, they aren’t quite as strong but they certainly help flesh out the line up for this debut MonkeyBrain launch and are definitely ones to keep an eye on going forward. Especially Amelia Cole, whose double sized issue has a lot more to get your teeth into that the other, smaller titles.