Digital Indie Comics round-up: Chunks, Dark Lady, Punchface, Sliced Quarterly

indie-round-upWe start the new year with first our collection of the best indie digital comics featuring: punk rock tales in Chunks, a all female horror anthology from Hellcat Press called Dark Lady; lots of people getting punched in the face in Punchface; and some experimental slice of life tales in Sliced Quarterly.

Chunks #1-2 (Chunks Comic)

chunks1Matt Garvey and Cris Canfailla’s world of struggling bandmates is part music, but mostly mayhem, as struggling punk band the Pineapple Chunks attempt to make it big in LA. Along the way they encounter beardy sheriffs after a DUI, unwelcoming locals, and the perils of playing punk rock at a kids birthday party (along with some adult antics which we probably shouldn’t mention here!). Garvey’s joke-packed script mixes a US setting with plenty of Brit banter and reads like an anarchic UK sitcom like The Young Ones or Bottom in comics form. With Brit lead singer Johnny constantly bickering with guitarist Rik, Garvey has the Chunks’ Mick and Keef to build the story around, which leaves the rest of the Chunks misfits to pick up the pieces afterwards. Chunks is brought to life by Cris Canfailla’s expressive artwork which mixes big hair, and even bigger eyebrows, with a punky cartoonish edge that gives the series a slick look that perfectly captures the grungey world of it’s protagonists without resorting to fanzine cliche. All that’s missing from the Chunks reading experience is a garage rock soundtrack with some power chords and howling feedback turned up to 11, so plug in and rock out with this bunch of bickering, wannabe rock stars!
Read the first 6 pages of Chunks via their website

Dark Lady (Hellcat press)

Dark LadyThis anthology of horror comics written by women and edited by Lindsay Moore gives the genre an interesting new perspective with unsettling tales that don’t rely on blood soaked machismo to scare you senseless. As always with anthologies the quality is mixed, with many of the offerings in Dark Lady having a rather DIY style to them with rough, sketchy artwork and quite a bit of hand lettering. While it may not have the most polished of artwork, the stories are pretty interesting and give a nice balance of chills thrills and even a bit of dark humour. Stand outs include The Procedure (about a woman whose mouth is sewn shut as a reaction to sexist comic fans), The Cats Came Back (a Pet Semetrary-esque tale about zombie cats) and Chickadee (about a giant rampaging bird which is part Godzilla part Springwatch!). But perhaps the best of the bunch is Hanna-Pirita Lehkonen’s Zits which sees a woman turn into a murderous giant as a result of popping the spots in her boyfriends back – genuinely horrific!
Purchase Dark Lady from the Hellcat Press website

Punch Face #1 (Heartless Comics)

Punch FaceWhether you enjoy Ned Hartleys Punchface or not is largely down to if you find the idea of a character who punches people in the face funny or not! If you do, then this will be the greatest book that you have ever had the privilege to read. If not, then this book will do little to persuade you otherwise. This  high concept series takes its one note joke and runs with it to the point it stops being funny, then continues running with it until becomes funny, then keeps on running some more – and ultimately punches you in the face! Not really paying much attention to continuity or plot development, Punch Face is essentially a peculiar mix of parody posters, short comic strips and general weirdness from an eclectic rosters of artists of varying quality. However, the sheer relentless adherence to its core idea (face punching) has to be admired (as well as slightly feared) and ultimately makes it into a strangely enjoyable read.
Purchase Punchface from Heartless Comics’ Big Cartel Store

Sliced Quarterly (sliced quarterly)

Sliced_QuarterlyIt’s a great period for fans of indie anthologies with series like Papercuts and Inkstains, 100% Biodegradable and Dirty Rotten Comics providing fantastic platforms for UK indie creators. You can now add to that list Ken Reynolds’ Sliced Quarterly whose digital exclusive anthology is designed to be a series of slice of life titles told in extraordinary ways. As with all anthologies this means it features an eclectic mix of stories, aimed to appeal to a wide range of readers with everything from the psychedelic All Along The Watchtower (which sees the lyrics from the Jimi Hendrix song visualised in a rainbow coloured medieval wordl) to the equally surreal Geophagy (which sees a newspaper man float away from a mountain after releasing some kind of entity). There’s some which are more in depth like Ontologue from Rob Cannon while others are simple pieces of art like the exquisitely detailed pages from Vreckless Vrestler’s Lukasz Kowalczuk called Szlam Slime. However the true stand out of this first issue is the opener which sees writer Reynolds in an argument with his friend via comic panels as he attempts to include her in his slice of life tale. Reynold’s duotone artwork is fantastic here and provides a strong opening for an excellent collection of eclectic indie tales.
(Ed’s note: If you’re an indie creator who wants to submit a title for a future issue then be sure to drop Ken a line!)
You can download the first issue for free via the Sliced Quarterly website