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What I'm Reading

Shadows on the Grave (2016) #1

The stories are ghoulish and ghastly in this first of eight issues written, drawn, and lettered by horror master Richard Corben.

The Dark Horse book hearkens back to the 1950s pre code horror comic books and reintroduces Mag the Hag and Gurgy Tate who narrate parts of the stories.

There are four short stories, with one ("Denaeus") that will be continued into the next issue.

The book is in black and white because, as Corben explains on the inner cover, "images in gray tones create and express a special unity and mood which is most appropriate for short horror stories."

It's obvious Corben had fun with this issue and that he won't disappoint with the ones to follow.

Do your self a favor and get on this bandwagon - it promises to be quite a ride!

(posted December 15, 2016)

 5 Questions with... 
Colin "SkipperWing" Byrd

1) On what project are you currently working?

I'm currently working on the second volume of my "Crimson Fly" animated comic book. The first volume was mostly about getting readers to like the character and story format of the Fly, but not bogging down the current story with the backstory. This came at the expense of not really having a lot of memorable characters or moments in Volume 01. I'm hoping to rectify that in Volume 02: no one really had any names, and there wasn't really anything under the mask. So, what is under the Crimson Fly's mask? What made him put it on? You'll have to read Volume 02 to find out!

2) Whom in your field do you admire most and why?

Oh, man, I don't even know where to start! There are so many people I admire for different reasons that its impossible to pick one master of everything! To say nothing of my tastes changing from time to time, so have to stick with who pops to mind for the time being. For starters, I really admire YouTube animator Howard Wimshurst for his ability to string together cool fight choreography as well as dynamic action camera moves (and in a non-artistic bent, the ability to convert his technical know-how into a tutorial/teaching business model). As far just the visual side of comics, its currently twofold: I have to give the shoutout to my friend Ru Xu and her comic "Saint for Rent." I have no idea how she picks her colors for her comic; they're so vibrant, but they also don't hurt your eyes, and the focus of the composition is still clear. The other name is Corey Lewis; his art is so.... "free" is I guess the word I'm looking for. It feels so effortless; like there's such a mastery of composition, anatomy and lighting, that the traditional rules don't apply when he illustrates because he knows just which ones to break. I'm not there yet (in regards to everyone I just mentioned, and everyone I haven't), but I'm looking to get there soon. 

3) How did you get into the comic book field?

I sort of made my own way... if that makes sense? Let's back up: In 2010, I had just finished my bachelor's program at the Art Institute of Washington in Rosslyn, Virginia. I wasn't really ready (no one ever is, but I didn't know that at the time), so I went to graduate school at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia to get my master's in animation. While there, I decided to marry both animation and comics for my graduate thesis (because I couldn't "pick one.") and started work on a single test issue of the Crimson Fly (which I never released because there was one page I didn't finish). However, because I didn't want my thesis ideas to languish in a school library until someone else decided to use them in their thesis, I decided to start a series based on making and publishing an animated comic in hopes of both getting more people trying out animated comics, as well as start my own comics career. A few years later, I released the first issue of the "Crimson Fly" online (thankfully, there are a ton of alternatives to having to join the mainstream comics industry), and have been working ever since, while moonlighting as a college professor during the day.

4) On which title would you most like to work and why?

Haha, I'm already working on the title I want to work on most: "The Crimson Fly!" But if I could get work on another title, the answer would be four-fold (I know that's a bit of a cheat): Archie's "Sonic the Hedgehog" comics, Marcus Williams's "Tuskegee Heirs," "Black Panther," and the Miles Morales "Spider-Man" (for Marvel) or "Static/Static Shock" (for DC/Milestone). With Sonic, I've been a longtime fan of the blue blur (the intro video to Sonic CD is what got me seriously drawing in the first place), and I love that Archie is proving that video game characters can work outside of videogames, even if not quite in the movies yet. With the other three, its about getting to work on African American/African descended properties and representing my race in/to the world. With "Tuskegee Heirs," its about proving that independent works can be successful without relying on mainstream influence, and with the other two, its about proving that guys like me deserve a chance in the mainstream spotlight.

5) On what project will you be working next?

Currently, I'm going to be stuck on the "Crimson Fly" Volume 2 for at least the end of this year. After that, probably Volume 3. But I'd be lying if I said wasn't looking to expand my storytelling horizons, either by learning to play nice and share my toys with other creators, or by setting up new worlds to tell stories I can't tell with the Crimson Fly. But first and foremost, is getting done what I said I was going to get done. After that, the sky's the limit!

Email Byrd here. Find the "Crimson Fly" here. Find more about Byrd here. On YouTube, find him here. On Facebook, here and here. His Twitter account is here, while he can be found here on Tumblr.

(posted December 15, 2016)

Indie Corner

Any Port in Storm

Everyone's leaving Storm City.

Well, not everyone.

Meet Tag, a woman who gives tours of the quickly depopulating city and whose family owns a struggling convenience store.

It appears the reason for the flight of citizens is because teleporting has been banned and the city, so-called because of the frequent storms that occur there, relies on increasingly infrequent air drops.

Teleporting has been banned because people's molecules can collide mid-teleport and be killed as a result.

The artwork is bright and is composed of clean lines and colors.

The question that must be asked at the end of the comic book is: Does Tag leave the city, too, or will she scrape a living out of what's left of it?

This is the title's first of four issues.

Read the first issue and then add "Any Port in Storm" to your reading list!

Find out more about the comic book here.

(posted December 15, 2016)