It’s been another outstanding year for ComiXology’s indie publishing arm Submit. With hundreds of titles published every month, there has never been a better time to publish digitally or get into reading independent digital comics. Not every great comic this year has been published by one of the big three, so in case you missed any of these great titles or would just like to find out where to start, here is our round up of the very Best of ComiXology Submit 2014.
1. Neomad (Gestalt Comics)
Webcomic innovator Stu ‘sutueatsflies’ Campbell brought his Antipodean multimedia masterpiece to ComiXology Submit this year in a new collected edition. This visually arresting tale of 14 young Australian kids (aka The Love Punks) who go on an epic adventure after a rocket booster lands in their quiet community may lack some of the added interactive elements like video and sound that came with the app version, but Neomad is still a wonderful piece of highly imaginative story telling with vibrant and exciting, technicolor art (partly produced by the kids who star in the series) that leaps out of every page. If only every comic was as fun to read as this!
Purchase Neomad Volume 1 from ComiXology
2. Giant Days (Scary Go round)
There are few things in life as perfect as a John Allison comic. As the Bad Machinery creator winds up his main series, it frees him up to work on other creations like the wonderful Susan, Daisy and Esther of Giant Days. Superbly written with some of the most identifiable characters you will encounter in a comic book, Allison’s university set tale of three flat mates and their romantic and social woes will resonate with readers in an endlessly charming way that few other books can compare to. Whether it is Daisy and Susan’s run in with the Indie Society or Daisy’s romantic dalliances, Giant Days is packed full of charming humour and is just a wonderfully entertaining piece of comic book perfection.
Purchase Giant Days from ComiXology here
3. Oh Joy Sex Toy (Erika Moen)
Erika Moen’s most definitely NSFW webcomic was originally launched as a sex toy review blog in cartoon form, but Oh Joy Sex Toy has evolved into one of the most enlightened series on the web. More than just gratuitous titillation it is a frank and open look at modern sexuality with a cast of characters that cover all genders, races and orientations, dealing with issues of sex and relationships without prejudice or judgment. With superb duotone artwork and a smart and witty sense of humour it’s packed full of great tips and advice, making it as educational as it is erotic. Oh Joy Sex toy is so much more than just another piece of Internet smut – although don’t worry, there is plenty of that in there too – and will put a smile on your face in ways you never thought possible!
Purchase Oh Joy Sex Toy Volume 1 from ComiXology here
4. Doc Unknown Volume 1 and 2 (Believe in Comics)
There are lots of 40s pulp inspired adventure serials on ComiXology these days, but view have the energy and excitement of Fabian Rangel Jr’s Doc Unknown. With all the vibrancy of a Bruce Timm Batman Adventure, the supernatural chicanery of Mike Mignola’s son of Satan and the visual punch of Michael Oeming’s Powers, Doc Unknown is a perfect storm of pulp. Fans can immerse themselves in the world of Doc Unknown courtesy of 2 collected editions: Volume 1 establishes the roster of electic villains, including the serpentine Boss Snake and vampire ninja Shen-Ru; while volume 2 collects a number of short Doc Unknown stories together. And if that’s not enough to whet your appetite, there’s also a Boss Snake origin tale as well. Make the Doc known to you today!
Purchase Doc Unknown Volumes 1 and 2 and Boss Snake from ComiXology here
5. A Stray in the Woods (Alison Wilgus)
Originally created via Tumblr, Alison Wilgus’ web comic A Stray in the Woods is part comic strip, part text adventure game with a dash of house cat diary thrown in for good measure! The story begins with a cat alone in a room and via weekly instalments Wilgus would get her readers to offer suggestions on where the story would go next. It begins slowly with some basic room exploration, but soon veers off into a fantastic journey around the abandoned house and off into the mysterious woods – where things start to get a bit crazy! Collected into one volume A Stray In The Woods is a completely unique piece of story telling that could only exist in the digital age and works to perfection when collected together.
Purchase A Stray In The Woods from ComiXology
6. Xeno Trip (QAM comics)
Quinton Miles’ riff on the Conneticut Yankee story sees confused slacker Cody Bennett waking up in the bed of an alien princess with no memory of how he got there. Not only is he on another planet, but he is also King and has started a civil was. With the help of his gormless guards Zorg and Stus, it’s up to Cody to broker a peace deal and find his way back home – however the evil General Zolak has other ideas. Xeno Trip’s laugh out loud story is packed full of great in-jokes and pop-culture gags which are brought to life by artist Daniele Cosentino. As well as giving the whole series, a slick cartoonish look that make the most of Mile’s gags, Cosentino renders the whole book in super slick Guided View with the kind of slick transitions that put big budget offerings like Marvel’s Infinite books to shame.
Purchase Xeno Trip from ComiXology here
7. Debbie’s Inferno (Retrofit/Big Planet Comics)
The dream like world of Debbie’s Inferno is inspired by Dante but reads more like Alice in Wonderland. As Debbie travels through her psyche guided by her talking cat her every insecurity is laid bare from the cave of self loathing to the plain of broken hearts. This incredibly personal tale tackles issue of mental health, loneliness and depression and will resonate with anyone who has ever been affected by these issues (or knows someone who has). The subject matter is never treated in a patronising or demeaning manner and when combined with writer/artist Anne Emond’s beautiful but simplistic artwork it makes for a truly compelling and rewarding read.
