Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rediscovering Indie Comics

I enjoy comic books. I have since I was a kid, but in my college years, my interest in collecting waned, on account of being a broke student. At that point, I realized that the stories were all that interested me, not the collecting of individual issues, so I now read trade paperback almost exclusively (occasionally, things like Neil Gaiman writing Batman compel me to buy an individual issue here or there, but it happens about once every two years).

Lately, I've been reading alot of these trades I've amassed over the years, since my day job involves sitting and waiting for things to happen, and when things aren't happening, comics are an easy read, and offer a good break from a novel. Many of the books I've been reading (and buying) recently are indie books. Nary a cape or cowl to be seen, and it's occured to me that there are much more interesting things happening in comics today on the indie front than on the Marvel or DC front.

I'll just come out and say it, I think Eric Powell's The Goon is the best thing in comics today. It's got humor, action and zombies. Everything a book needs. On the flip side of that is The Walking Dead, which I have limited exposure to so far, but everything I've seen tells me it's a book to get into. An honest-to-goodness zombie book without too much of a camp factor that takes an extended look at survivors of a zombie apocalypse. (I have a thing for zombies, you see.)

I also recently read Scott Pilgrim for the first time, and I'm pretty impressed. The art is good, the characters are interesting, and there are more NES references than you can shake a stick at. It's much more interesting than the recent Marvel books I've read, that's for sure. (This whole thing with all the Skrulls? Not really feelin' it.)

Of course, I'm not unaware that indie books have been around for quite some time. One of my all time favorites is still Reed Fleming: World's Toughest Milkman, and I've been a Daniel Clowes fan since high school as well. Jhonen Vasquez has been cracking me up long before "Invader Zim" introduced him to the Hot Topic/Nickelodeon crowd (Zim is hilarious, don't get me wrong).

I'm also not trying to be that "indie-er than thou" guy. You know the guy, the one who doesn't like movies/music/comics that come from a studio/major label/big publisher. Yeah, I hate that guy. Studios make good movies, major labels sign good bands and DC and Marvel publish good comics (Batman being "dead" is mildly retarded, but Neil Gaiman's "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" is really, really good).

What I'm really saying here is, if you're a comic guy, and you haven't ventured outside of capes and cowls, or if you're not a comic guy because capes and cowls don't interest you, then check out some indie books. You'll probably find something you like that's not exactly what you expect. You might even find some capes and cowls you do like that you don't expect.

I recommend the following indie books:
The Goon
Scott Pilgrim
Johnny the Homicidal Maniac
Reed Fleming: World's Toughest Milkman

And my buddy Kurt, who I've known since the first grade, is currently working on Blessed Machine, so check his stuff out.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the plug, my man! Look for the first in a series of graphic novels in early 2010.

    I also highly recommend Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore. The entire series is collected in trade form and omnibus editions. Really emotional stuff, and well drawn to boot.