Best of ComiXology Submit: 100% Biodegradable, The Trials of Francis Bear, Sleep of Reason, Upgrade Soul
This week’s best of ComiXology Submit features: a Brit sci-fi anthology in 100% Biodegradable volume 4; a drunken bear who goes to war in a home-made tank in The Trials of Francis The Bear; some genuinely unsettling horror tales in the vampire and zombie free The Sleep of Reason; and the a new collected edition of app-based digital comic Upgrade Soul. All of these are available on ComiXology this week.
100% Biodegradable (Biomekazoik)
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, this British digital comic anthology is the natural heir to the ‘galaxy’s greatest comic’, 2000 AD. With it’s eclectic mix of genres, smart story-telling and esoteric art this 4th volume continues the fantastic trend we have seen with previous volumes, including a mix of new stories from writer Dave Hailwood, alongside some vintage work. This instalment features a superb gothic tale from writer Jim Alexander and Tales of the Buddha artist Jon Haward called Sideburns – Conjoined Sins, but the true standout is Paul H. Birch and Mats Engesten’s intergalactic murder mystery The Martian Affair which asks the question of how far would you go to perform the perfect murder? (And can you get away with it?)
Purchase 100% Biodegradable volume 4 from ComiXology for £0.69/$0.99
The Trials of Francis Bear (Milk Shadow Books)
Francis isn’t your average bear, he’s the hard-drinking, trouble-starting star of Gregory McKay’s rambling cartoon that’s more Ted than Yogi. Young Francis starts off at sea fishing a mine out of the water before entering a sculpture competition, distracting the unemployed with a musical car and then going to war in a home-made tank. This second volume of Francis’ adventures reads like a rambling stream of consciousness like a drunk trying to give directions, as the story leaps from one bizarre scenario to the next. But MacKay’s acerbic style manages to keep it constantly entertaining and the tightly rendered comic strip style pages are broken up by some stunning spreads and some equally awesome cut-aways that show off Francis’ McGyver-like creations. All this gives the book that extra something special that stops it from being just another sweary animal book and justifies that higher than average price-tag.
Purchase The Trials of Francis Bear from ComiXology for £5.99/$6.99
Sleep of Reason (Iron Circus Comics)
This stunning horror anthology from Iron Circus Comics, unsettles you from the moment you see it’s delightfully nightmarish cover. Priding itself as having no zombies or vampires, instead it is a collection of every kind of nightmarish dread and horror you can contemplate – from body horror, to supernatural surrealism through to the dark underbelly of real-life, all told in eery black and white. With each story getting a decent amount of space (at least 6 pages) the stories all have a chance to get started and aren’t stifled for space and as such there is a superb mix of styles which gives the book a fantastic eclectic feel. With a wide enough variety that even non-horror fans should find something here to help give them terrors at night, at £13.99/$19.99 it’s not cheap, but it is filled with such a high standard of work that warrants that high-end price tag.
Purchase The Sleep of Reason from ComiXology for £13.99/$19.99
PICK OF THE WEEK
Upgrade Soul volume 1 (Ezra Clayton Daniels)
Ezra Clayton Daniels’ dark science-fiction tale of an elderly couple looking to extend their life via a series of medical experiments first saw the light of day in an app version which made our list of the Best Digital Comics of 2012. Now available as a collected edition on ComiXology it features the first 4 instalments from the app in a newly arranged format (portrait pages instead of landscape screens and no immersive soundscape). Despite this new format it does nothing to take away from the emotionally complex story that Daniels is attempting to tell. His script has an intelligently written central story that sees our lead couple [Molly and Hank] looking to stop the ageing process courtesy of a cellular upgrade. But when things don’t work out as they planned the story’s dark undertones tug at your heart strings and tackle head on the price our characters pay for their desire to cheat death. With beautiful artwork and subtle colouring that look even better than before, this is an utterly brilliant series that we may just prefer in this more ‘traditional’ comic format – although we did miss the excellent soundtrack!
Purchase Upgrade Soul volume 1 from ComiXology for £3.99/$4.99