Purchase Debbie’s Inferno from ComiXology here
8. Doghouse (Doghouse comics)
Unlike some anthologies which rely on an eclectic range of artists and writers, UK collection Doghouse is more of a serial in the vein of Brit stalwart 2000 AD. With regular instalments of each story from a regular creative team it features a core roster of titles that include Avalon (a group of marines transported back to medieval times), Repo Deluxe (a blue collar repo man collecting white collar goods) and Spider (a sinister parasite invades a violent prison). Each story stands out from the next courtesy of writer Mike Sizemore’s smart scripts while the multi-talented Dave Kennedy turns his hand to a variety of art styles from manga to duotone cartoons, meaning that Doghouse is a comic that is definitely no mongrel, this is a comic with real pedigree!
Purchase Doghouse from ComiXology here
9. So Buttons (Alchemy comix)
Jonathan Bayliss’s slice of life tales from New York read like a less bleak version of the work of Harvey Pekar. With stories covering everything from taking his dog to the vet and searching for the perfect cup of coffee to his time as an intern at Marvel or his relationship with his father, Bayliss’ tales make for a superbly eclectic collection of incredibly readable stories. With a variety of art styles to compliment the diverse subject matter it makes each one feel unique and different to the last, and there’s also some fantastic parody covers that include a Jay Lynch Garbage Pail Kids cover that will make any 80s kids flood with nostalgia. Put all this together and So Buttons makes the mundanity of a comic about real life seem… so brilliant!
Purchase So Buttons from ComiXology
10. Who Needs The Moon? (Todd McCullough)
Although the idea of a werewolf in a town full of vampires may seem dangerously close to Twilight territory, Todd McCullough’s dark horror tale pulls no punches to create a truly terrifying take on these familiar creatures. As the town of Kingsford is overrun by vampires, itinerant werewolf Ethan attempts to stand up for the persecuted townsfolk, with mixed results. But instead of scenarios playing out in a sanitised PG-13 version McCullough wants his monsters to be monsters and so gives the whole book a dark and blood-soaked heart. Not afraid to delve into the nastier areas of human behaviour, Who Needs the Moon? is gruesome and graphic but never gratuitous in it’s portrayal of an outsider in small-town America, that helps breathe life into an otherwise overdone genre.
Purchase Who Needs The Moon from ComiXology
Matthew Petz’s superb science-fiction meets woodland tales adventure continues to excel in Season 2 as Fin and co confront the alien invaders in upstate New York. If that’s not enough to entice you in then we’ve got two words for you – ‘Bear Cavalry’. Purchase here
Showcasing some of the best creators from ‘Down Under’, this high quality New Zealand anthology includes a prelude to the outstanding Moth City digital comic from Tim Gibson with an origin story for the diabolical Governor McCaw set in the wild west. Purchase here
A homage to 1980s event series like Secret Wars or Infinite Crisis, Scott Reed’s superhero epic is more than just another wannabe Watchmen thanks to a mysterious conspiracy story involving the original publishers, that plays out in notes left on the original printed pages. Purchase here
Stuart and Kathryn Immonen’s experiments in unorthodox story telling features a wildlife photographer lost in the woods and the [possibly] true story of Finland’s finest WW2 sniper all told in stunningly designed unorthodox fashion. Purchase here
Now in it’s 3rd volume, King Bone Press’ music themed anthology series features everything from quirky indie angst to bonkers sci-fi space rock. Reads like a comic book mix-tape from the coolest (and weirdest) person you know. Purchase here
Another book from the supremely talented John Allison, Expecting to Fly sees high school student Ryan asked to keep an eye on troubled classmate Shelley and an unlikely friendship develops. A more emotionally complex tale than Giant Days, but every bit as wonderful. Purchase here
Jon Locks tale of a privatised after life goes from strength to strength with this 3rd volume as conman and CEO Jack Fortune attempts to revolutionise the industry that makes the dead’s energy source (aka manna) with suitably chaotic results. Purchase here
Mysterious sea creatures and an undead Chinese army are all in a days work for The Cryptozoology department of Dunsany College in this action packed mini series from Gordon Rennie and PJ Holden. Purchase here
Ezra Claytan Daniels immersive digital app is collected into a Comixology edition but loses none of it’s charm in the process. As Molly and Hank attempt to extend their life via an unconventional scientific experiment, the results are not quite what they expected. Purchase here
Andrew Maclean’s tale of Nordal the swordsman reads like Conan the Barbarian meets Hellboy as drawn by Michael Avon Oeming in this swords and sorcery series about a monster hunter with a big sword and a witches head in a bag. Purchase here
You can’t help but fall for John Trujillo”s bittersweet, but rather surreal, collection of stories about people’s love affairs with inanimate objects. (Or in one case a love affair between a toaster and a vending machine!) Purchase here
The life times of the notorious Victorian sideshow phenomenon are given a Mike Mignola-esque makeover courtesy of Brits Tom Ward and Luke Parker. A brilliant interpretation and visual translation of this classic but tragic story. Purchase here
A tale of unrequited love between a freelance mail deliverer and the scientist he brings letters for in a post apocalyptic world. Despite it’s bleak setting this is a really charming tale about people re-establishing order in the face of chaos. Purchase here
Brent Boates dialogue free adventure of a man on his bike evading an alien invasion bristles with more energy and excitement than a dozen superhero crossovers! Also check out the equally wonderful and wordless Open Water! Purchase here
Stephan Frank’s monochrome vampire heist book gives the Bram Stoker myth an Oceans 11 style update as conman and thief James Finnegan gets more than he bargains for when he burgles the Harker foundations headquarters and steals a mysterious silver bar! Purchase here