In a new weekly feature we rundown essential indie digital comics on sale in our Best Of ComiXology Submit. This week we feature New Zealand Anthology Faction Volume 1, the most sedate post apocalyptic distopia ever in Farm School, slacker pizza delivery boys in Buffalo Speedway and cat-based text adventure A Stray In The Woods.
Faction volume 1 (3 Bad Monkeys)
With it’s rampant Godzilla style cover, you might expect this New Zealand comic anthology to be all about gigantic lizards smashing buildings, but you’d be wrong. Instead, these are some of the best stories from the burgeoning New Zealand comic scene. With a weird and wonderful collection of stories that go from siamese twins to skateboarding cats via exploding couriers, as with any anthology there are some hits and some misses (and those can be completely subjective), however the overall quality of this collection is outstanding with a real mix of styles, tones and subject matters. The highlights for us were Damon Keen’s One Giant Leap (a comic book equivalent of Oscar-winner Gravity), Jonathan King’s Bookish (a Daniel Clowes meets Herge murder mystery noir) and Roger Langridge’s Fred the Clown (who takes on Moby Dick in a poetic finale). All this for just £0.69/$0.99, what a bargain!
Download Faction Volume 1 from ComiXology for £0.69/$0.99 here
Farm School (Retrofit Comics/Big Planet Comics)
Jason Turner’s pastoral post-apocalypse story is the complete antithesis to your traditional distopian tale. Instead of the bleak angstiness of The Road, Farm School is all about acceptance and making good with your fellow man. From returning library books to delivering vegetables, Farm School is about appreciating the little things and begins with our main character, (an androgynous unnamed woman), coming into town from the woods and attempting to integrate herself back into society. As she goes on different errands and helps various members of the community deal with their issues we discover more about the world in which the story is set and there are hints at some kind of world changing conflict in which the woman was involved. Whatever event has caused this breakdown of society is of secondary importance to the people we meet though which gives the whole book a relentless positivity despite it’s bleak setting. Turner’s simple, yet beautifully rendered pen and ink artwork is reminiscent of Maus’s Art Spiegelman and the book has a timeless feel that is both contemporary but also quite old-fashioned, in a very charming way. Never has a post-apocalyptic world looked so appealing and so tranquil.
Download Farm School from ComiXology for £1.99/$2.99 here
Buffalo Speedway (Supermercado Comics)
In the world of Yehudi Mercado’s Buffalo Speedway the pizza delivery boy is king and the book starts with a rundown of the world’s best, including the king of them all – Roller Balls – who is promptly killed! This action-packed slacker-fest is like Scott Pilgrim meets Clerks, but with extra jalapeño peppers, and sees slacker buddies Figgs and Super Cheese reporting for duty (late of course) in the aftermath of Roller Ball’s death along with the rest of Turbo Pizza’s motley delivery crew. Figgs is undergoing an existential crisis about his future and is trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life (as well as being in love with Pia, one of his regulars) while Super Cheese just wants to get high courtesy of his stash-laced breakfast sandwich. With a mystery subplot around what happens to Roller Balls, Buffalo Speedway is packed full of the kind of slacker humour and edgy jokes you would expect from this kind of book and unlike the laziness of it’s main characters the action and gags don’t let up for a second.
Download Buffalo Speedway for £2.49/$3.99 from ComiXology here
PICK OF THE WEEK
A Stray In the Woods (Alison Wilgus)
Sitting smack bang in the middle of a ven diagram of geekery, Alison Wilgus’ A Stray In The Woods is a delightful mix of comics, cats and Tumblr based text adventure games! The story was dictated by readers of Wilgus’s Tumblr who helped her decide the direction by submitting weekly instructions. It all starts with a cat in a kitchen and develops from there, with the readers’ instructions written at the bottom of each page. As it develops we get to see things develop from the minutia of a cat wandering around the kitchen and sniffing in cupboards, to encountering other animals in the house, through to heading out into the mysterious world of the great outdoors. It’s a brilliantly original piece of story-telling that makes for a really fascinating story, however this collected edition does have a slightly disjointed feeling – but that is to be expected considering the source material and is part of the charm. Although the story is unlike anything else, the true stand out for the book is Wilgus’s simple yet stylish artwork. Cartoonish, but in a super cool contemporary style Wilgus’ uses some stunning graphical design in the later pages, that is backed up with a masterful use of colour and textured backgrounds to help make this a truly wonderful and unique comic book experience.
Download A Stray In The Woods from ComiXology for £2.99/$3.99 here
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.