I swear. Indie comics. I don't get paid to do this, I help out because this is a special site. Every Friday my day job takes one extra hour out of my night, giving me an excuse to sit down and struggle through some comics and then wring a few sentences into Open Office instead of my usual creator owned grind. It should be a nice evening, reading comics with some alcoholic assistance in the quiet Summer heat. Should be almost like a night off. But then I read what's actually out there and it feels like punching the clock. Indie comics. I swear.
Does a comic have to be incompetent to be insufferable? There's nothing uncommonly wrong here. The worst thing I can say about the comic from a purely visual technical standpoint is the lettering is a bit shite and amateurish at times. But it's a struggle to read this. It's an anthology. Another indie anthology of short stories. These kinds of things make you hate writers, make you hate anyone who wants to write, makes you hate yourself for having written. I'm so tired of this. Where is the textbook these writers keep cribbing from? What comics did they read in their formative years that convinced them that six pages of unbroken expository narrative and invented word technobabble is an appropriate way to tell a story? That story's script is basically just a goddamn pre-credits crawl in a movie, you know the one that movies try to avoid nowadays because people think they are hoaky and cliched? I was trying to stay cautiously optimistic during the first two forgettable stories, but after that "Tales from Genesis Space" brand slog, reading the rest became a straight up chore (with one exception).
I'd be less upset if the Glenn Fabry cover hadn't suckered me into thinking I was about to read something good. Either somebody knew him or paid him a hefty Kickstarter funded check to put his iconic mark on this empty vessel. It reminds me of someone who lived in the town I operate out of, a wealthy entrepreneur whose son had ambitions of getting into comics. In order to support his son's ambitions, he gave the yet unpublished writer hefty sums of consequence free money so that he could hire DC artist George Perez to illustrate his epic fantasy comic book. Last I heard, the comic was partially illustrated, unpublished (other than maybe a personal print run by the writer), and he has yet to be the new Brian Micheal Bendis. Glenn Fabry did the cover for this comic, but the publisher should have first ensured that the comic inside was worthy of a Glenn Fabry cover.
Let's take a step back from the premise. I only hate one of these stories. I just don't care about any of the other ones. Some of them have okay art, it's that familiar mix of cost saving black & white art, some utilizing it better than others. The only story that had any real touches of creativity and artistic perspective was the final one, "Mum & Dad," which felt entirely out-of-place in the book as it went for an underground comics style of nib pen artwork and dark surreal humor. It reminded me of underground comic anthologies I would read as a teenager: big volumes of reality estranged comics oozing with ugly sex, awkward diseases, and scummy taste in music. This comic at least connected with me on some level nostalgically, which is more than I can say for most of the rest that felt like one way text flirting with Image Comics.
This comic isn't awful, only one story is horrible, but in context it makes me want to have a personal assistant vet everything I read in the future so that I never touch one of these books again. I am weary of these drudgeries, unfuckable corpses in that awful goddamn black and white, cost saving by editors who don't use that money to pay their talent (You never know who will read this! Think of the exposure!). It's not like anthologies are impossible to get right. Fun Adventure Comics wasn't amazing, but it splurged on life-giving color and never made me want to hurt myself. Chainmail Bikini was black and white, but actually featured artists that uniformly knew how to illustrate with that limitation to greatest effect. Also, that book was amazing because it was personal, endearing, frustrating, and felt like a showcase of artistic perspective. With this and nearly every other indie anthology I've read, the only window into the individual writers you get is how all of them want to get into comics. And I am utterly done with it.
[su_box title="Score: 2/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
Comichaus #1 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Comichaus Price: £5.00 Format: Ongoing; Print Website