Our latest round-up of indie digital comics picks a selection of surreal slice of life books that may look they’re based in the real world, but are actually anything but! They include: monstrous bedtime story Good Night; anti-bullying and trolling story Hiddenfolk; Bath based magical fantasy Knockout; and the second volume of free digital anthology Sliced Quarterly.
Goodnight (NEVO Digital)
A surreal yet charming story about a little girl who is put to bed by her father and wants assertions that there are no monsters under her bed. Except there are, and it turns out to be her mother and that her father has made a deal with her monstrous Uncle to take care of her and also keep her mother hidden. It’s an interesting and unique take on the monsters under the bed story and feels like a weird mix of Disney’s Monsters Inc but with visuals by Pan’s Labyrinth creator Guillermo Del Toro. With black and white artwork which have a Manga-esque hint to them, the design of the monsters is really something special and juxtapose well with the wholesome family. A solid first issue that poses enough questions to make us want to read more, our only real issue with the book is that the lettering is sometimes out of order which makes reading it a challenge at times.
Purchase Goodnight for £0.69 from ComiXology
hidden folk (Kakushi Publishing)
Troubled teen Lester is stopped from jumping off a bridge by a mysterious anoraked stranger who lives underneath. But he is more than just some crazy homeless guy as he gives off an almost fantastical vibe with his axe and pipe smoking. After returning to high school, Lester continues to be bullied by his peers, and even by teachers, all because he has a scar on his face and is an orphan. Writer Kris Evans is clearly trying to build an important story about bullying and a mysterious problem solver, but there is not enough detail in this first issue to truly make sense of what is going on, despite having some strong individual scenes. Fortunately the artwork from Robert Nazeby Herzig is nicely styllish, with a loose and simple feel, that still manages to contain lots of detail thanks to a tight panel structure, and is rounded off with a muted, minimalist colour scheme.
Purchase Hiddenfolk #1 for £0.69 from ComiXology
Knockout (Sky Wolf Comics)
There’s a real thrill to seeing your home town appear in a comic book – after all we can’t all live in Gotham or Metropolis! So having a book set in the Georgian splendour of our home town of Bath is a rare thrill we’ve not been able to enjoy since first discovering the brilliance of Gillen and McKelvie Phonogram. And in many ways, Knockout has a similar mystical and musical vibe to it as Gillen’s magical fantasy – just with less Kenickie references! Scooter loving party girl Ella goes on a night out which takes a twisted turn of events when her buddies all turn into monsters after she falls off her scooter and cracks her head. Writer Cliff Jones and Andrew Richmond and artist Valenita Sunnis have crafted a really engaging first issue with a strong central idea and a cliffhanger that is certain to have us coming back for more (And not just to spot the brilliantly rendered real-life locations that we’ve hung out in!)
Sliced quarterly volume 2
Editor Ken Reynolds is back with another fine collection of weird and wonderful stories in his free to download digital exclusive anthology Sliced Quarterly. Having changed tack after the solid first volume, Ken is now making all subsequent issues free to download with one eye on putting them together into a Kickstarter-funded super anthology later in the year – so who are we to complain about getting more great indie stories for free?! Highlights from this volume include social media satire Self(ie) Obsessed from Close2Immortality‘s Chris Sides and Max Meier (which is told entirely using Instagram grabs); Kathryn Bigg’s superb Wall Cats (about cats who sit on walls); and the utterly heart-breaking Rat by Simon Mackie (about the life of his dog). There’s also a surreal story from Lukas Kowalczuk which includes ‘cut out’ characters you can make your own story with, and are also the inspiration for the super vivid, primary coloured cover. With a greater range of contributors for this issue, Sliced Quarterly is getting better and better with each each collection and if you want to get involved contact Ken via the Sliced Quarterly website.
Download Sliced Quarterly volume 2 from the Sliced Quarterly website
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.