Indie Comic of the Year 2016: #50-41

icoty2016Following in the footsteps of our Digital Comic Of The Year poll, we are introducing a new award this year – Indie Comic of the Year 2016. Celebrating the fantastic variety of indie and small press books which we have covered on the site in the past 12 months. We’ll give you a shortlist of the top 10 for voting on December 26th, but in the meantime we’ll countdown the 50 best indie comics of the year and remind you of what a great year it has been for indie and small press comics!

100 Biodegradable 13#50 100% Biodegradable (Biomekazoik)

Dave Hailwood’s anthology has come on leaps and bounds in the past 12 moinths, thanks in no small part to the ongoing series Death Duty, written by Down The Tubes maestro John Freeman and artist Brett Burbidge. It has a real throwback feel to it, like a cross between David Lloyd and vintage Alan Grant, which helps 100% Biodegradable feel like classic comics such as Warrior and of course vintage 2000 AD. It really helps give the book an identity and an anchor and is flanked by the usual mix of one-shot stories that include a great range of names UK scene like regulars Jim Furlong and Stu Smith and exciting mavericks like Lukasz Kowalcuz. Thanks to this variety, 100% Biodegradable feel like much more than just anothe indie anthology and puts it up there as one of the most consistent indie analogies on the small press scene!
Purchase 100% Biodegradable from ComiXology

Doc Dino #01#49 Doc Dino (Merrick)

Doc Dino tells the story of Tyrannosaurus Rexley M.D. a fully certified doctor who is able to boast the title, ‘the world’s best surgeon….well, at least on paper’. However, Rexley’s life of gorgeous girls, fast cars and stick on moustaches comes tumbling down around him when, after multiple deaths on the operating table, he is suspended because his operating talents are not shifting from theoretical to practical.  Writer Tom Ward (Merrick) and Chris Welsh (Ness/Wart) manage to flesh out this back-of-a-napkin idea into an utterly unique and genuinely laugh out loud read.
Purchase Doc Dino from ComiXology

pantheon#48. Pantheon

The world of Egyptian mythology is a strange and bizarre mix of stories that are perfect for turning into comics and Hamish Steele has done just that. But rather than tell a serious version he has decided to make the most of the more adult notions and added a slightly crude undercurrent to his tales. It’s set up in the opening few pages with the line ‘and then he had a wank’ when describing the creation of the universe and that pretty much sums up the level the story-telling is on. So if that kind of humour appeals to you, then you will love this book as it continues throughout. But this isn’t to say the whole is just like a mythological version of Viz. Steele has clearly done his research and the whole series of stories is told in fantastic detail and accuracy as well as being laugh out loud hilarious!
Purchase Pantheon from Hamish’s Big Cartel Store

TheRedMaskFromMars_ISSUE3#47 Red Mask From Mars (Raw Edge Comics)

Like a lot of small press series we’ve seen this year, Vince Hunt’s Red Mask really begins to find it’s voice with it’s third issue. The action has built nicely to this point and Hunt adds in some interesting new characters and a cool looking villain to go along with the giant alien egg and space sharks. He is ably asssisted by colourist Shaun Dobie who gives the work a real rush of colour (especially in the eye popping psycheledelic scenes midway through) while Dobie’s Descending Outlands is another book which has really found it’s voice this year and is also well worth a look!
Purchase Red Mask From Mars from ComiXology

sliced-4-cover-feat#46 Sliced Quarterly (Ken Reynolds)

​Ken Reynolds’ experimental anthology Sliced Quarterly is based loosely on the concept of ’slice of life’ comics, but rather than feature page after page of overly analytical auto biographical comics, Reynolds prefers to encourage realistic stories told in unrealistic ways. It creates a collection of stories that push boundaries of story telling and are definitely not safe and predictable. Although this means the readability of some of the stories may be a bit of a struggle for those with conventional tastes, the pieces in Sliced are always interesting and anything but generic. With all four volumes available for free from www.slicedquarterly.co.uk there’s no financial reason not to check this out, and if you are looking to try something new and different then Sliced is the perfect place to start and a great example of how indie publishing, and anthologies in particular, can give creators the chance to tell unique and original stories without restrictions.
Download Sliced Quarterly from www.slicedquarterly.co.uk

ness#45 Ness (Chris Welsh)

Chris Welsh’s dank, dark, monster book Ness has emerged like it’s titular character from the depths of a murky Scottish loch to create a superbly creepy monster book that mixes gormless teens, Scottish cults and tentacled beasties to create a great British monster book. It’s currently half way through the four issue run (with #3 and #4 successfully Kickstarted in recent weeks) and Welsh is developing a really interesting and sinister tale, that may have started off as a fairly formulaic monster book but has evolved into something much more intriguing. Artist Mike Carey also gives the whole thing a creepy lo-fi edge that makes it even scarier thanks to it’s edgy style.
Find out more about Ness from the Facebook page

Hero Hourly#44 Hero Hourly (21 Pulp)

When the financial crisis hits, financial whizkid Saul is no longer able to fulfil his dream of becoming the next Wolf of Wall Street so he joins Hero Hourly – a private superhero business which are glorified rent-a-cops who do their hero-ing for $8.50 an hour plus benefits in matching yellow spandex outfits! Writer James Patrick manages to mix the world of superheroes with the drudgery of the service industry, to create a snarky sit-com style book that makes the most of it’s really strong central premise.
Purchase Hero Hourly from ComiXology

#43 Part-time Cafe Assistant (Lottie Pencheon)

While most artists dream of being creative for a living while working in dead end jobs, Polly has a rewarding art career and great group of friends who she can hang out with, but really dreams about being a part time cafe assistant and so puts all her effort into achieving that dream. It’s a brilliant inversion of the struggling artist story and creator Lottie Puncheon manages to make what could be a one note joke fill out an entire issue with sublime hand drawn humour.
Purchase Part-time Cafe Assistant from Lottie’s Big Cartel Store

#42 Glorious Wrestling Alliance (Josh Hicks)

There’s something about comics and wrestling that create a wierd synergy, from Headlocked and Vreckless Vrestlers to Box Brown’s outstanding Andre the Giant book. Adding to this growing roster of combatants is Josh Hicks’ Glorious Wrestling Alliance which definitely fits into the ‘surreal/indie’ weight class as it stars ‘The Great Carp’, GWA champion and intergalactic fish man who is having a bit of a crisis of confidence ahead of his huge fight at Ultrabrawl XXV. It’s a really fun read as Josh manages to take the larger-than-life characters of wrestling and makes them even larger than larger-than-life, by making them super weird! If GWA were a wrestler it would be a fun loving cruiserweight or upper mid-carder. What it lacks in heavyweight stature it more than makes up for with high-impact humour and tons of originality. All of which makes it into a champion comic!
Purchase Glorious Wrestling Alliance from www.joshhicks.co.uk

dark-matter-ii-cover#41 Dark Matter 2 (Close2Immortality)

Writer Chris Sides brings together a roster of some of the most exciting creators in indie comics for the latest volume of his anthology Dark Matter. Sides writes all 6 stories, which showcase his range and ability to turn his hand to a variety of subjects, from time-traveling lottery thieves to zombies and the end of the world. With art help from the likes of Paul Moore, Matt Harrower and Chris Travell, it’s a fantastically well-rounded collection of stories that, as well as showing off Sides’ writing chops, is also still a darn good read!
Purchase Dark Matter from Close2Immortality website