Reading comics is a lot like picking up books. Sometimes you’ve got to know what genre you like, sometimes you can pick up a bestseller and it’s perfect. Other times you can be disappointed by an author’s sudden change of style or not understand why people love a book about sparkly vampires. It can all get very hit and miss and become a very hard task to find anything worthwhile. That’s where I come in! Today I’m going to tell you about some of my favourite indie comics, some of which you have probably never even heard of. I guarantee you these gems will be a valued addition to any comic nerd’s collection or a great start for any newcomer. So here’s to the guys and girls who write phenomenal comics and don’t get nearly enough applause for them.
First up is Marc Ellerby’s “Ellerbisms”. I happened to pick this up in my comic shop on an impulse buy. I love slice-of-life style stuff and it seemed like something nice and laid back. I was very wrong. I was up all night reading it with a tissue box and I cried days afterwards thinking about it. There is something extremely comforting about reading a life comic- because you know it is true you can really relate to it. I found myself nodding or rooting on Marc throughout his life and I can assure you, he is a total cutie in real person too. On the surface it’s a record of his relationship with his recent girlfriend but it becomes much more complex than that. You begin to think about your own life and your decisions, the way others live and how people perceive events. It’s a real thought-provoking volume that can please almost all genre fanatics within a few pages. Check it out and if you ever see him around, say Hi- he may draw you a cute sketch like he did in my copy!
Next up is Gunnerkrigg Court. Despite being praised by Neil Gaiman, this ongoing web comic (now published in volumes too) doesn’t get as much limelight as it deserves. I came across this at the first Thought Bubble I ever attended when I was just a teenager. The author, Tom Siddell, grabbed me in the crowd as I wandered by and was extremely positive and excited about the story he had on offer. His kind and warm personality had me sold but the actual comic was something I never expected. It tells the story of Antimony Carver, who enters a boarding School called Gunnerkrigg Court. What sounds like a bad Harry Potter fan fiction becomes the exact opposite and concentrates more on the adults and the past than on the children themselves. It is equally hilarious and charming as it is dramatic and emotional. A perfect blend of magic, crazy mythology and delightful characters has me still hooked four years on. I buy a volume from Tom every single year and it’s always one of my Thought Bubble best buys. I absolutely adore it and I cannot wait to see how the story unfolds each week. Definitely check this out, especially if you’re a Morning Glories fan.
Supurbia is a more mainstream than the above indie comics in that it’s actually published by Boom!. It started out a single volume small-time miniseries but grew into an ongoing soon after. It’s not very well known and is often overshadowed by the bigger, showier superhero comics but I think Supurbia brings a whole different side of superheroes to the field. It focuses on the home life of heroes, specifically their partners and children. Some are retired, some just settled down and some still on the streets whilst having steamy affairs. It makes what seems like a ridiculously fantastical genre become more human and has originality in a sometimes stagnant setting. Another great thing about it is the way it plays with the expectations and conventions of the reader. It bends gender binaries, twists villain and hero divides, flawlessly narrates struggle with homosexuality and heterosexuality alike. There are so many characters and plots it’s hard not to find something you like about this hidden gem. Unfortunately, the current season has finished and there are no plans as of yet for a renewal but if it gets some sales and some fan base behind it we never know! Regardless it ends in a way that is a good enough ending whilst still leaving some openings- a good read no matter what happens at the end of the day.
All of these can be found on Comixology. Their new section “submit” is another great place to find all these wonderful gems from the self-publishing, indie world. Support the small guys and they will give you lots of love back believe me. If you’re feeling like a change or simply want to give something new a try, definitely do a little exploring and I’m positive you’ll find an all-new favourite.
As usual you can find me on twitter and tumblr @gee4arika!