This week’s best of ComiXology Submit features: Andrew R MacLean’s big-bearded, witch-carrying sword-for-hire series Head Lopper #1; Wrestlers and superheros in Palooka #1; Stephan Franck’s monochrome vampire heist series Silver Volume 1; And undead soldiers from World War I in Zombie International #1.
Palooka #1 (Person of Merit Comics)
There’s a lot of common ground between the world of superheroes and wrestlers – spandex, muscles, overly long ranty speeches – but Casey Van Heel’s Palooka manages to combine both worlds in a superbly original way. Taking the grimy world of 70s wrestlers, rather than the polished world of 80s WWF, and mixing them with classic superheroes from the same period, Palooka follows Mortie Q Suggs, a journeyman wrestler who is nearing the end of his run and getting tired of losing in the ring. When he’s offered the chance to make a quick buck and work with the superheroes he idolises he jumps at the chance, but little does he know that he is actually signing up to be a villain’s henchman rather than a hero. Van Heel and artist Ger Curti clearly have a love for both genres and based on this first issue are having a blast combining the two to create a really fun and quirky take on two very familiar genres.
Purchase Palooka #1 from ComiXology for £0.69/$0.99
Silver volume 1 (Dark Planet Comics)
The first 3 issues of Stephan Franck’s genre-mashing pulp horror adventure comic Silver are now available as a collected edition. It’s a perfect way to get into the world of con man James Finnigan who gets more than he expected when breaking into the house of the Harker Foundation (yes, those Harkers Dracula fans!) and stealing a rare silver bar, along with Jonathan Harker’s diary. Mixing vampires, heists and supernatural silver dragons, Franck’s 1930s set adventure serial bursts with action while weaving in familiar elements of Stoker’s story in a very unconventional fashion. Whether it’s the Harker back story crossing paths with a mysterious Japanese dragon or Van Helsing’s sword wielding granddaughter, it’s a really enjoyable take on classic characters that should appeal to any fans of pulp comics or the world of Mike Mignola (it has a very ‘Hellboy’ vibe at times) and who are looking for something just that little bit different.
Purchase Silver volume 1 from ComiXology for £3.99/$4.99
Zombie International #1 (Cappricorn Media UG)
Originally available in app form this splatter filled German zombie tale sees troops in World War I infected with a modified secret snake poison from a Pacific island that turns their troops into bloodthirsty undead killing machines. The story is then told in a ‘found footage’/Blair Witch style format from the point of view of British soldiers who are being attacked by these undead invaders. It’s a really smart idea as the mix of zombies and World War I soldiers is definitely a refreshing change to the dozens of Walking Dead rip-offs we see every month. Artist TimTonic gets to really go to town with the gore thanks to his black and white splattery style and the horror of the trenches being made all the worse by the soldier’s undead foes. Based on the cliffhanger at the end, the story will develop away from World War I in future issues which is a shame as this feels like one of the freshest zombie books we’ve read in some time.
Purchase Zombie International from ComiXology for £0.69/$0.99
PICK OF THE WEEK
Headlopper #1 (Andrew R MacLean)
Imagine a book where Conan the Barbarian is drawn by Michael Avon Oeming and written by Mike Mignola, that’s something approaching the weird and wonderful world of Andrew MacLean’s swords and sorcery series Head Lopper. Mighty swordsman Norgal (aka Head Lopper), is a sword-for-hire who saves the Scottish Isle of Barra from a terrifying sea monster, only to fall out with the local clergy and be sent on a Herculian set of tasks with his unlikely travel companion – the severed head of the blue witch Agatha. This first issue has tons of action thanks to MacLean’s energetic art style with it’s exaggerated shoulders and huge beards it reminded us of Michael Avon Oeming’s Thor work and of course Mice Templar. While the overall plot and characters feels incredibly Mignola-esque – particularly the head in the bag, which reminded us of our favourite Hellboy story The Corpse. Although this may make it sound horribly derivative at no point does it feel like a cheap imitation, instead it takes the best bit of all those books and makes for a superb first issue that will make any fans of fantasy comics and men with epic beards and big swords, lose their head with excitement.
Purchase Head Lopper #1 from ComiXology for £1.49/$1.99