We take a look at some more great digital indie comics including: 90s cyberpunk inspired web comic Drugs and Wires; Tillie Walden’s haunting and beautiful teenage love story, I Love This Part; Laura Trinder’s nocturnal mail man and his misadventures in The Night Post; and 80s video game inspired lunacy in the form of Satan Ninja 198X.
Drugs and Wires (dead channel comix)
It seems weird to think of the ’90s as being appropriate for a ‘period’ story, but this gritty and grimy cyberpunk webcomic, creates an alternative timeline where alt-rock and floppy drives are still current and manages to perfectly channel some classic ’90s zeitgeist without relying on empty retro posturing. Writer/artist Cyroclaire has created an amazing pre-Internet techno world for her recovering VR junkie misanthrope Dan, that mixes garish technicolour images (complete with early digital style artwork) along with a hint of vintage ’90s Anime. As Dan is drawn back into his addictive world of virtual reality celebrity the story takes swipes at contemporary celebrity culture, reality TV and techno-dependance, while painting the whole story in bleak and depressing air of cyberpunk wires and heroin chic gloom. Packed full of incredible details and some stunningly imaginative premises, Drugs and Wires is a book that feels like it could have been discovered in a long lost back of issue of Deadline or Toxic! but has been giving a 21st century tidy up. So dust off your Nine Inch Nails tapes and your Cannibal Corpse t-shirt and immerse yourself into this drugged up, retro, techno tale.
Drugs and Wires is available as a webcomic via the Drugs and Wires website
I Love This Part (Avery Hill Publishing)
This haunting tale of teenage angst and confusion is told through a series of beautiful full page watercolour paintings from writer/artist Tillie Walden, that use simple purple washes to reflect the mood of the characters. It begins with two young teenage girls discussing ‘regular teenage girl things’ – family, school, music, YouTube videos and low self esteem – but each panel sees the girls drawn as giants within different urban and rural settings. It may sound surreal but it is a stunning visual and makes for an evocative allegory for the self-involved nature of teenagers, considering themselves bigger than the world they inhabit. As the girls’ relationship develops from friendship to something more, the use of colour gets more vibrant, before being replaced with storm cloud grey when things go wrong. For such a delicate topic the whole thing is handled incredibly subtly and Walden creates a wonderfully empathetic look at two teenage girls coming of age. Despite the apparent ‘mature’ topics discussed, this should be encouraged to be a true all-ages book as it should appeal and inform readers who are young and old alike.
Purchase I Love This Part from for $5.99 from Sequential
Night Post (Improper Books)
It’s almost impossible to discuss Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder’s The Night Post without using the words ‘charming’ and ‘endearing’ because it is the very definition of both. This tale of a nocturnal post man who delivers mysterious packages to a variety of supernatural beings in the dead of night, is told without a single piece of dialogue and so, despite having a very set path, allows the readers to use their imagination to flesh out exactly what is happening at each juncture. (For example: Why do the psirens need some bubble bath and what is in the dragon’s glass jar?) Every page is rendered in exquisite detail by Trinder and is one of those books that rewards repeat reading/viewing/studying as you notice more interesting little details with every pass. Pages such as the post office scene and also the dragon’s cave are pages which we have spent many an hour checking out and zooming into on our iPad’s screen to make sure we get every single nuance. Trinder has a classic storybook illustrators style and with her quirky sensibilities and fine eye for detail means Night Post is the kind of book that belongs on the shelf of every fan of intelligent fantasy like Neil Gaiman or Philip Pullman, or even those who just like a bit of Harry Potter too.
Purchase Night Post for $8.99 from Sequential
Satan Ninja 198x (Dark relic productions)
If you grew up in the 1980s on a steady diet of comic books, arcades, video nasties and high school teen movies, then Satan Ninja 198X will have everything in it you could ever want from a comic. From the cover with it’s 80s Atari video game inspired artwork, to the opening DPS which is rendered as an 8-bit arcade beat-em-up, then you can tell that this is a labour of love for a creative team with a truly masterful understanding of the period and everything that went into making it so rad! The story is almost of secondary importance as a bunch of high school nerds discover an all powerful amulet that gives one of them Satanic Ninja powers, as it is everything else that is going on that is what makes it work. From the douchebag jock, to the neurotic cheerleader love interest, to the some aptly named Goonies-esque heroes to the hero worship of 80s action star Joe Shinobi, writer Adam Dravian creates a story that is packed full of 80s detail, while Jessica Safron instills every panel with the level of style and attention to detail that makes it reminiscent of Sex Criminal‘s Chip Zdarsky in it’s brilliance. It also follows in the NSFW foot steps of Zdarsky’s book, as it is not afraid to be trashy and violent where needed (and also when not) and so contains nudity and violence in some unexpected places, but just like a crappy ’80s straight to betamax action movie, that is part of the charm.
Read the Satan Ninja web comic at satanninja.com and download issue #1 and #2 from their store
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.