Our latest round-up of fantastic indie comics includes: Submerged, a subterranean adventure story from the team at Vault Comics; The Herebey Dragons an all ages fantasy comic from writer Simon Birks; and Glacier City, the latest from Brian K Vaughan’s Panel Syndicate platform, with a story by Copperhead’s Jay Faerber.
Submerged #1 (Vault Comics)
The latest offering from Vault Comics, who are making a really interesting name for themselves on the global indie scene. Submerged is the tale of a young girl, Elysia Puente, who has to rescue her brother from the subway as a storm is about to hit. But this is no ordinary subway, with its supernatural undertones it has a slightly Neil Gaiman-esque hint to it, with the subway cast as a hellish gateway leading to a creepy underworld. The story of Elysia’s hunt for her lost brother is mixed up with flashbacks about her past relationship with her brother and sets the tone for why she is risking her life. As you would expect with a debut, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered about the who and why things are happening, and it does feel a bit like it lacked some real depth, meaning it felt over before it got started, however it is still a very readable and intriguing book. The artwork from Lisa Sterle is highly polished, with slick colours and has a slightly cartoonish edge to some of the characterisation which reminded us of Eric Zawadzki’s work in Headspace and Eternal. Overall another really strong and potentially very interesting title to come out of the Vault Comics crew!
The Herebey Dragons
This new offering from small press veteran Simon Birks, starts with a young boy being dragged into an antique shop by his mother, who is looking to get a mysterious canister. But when she is taken downstairs into a basement to talk business, the young boy is tempted by a cabinet full of jewels, which it transpires contain the aforementioned Herebey Dragons, who can view his world through the crystals. They persuade him to open the door of the cabinet and take them with him, but when he reveals to his Mother what he has done, she isn’t mad, instead she is happy. So what are these dragons and are they benevolent or dangerous? This story as a really vintage feel to it, feeling more like it has come from a classic kids storybook rather then a modern day indie comic. It even has a hint of classic British weekly comics from the 70s to it. The artwork continues that vintage feel and has a quirky almost slice of life feel to it. The line work is shaky and raw, and the hand written lettering makes it feel more like an Avery Hill book rather than a family friendly fantasy, and it definitely benefits from this uniqueness and quirkiness. However it manages to retain a certain slickness to the overall package that makes The Hereby Dragons feel like something well worth checking out.
Glacier City (PAnel Sydnciate)
Set in the Alaskan wild of Glazer City, Chief Cutter has moved to the City from LA and is trying to manage the antics of the local crime family as well as the condition of the mountain in the snowy small town world. This new title from Brian K Vaughan’s Panel Syndicate is a million miles away from the neo-futurism of The Private Eye or the Texan sci fi of Barrier. Instead it owes more to TV series like Fargo or writer Faerber’s western Copperhead with its small town criminal antics. Cutter is your classic small town sheriff from the big city with a past to hide attempting to do his best to keep the peace while the local hoodlums attempt to get one over one the indigenous tribes. Faerber does a fantastic job of building the intrigue in a very episodic manner, building a whodunnit around a frozen body found in an avalanche along with a mystery about Cutter’s past – including the return of a punchy character from his past which gives this first issue its powerful cliffhanger. Art wise, Michael Montenat brings a slick and stylised approach that has the sharp edges and almost photo accurate faces of someone like Michael Lark or even Bryan Hitch, and balances the snowy landscapes and vistas with tight close ups of characters and dialogue. In this respect it reminded us of the excellent High Crimes from Chris Sebela and Mustafa Ibrahim and although it may lack the true uniqueness of some of the Panel Syndicate stablemates this is still a very slick and polished debut, and one which has the potential to build into something very cool indeed.
Purchase Glacier City #1 for a price of your choice from www.panelsydnicate.com