We’ve an indie comics round-up featuring some of weirdest and most eclectic indie sci-fi comics around including: UK comics anthology 100% Biodegradable; surreal, psychedelia in Galaxafreaks; ass-kicking action in The Fist; and Slime! a spectacular showcase from artist Łukasz Kowalczuk.
100% Biodegradable #11-12 (Biomekazoik)
When we first reviewed this UK anthology we described it as containing stories that were worthy of appearing the ‘galaxy’s greatest comic’ – but has it continued to keep up the initial promise? Well, after catching up on the last couple of issues we can definitely say that, yes it has. We’ve picked up with 100% Biodegradable for issue 11 and 12 and the very fact they have made it this far means they must be doing something right. Since those early days the series has definitely seen an increase in quality as it has become more established and the addition of an ongoing series – Death Duty by John Freeman and Brett Burbridge has definitely helped this. It has a real throwback feel to it, like a cross between David Lloyd and vintage Alan Grant, which helps 100% Biodegradable feel more like classic comics like Warrior and of course vintage 2000 AD. It also really helps give the book an identity and an anchor which has helped it’s progression. It is flanked by the usual mix of one-shot stories that range from single pagers to more extended short stories. Inevitably with an indie anthology there is a range in quality with some better than others, however there is a very high hit rate with more being good than bad. They have also been able to get in some more diverse names rather than just relying on mainstay Dave Hailwood or regulars like Jim Furlong and Stu Smith and a revolving roster of artists. This means getting to see work from Lukasz Kowalcuz (whose Surfwolf from issue 11 also appears below) as well as the brilliantly surreal sci fi of Red Rover by Mark Bertollini, with exquisite Geof Darrow-esque art from Santo and Charlie Long (whose colours are exceptional). This helps continue to give each issues a different feel to them and makes them feel like much more than just another average indie anthology and puts 100% Biodegradable up there with the likes of Papercuts and inkstains as one of the most consistent indie analogies on the small press scene – and definitely warranting that high praise we heaped on issue 1!
Purchase 100% Biodegradable #11-12 for £0.69 from comiXology
Galaxafreaks (Andrew Pawley)
This surreal psychedelic science fiction series is a candy rush of colours that has a visual style which sits halfway between a 1960s Grateful Dead t-shirt, a 50s dragster poster and a Nintendo video game, with loads of popping eyes, giant tongues and technicolour whirls and swooshing that will make your brain hurt. The story itself follows a motley group of characters as they flit around multi-dimensional time and space, but it is one of those books where coherency is foresaken in favour of crazy visuals. Although this means it is pretty hard to follow at times and meanders around from panel to panel, the pages do look incredible and have a vibrancy and energy to them that are hard to describe. Writer/artist Andrew Pawley has just Kickstarted the second issue of a second Galaxafreaks series called Dark Vibes which has a slightly more muted, slightly less crazy feel to it, and bizarrely feels less interesting as a result!
Purchase Galaxafreaks #2-#3 for £1.99 from ComiXology
The Fist #1-2 (Jordan Kroeger)
With a title like that you know it isn’t going to be a deep and meaningful exploration of the nature of being, and Jordan Kroeger’s book doesn’t disappoint. The titular Fist is a sci fi ass-kicker who enters himself into the ‘Nth Annual Tournament of Fighters’ and proceeds to got though various rounds of intense combat. Although that sounds pretty formulaic, the whole thing has a surreal undertone to it as a the Fist is, literally, married to his ship (it’s complicated) while his foes all appear to be parodies or homages to characters from other companies (such as Machismo, an 80s style wrestler like Randy Savage and Bub Sniktum! with alumitanium sword hands – and you can probably guess who he is based on!). The book benefits from a unique and busy brush like style to the artwork that feels a bit like, Chris Sheridan’s Motorcycle Samurai, but a lot less finessed. The whole thing looks as if it is hand drawn and lettered which gives it a raw energy to it and despite the slightly rough and ready feel this generates, in this instance it is definitely a good thing as that energy can often get lost in the sanitised world of modern comics.
Purchase The Fist #1-2 from Gumroad for free
Slime! Gamma Edition (Rats & Crows Publishing)
From the twisted brain of Łukasz Kowalczuk comes Slime! an anthology of his bizarre tales from titles like 100% Biodegradable, Sliced Quarterly and more. With a style that mixes the surreal energy of Robert Crumb or Hunt Emerson, with a hint of ’50s pin up artists like Vince Ray but rendered in eye-popping neon colours (with loads of references to 80s wrestlers thrown in for good measure!) and means Łukasz’s work is a real assault on the senses! Because of this, Slime! has much more of an emphasis on the visuals rather than the stories and so lacks a bit of coherency, however short stories like Genghisal (about Genghisal Khan being reincarnated in the 40th century) and his alternative histories of professional wrestling (including one which sees Jake Roberts involved in an industrial accident in a bakery to become Jake the Cake) are a lot of fun. Łukasz is one of those names who has floated around the indie scene for a while now, mostly thanks to his book Vreckless Vrestlers, however if the work in Slime! is anything to go by he is on the cusp of great things and just needs the right script or collaborator to hit it big as this is a brilliantly unique and stunningly imaginative collection from a really exciting talent!
Help back Slime on Kickstarter here