Indie Comics Round-Up: The Show #3-4, Our Final Halloween #2, Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #2, The Wild Cosmos
Our latest indie comics round-up sees us finish up Jed McPherson’s media satire The Show, bodyslam some aliens with Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia and head out into deep space with Curtis Clow’s The Wild Cosmos.
The Show #3-4
The final two issues of Jed McPhersons’ reality TV satire The Show brings the tale of Johnny Teevee to a very satisfying and thought-provoking conclusion. When we first met Johnny he was imprisoned in a single room and being tormented by drug-crazed TV producer and a fetishised nurse. It was part Truman Show, part Oldboy. As the story has developed though it has evolved into a mix of fever dream mixed with plenty of Robocop style media satire and the final twist in the tale gives everything a really interesting new perspective that feels very relevant to the reality TV crazed era in which we live. These final two chapters definitely help rescue the series after a bit of a wobble around issue #2. McPherson changed artist from Joseph Velasquez to Devil in Disguise’s Robert Ahmad, and while Ahmad did a good job bringing the story to life, his more stylised approach jarred a bit with the opening chapter’s slick 2000 AD style. The second issue was also a quite surreal dream like issue, which Ahmad did his best on, but the complete shift in style didn’t help the continuity when reading issue to issue. With Ahmad continuing on the final two issues the series as a whole, comes together well, as the writer/artist relationship becomes more confident. The Show definitely benefits from being read in one big chunk as the story is able to build nicely towards it’s very satisfying end (Unlike so many indie comics which run out of steam half way through!). With it’s balance of media satire and shocks with a strong concept we are excited to see what McPherson has planned next as this has been a strong series from a very interesting writer.
Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia
We’re big fan of wrestling comics here at Pipedream comics, from Josh Hicks’ Glorious Wrestling Alliance to The Legends of La Mariposa, and we are now adding Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia to that list. Although we leapt in to issue 2 without reading issue 1 the concept seems pretty straight forward as bunch of aliens, who sound like 80s WWF wrestlers, invade earth and challenge retired wrestler Rory Landell to be earth’s champion. There’s also a sub plot involving his manager setting out to find him and other ex-wrestlers struggling to get to along in a vey fun and very silly way. Writers Matt Entin and Ed Kuehnel do a great job channelling the outlandishness of classic 70s and 80s wrestling, but without having to worry about the realism thanks to it featuring no actual in ring action. It’s not all completely daft though as Rory Randell feels a like a kick ass action hero, like Roddy Piper in They Live, rather than a washed up victim like Mickey Rourke in the Wrestler. All of which means you trust Rory will save the day eventually! The artwork from Dan Schkade is bright and colourful and has that right mix of Bronze Age Marvel and contemporary indie, reminding us a bit of Plaid Klaus’s work in Turncoat, to make the most of both the real world of ex wrestlers and also the alien creatures. Whether you are a wrestling fan or not this is fun, silly and over the top, just like the best of old school wrestling should be. But with added aliens!
The Wild Cosmos
The debut book from writer Curtis Clow, whose work we discovered via the fantastic Beastlands Kickstarter. The Wild Cosmos sees a group of intergalactic scavengers hunting for supplies in deep space. However when they break into a drifting space station two of the team get more than they bargained for with the space station’s resident. Although, deep space scavenger is a well worn sci-fi cliche, it is a trope we never get tired of. A really strong read, The Wild Cosmos is helped by some extraordinarily good art from Mauro Mandalari and Yinfaowei Harrison. It has a very Jim Lee or Marc Sylvestri quality to the line work and some of the space scenes look incredible thanks to Harrison’s epic colouring. It also uses the pacing of the pages well, using some full black pages and also some bleached out white pages to really give the story impact. Overall though this first issue is a bit light on story and characters. It reads very much like a prequel or an issue 0 for something much grander. So if there is something bigger on the horizon, we can’t wait. It also feels quite experimental, with Clow cutting between first person and third person narrative in a few places, using captions that felt like they were taken from a prose novel. It felt a bit clunky and disorientating, however we like the intention to try something different. As with Beastlands this is a very accomplished, albeit flawed, offering however Slow is definitely and ambitious and exciting creator to follow.