This week’s best of ComiXology Submit features: a feline led journey through the sub-conscious of writer/artist Anne Emond in Debbie’s Inferno; Box Brown’s peculiar geometric take on the world in Number #2; the delightfully trashy Pregnant Bitches of War #1; and a dialogue free existential tale featuring cavemen and tiny lizard creatures in Skye Ogden’s Vowels.
Number #2 (Retrofit/Big Planet Comics)
Box Brown’s biography of wrestling superstar Andre the Giant has been one of our favourite reads this year, so the chance to read more of his peculiar geometric take on the world was always going to be a must-read. Number is a much more unconventional take on story telling compared to his Andre book and may be off-putting for some but for those who take a chance are in for a really bizarre treat. This second instalment of his eclectic anthology series sees a skateboarder confront a troublesome homeless man and a documentary film-maker deal with the woes of being unappreciated in a creative industry. There’s not really a conventional narrative to either story, as they read more like a stream of consciousness than a coherent story, however thanks to Brown’s unique world view and ultra-stylised artwork that merges cartooning and design to create some stunning pages, it makes for a really interesting and innovative read.
Purchase Number #2 from ComiXology here
Pregnant Bitches of War #1 (Fried Comics)
Chances are, you’ll make a snap judgment on whether you’re going to like Pregnant Bitches of War based largely on the title. It’s one of those ‘Snakes on a Plane’ type monikers that will produce either adulation or revulsion – although in our case, it was mainly curiosity. (which was further piqued by a truly unforgettable cover from Chew’s Rob Guillory). The premise for PBOW is pretty simple, 7 pregnant women are transported back in time by Victorian inventor Nikola Tezla and end up killing a young Adolf Hitler. As the 7 return to their current timeline, things inevitably are thrown into even more chaos. Writers Clay Adams and Alexandre O. Phillipe have really gone to town with this book creating a uniquely trashy piece of bad taste while Dominike ‘Domo’ Stanton’s equally sleazy artwork creates the kind of one-off book that you only get to see in the world of indie comics where a creative team can work without restrictions. PBOW won’t be for everyone – It’s sexist, crude and doesn’t worry about offending people with it’s crassness – but it has a degree of tongue-in-cheek irony about the whole thing that is rather endearing and makes it much more than just another shock book.
Purchase Pregnant Bitches of War #1 for £1.49/$1.99 from ComiXology
Vowels (Gestalt Comics)
Like a cartoon version of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 but with more odd little alien/lizard creatures, Skye Ogden’s Vowels tells 5 unique existential stories from points across the entire history of humanity from cavemen to biblical times to a dystopian future. It’s certainly a bold project and a tough pitch for new readers as it features no dialogue and after the initial two stories told from the perspective of neanderthal men, the story shifts to be about small lizard/alien creatures instead of people. Despite this slightly odd approach, Vowels is an utterly compelling read that deserves repeated consumption as it looks at the nature of humanity, the growth of religion and the search for love, as well as having some bleak sci-fi thrown in for good measure. Ogden’s artwork is superb, with tight line work and emotive story-telling despite having no dialogue to work with. It may not always make sense, but it is one of those books which you have to simply admire for the scope and scale of it’s ambition as it does not fit into any kind of traditional comics pigeon-hole and is all the more intriguing as a result.
Purchase Vowels for £2.99/$3.99 from ComiXology
PICK OF THE WEEK
Debbie’s Inferno (Retrofit Comics/Big Planet Comics)
Anne Emond’s tale of self-discovery and feline spirit guides is part self-help book, part fantastical journey and makes for a truly sublime piece of story-telling. Taking us on a fascinating journey through the sub-conscious of the titular Debbie courtesy of a talking cat it feels very much like a modern re-imagining of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, however with it’s levels of hell narrative Dante’s Inferno is it’s more obvious inspiration (the clue is in the title!). It begins with Debbie wallowing on her comfy bed, eating snacks and watching TV, when the room begins to fill up with a mysterious liquid. Fortunately before she is swept away the impending peril spurs her cat into finding it’s voice as it takes her on a journey of self-discovery through the various parts of her sub-conscious before returning her to the safety and comfort of her bed. Debbie’s Inferno reads like an immensely personal story for writer/artist Emond as she literally lays out her demons and insecurities on the page for the world to see. For anyone who has had any kind of existential or personal issues in recent years it is an incredibly rewarding and comforting read with many elements that will ring true. With a simple and charming art style and some truly original takes on the various issues that Debbie confronts, Debbie’s Inferno is over-flowing with the kind of smart and subtle story-telling that makes you love and appreciate the diverse nature of the comic book art form in all it’s glory.
You can purchase Debbie’s Inferno for £1.99/$2.99 from ComiXology