You know there is bad news coming when the manager of your LCS pulls you aside and frowns in a way you can see through the mask.
See, like a lot of local shops, the Diamond shutdown and the state lockdown have cut profits severely. As a result, the owner of my LCS is worried about taking risks by ordering books from smaller print publishers, especially when a lot of the customers are just running in, grabbing their pull or their regular titles, and then running out again. People are not taking the time to really peruse the racks like they used to, and back stock that could get liquidated at cons is piling up.
As such, I was told that if I wanted my usual array of interesting and unique indies, I needed to give them a list as far in advance as I could. This would ensure that I still got the indie goodness I wanted, and they didn’t have to worry about back stocking titles no one wanted.
It was a sobering reminder that the industry is still putting itself back on its feet, and if we want to have physical shops, and maybe even physical books, we have to go out and request those titles, clean out our pull boxes, and invest as much as we can into this struggling trade, especially indie books.
Basically, the industry needs our help. We need to take risks on new titles every now, or those new titles will disappear. To help, this week I have decided to highlight a few fresh indie titles coming out soon that I think are going to be winners worth your time, and your money. If they sound like your cup of tea, ring up that comic shop and add them to your pull. You’ll be helping out your LCS, getting a great new title to read, and will then shower me with praise for helping! It’s a win-win for us all.
So with no further ado, here are 3 hot titles I am excited for!
First up, The Department of Truth from Image Comics
Here’s the blurb: Cole Turner has studied conspiracy theories all his life, but he isn’t prepared for what happens when he discovers that all of them are true, from the JFK assassination to flat Earth theory and reptilian shapeshifters. One organization has been covering them up for generations. What is the deep, dark secret behind the Department of Truth?
Bestselling writer JAMES TYNION IV (Batman, Something is Killing the Children) debuts his first Image ONGOING SERIES alongside breakout artist MARTIN SIMMONDS (Dying is Easy)!
Previews included the first three pages of this series in their feature on it, and I have to say I am already hooked. While I don’t ascribe to many conspiracy theories myself, I do find them fascinating, and a book where Tynion has full reign to play with as much alternate history as he wants makes me very excited. Tynion has shown himself to be a master world builder in books like the recent Something is Killing the Children, and I have no doubt he will bring all of that talent to bear in what could be one of the most epic series from Image comics ever! (Alright, maybe I’m a little over-geeked for this, but come on! Tynion! Conspiracy theories! Aliens! Illuminati!)
I’m already getting a Doom Patrol “Dept of Normalcy” vibe from The Department of Truth, mixed with a heavy dose of Men in Black, and that’s a good thing. Anything that sets my Vertigo senses to tingling has got to be good. Add to that Simmonds fantastic art that’s reminiscent of the great Ben Templesmith and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Check it out on Sept 30 and let me know what you think!
The illustrious E.A. Henson just wrote a wonderful review of Canto and the Clockwork Fairies, and following hot on the heels of that one-shot is a new sequel series from David M. Booher and Drew Zucker: Canto II: The Hollow Men
Here’s the blurb: Book 2 of all-ages fan favorite Canto begins! Once, a little tin slave with a clock for a heart broke all the rules—he found love, he was given a name, and he escaped his masters to go on an epic journey to save his love’s heart. He met strange allies and terrifying enemies and, ultimately, though his adventure didn’t turn out as planned, he returned to his people and led them to freedom.
That freedom is in jeopardy when Canto discovers his people’s clocks will stop unless they return to captivity. He and his friends Falco, Rikta, and Veratta embark on a new adventure to save the lives of all their people. Can they lift the curse before their time runs out?
The first Canto series was a crazy sleeper hit. I didn’t even hear about it until issue 2, and by that point, the first issue was going for way more than my paltry salary could afford. Thankfully I managed to snag a second print, and since then I have been hooked on this series.
This is an all-ages title in the best of ways. All too often when a book is marketed as “all ages” that means it’s a safe, goofy bit of fluff without much real interest for older readers. The first Canto series, however, nailed it. It had action, adventure, a little horror, and even some suffering and loss. It reminded me tonally of the best of Pixar and classic Disney films like Bambi, where you could have darkness to make the light shine that much brighter. Booher gets this, and hopefully, you’ll get it too!
If you missed the first series I highly recommend that you scoop up the trade (Maybe call that LCS and see if they have one for you), and while you’re on the phone with them, have them put the sequel on your pull as well. Trust me, if it is even half of what the first series was, you’re in for a great ride.
Last title for this week, a bit of an odd one but one that I am really, really psyched for, We Only Find Them When They’re Dead.
Here’s the blurb: For fans of Decorum and Something is Killing the Children comes a new sci-fi epic from Al Ewing (Immortal Hulk) and Simone Di Meo (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) on the edge of space where humanity is harvesting the corpses of giant alien gods to survive. No one has ever seen a living god, but Captain Malik is obsessed with being the first.
Captain Malik and the crew of the Vihaan II harvest the only resources that matter from the giant corpses of alien gods found on the edge of human space. While other autopsy ships race to salvage the meat, minerals, and metals that sustain the human race, Malik sees an opportunity to finally break free from this system. But Malik’s obsession with the gods will push his crew into the darkest reaches of space, bringing them face to face with a threat unlike anything they’ve ever imagined – unless the rogue agent on their trail can stop them first…
My lord this book has everything. It’s an epic space opera. It’s a treasure hunt. It’s Moby Dick meets Jack Kirby, in space, hunting gods! It’s Al Ewing! I mean, what more do you want!? Fans of Silver Surfer Black, Kirby’s Fourth World, and Scott Snyder’s Justice League are definitely going to want to grab this up.
I’m really hyped about We Only Find Them When They’re Dead. BOOM has been growing by leaps and bounds the last year or two and seeing more and more top tier talent joining their ranks and write new, amazing stories, fills my heart with joy. See, that’s the real reason we need to support our local shops when it comes to indie books. Marvel and DC aren’t putting out these kinds of crazy, experimental books. They play it safe with what sells, and they always keep in mind that with a single crisis or one more day (eh! See what I did there?!) they can always undo everything and start fresh. Only in the indies do we break free from the chains of endless retcons and get pure, unfiltered goodness from our top creators. Call your LCS and add some new titles to your pull. Support small press and independent publishers while we still have them! Dogs and cats…living together! Mass hysteria!
Alright, a bit hyperbolic this week, but what the heck. These upcoming indies are crazy and fun, and sometimes we just need to cut loose and geek out about them. There are so many other indies I am hyped for that I just don’t have space, so here are some quick hits I strongly encourage you to check out: Sea of Stars, Ascender, Reaver, The Marked, Killadelphia, and one of my all-time personal favourites: Coffin Bound.
Stay safe, and keep comics weird!