Remember when comic publishers used to publish series of anthology comics? I don’t either because it was before my time, but you had to think kids loved that because for one low price, they got two or three stories with different characters. In the early days of Marvel, they mostly had these types of stories to give characters like Hulk, Dr. Strange, and even big stars like Iron Man and Captain America a place to tell their stories.
Reasonably Priced Comics #1
Indie publisher Reasonably Priced Comics is bringing back those days with their seasonally published, self-titled, anthology series. Due in stores on December 22nd, I got the opportunity to look at the first issue and I gotta say, this issue was a great deal of fun!
The first story in the anthology is Voyaga, a sci-fi adventure that’s a throwback to the great pulp science fiction stories of the 1950s. It’s a story of a man who dreamed all his life of being an astronaut. Never letting go of his dream, he does everything necessary to get the grades and learn the things he needs to get his opportunity in space. Sacrificing everything, he volunteers to go into space and travel to the Sirius solar system to explore an Earth-like planet. Just before his 1,000-year journey can launch a tropical storm delays the trip. During the delay, some really bad things happen and all out nuclear war breaks out destroying civilization. When he awakens, he’s horrified to find out that he never left and instead of a dream come true, he’s left living a nightmare.
This story comes from writer Brandon Barrows and artist Rudolf Montemayor, and it is beautiful. The black and white of book really makes you think you’re reading a pulp book of years past. The story is emotional and gripping. I literally was sad when I reached the final frame and couldn’t get more of this story. The characters look like they were drawn by the greats of the Silver Age and the designs immediately reminded me of some of DC’s great sci-fi books like Strange Adventures starring Adam Strange. But don’t get me wrong, Voyaga is not merely a copy or clone of those great books, but instead a brilliant tribute to what makes those stories so fun and interesting.
Sandwiched between the two heavier stories is Chu Wei’s comic strip – Chu’s World. Ms. Wei’s cute little strips in this issue is called “My Girlfriend Is a Gamer” and is all about struggles of Jake. You see, his girlfriend, Anna, is all about gaming. If you’re into gaming, I suspect you don’t really know how your significant other feels when you sit down in front of your computer or tv and play video games all day every day. Poor Jake has found out what happens when you reverse those roles.
Chu’s World is a cute and endearing strip. It’s almost like the anti-Scott Pilgrim. Anna doesn’t want to share her gaming world with Jake. Actually, it’d be best if Jake just wasn’t around when Anna’s playing. Anna doesn’t even like to share her new games with her boyfriend… What a rip off for Jake!
The third, and final, story in this anthology comes from writer Martin Brandt and artist Silvina Rinaldi. This one has a little surprise for you if you just read the book without knowing what you are reading. Jake and Sarah are going to visit their Gran-Gran at the old folks’ home. Jake’s feeling about visit Gran-Gran is always one of discomfort, but Sarah convinces him to stick around for the dear old lady. After Gran-Gran spouts some weirdness about sex and nudity outside her window, she says something a little less odd and more interesting – her shoes are missing their laces. This leads Jake and Sarah on a mystery to find out what happened to the laces of the old peoples’ shoes. When they catch some creepy children in the act, they discover a horrific fate for the shoe laces…
When I first read this comic, I thought this was going to be more of a morality tale and something with a lot of emotion and possibly even leading up to a tear-jerking conclusion. Boy, was I surprised what ended up happening. I wanted to read this without a great deal of knowledge, and I’m glad I did because if I knew what genre this book was, I don’t know if I could have gotten over the anticipation of that ending.
After reading the whole anthology from start to finish, I sat back and thought “Wow”. Even though I mostly read comics from the bigger publishers, one of the things I like to find are books from small publishers like this one. These are writers and artists looking for an opportunity. They get their shot at being published and find a fan base and I have to admit, I feel really, really good about how much I liked this comic. Whether it was the totally surprising Laces or the classic Voyaga or the entertaining Chu’s World, I had a lot of fun reading this book and would totally recommend it to anyone who has a liking for these types of stories.
And then there’s the “Reasonably Priced” portion of the publisher’s, and comic’s, name. On the stands, this book is $2.50 for 24 pages. Most comics you get from self publishers or the smaller indies run between $4 and $6 and sometimes more. The good news is that you always get more pages and usually don’t have to deal with ads taking up space, but they are just priced more for the smaller publishers. Online, you can currently get this first issue for a scant $.99. So, the verdict is that Reasonably Priced Comics is just that – reasonably priced. Even their other title, Jack Hammer, comes in under $3. I want to say, “If you are feeling adventurous, try this book…”, but I think looking at the price and the high quality of the series, I will flat out say “Give this book a try and let these newcomers have their day in the sun.”
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Laces was totally unexpected and very well written and drawn. I believe Voyaga has a chance to be an instant classic since it bases itself on the most classic and pulpy sci-fi that we all know and love. Chu’s World is entertaining and has an endearing quality to it that you normally don’t find in print.||None – get out there and give this a try!|
To learn more about Reasonably Priced Comics, visit their website by clicking here.
To find out how you can get a copy of this particular comic, go here.