This week’s best of ComiXology Submit features twisted circus performers in Clown by James Maddox, self-defence and feminism lessons in Go For The Eyes by Monica Gallagher, rose-tinted ennui in House Party by Rachael Smith and a mysterious world underneath a house in The Undergrounds #1.
Clown (James Maddox)
Every time you think you can see where James Maddox’ Clown is heading it veers off into a different direction to create a truly compelling and bizarre story. Jareb Bastian is a former journalist who is making his way as a circus performer, but just when you think it is heading down the direction of ‘clown with a dark past’ story, some revolutionaries invade their performance and Bastian becomes a reluctant hero of the oppressive regime he is performing for. Veering off to a hard-edged, dark science-fiction existential tale of a man looking to reconcile the two sides of his persona (clown and man), Clown feels as if it should belong in the pages of 2000AD (in fact there’s even a reference to the infamous ‘Gaze in to the fist of Dredd’ panel by Brian Bolland so perhaps that is intentional), and reminded us a lot of the work of Si Spurrier – especially his work on the Simping Detective. So for anyone who likes their comics with a bleak undertone of oppression and clowns punching revolutionaries then this is book for you!
Purchase Clown from ComiXology for £0.69/£0.99 here
Go For The Eyes (Lipstick Kiss Press)
Monica Gallagher’s highly personal look at bullies, self-defence and kick ass females lays bare the author’s thoughts on what is it be a woman in our modern society and to what extent women should go to defend themselves – while also allowing herself to draw some awesome pictures of Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 kicking ass. Our journey takes Monica through muggings and martial arts classes and out the other side into a moment of zen like clarity thanks to a scene from the movie True Romance. Written almost as a stream of consciousness it feels like it is a look through Gallagher’s sketchbook or diary as much as it is an overly structured story, which means there is a refreshing originality to the stories she is telling. The finale based around True Romance is one of the most emotive feminist statements we have read in ages and really made us rethink that whole movie as well as the treatment of women as a whole and we can’t wait to see what Monica comes up with next – let’s hope it’s as good as this one!
Purchase Go For The Eyes for £1.99/$2.99 from ComiXology
The Undergrounds #1 (The Undergrounds)
A family move into a creepy old house, only to find a magical door into another world full of adventures and mysterious new characters. For fans of books like Locke and Key, this may sound familiar, and The Undergrounds definitely feels like part of the same genre of stories that include Joe Hill’s comic book as well as Alice in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia and more. Fortunately Geert Heetebrij’s story has a bit more substance to it than just copying these literary classics and the whole book has a really good all-ages feel to it that is reminiscent of a Scooby Doo adventure at times. Jonathan Lareva’s loose pen and ink style and muted colour scheme stops it from feeling too saccharine and child-like meaning there is enough in there for adults as well, and although the price is a bit steep compared to other books on this list, it is a really enjoyable read with a great cliffhanger ending enticing us back.
Purchase The Underground #1 from ComiXology for £2.99/£3.99
PICK OF THE WEEK
House Party (Great Beast Comics)
We all remember those great parties from our misspent youth, those nights when everything went right and nothing ever went wrong. But were they quite as good as we remember? Rachael Smith’s House Party takes this rose-tinted premise and builds a story around three post-uni friends who look to inject a bit of excitement into their humdrum lives by having another one of those epic impromptu parties. But one of the key lessons in life is it never works out quite the same when you try to recreate those halcyon days and often they tarnish the memory of those perfect times by never quite being the same the second time around. With a smart script that should resonate with any one who hankers after the ‘good old days’ (no matter what their age or generation), Smith gives us a story packed with universal truths about growing up that has a really genuine heart at it’s centre. Her quirky art reminded us of the brilliant Verity Fair by Terry Wiley (and feels like it could be cut from the same cloth) and this cautionary tale has made sure we will never invite a bar full of strangers back to our house ever again!
Purchase House Party for £1.49/$1.99 from ComiXology