Best Comic Book Stories That Aren’t Dc Or Marvel: Part 3
I hope that the last two weeks have left you all awaiting more indie comic recommendations. We finally reach the end of our 3 part list of some of the best indie comics has to offer. Let’s get right to it and kick things off with A romp in the Post apocalyptic world of Mega City 1.
Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges Saga – By Alan Grant, John Wagner & Brian Bolland
What better way to start off the list than with an often overlooked gem. The British comic has been around since the late seventies and early eighties but you’d be hard pressed to find too much of the comic here in North America. This is a particular shame because there area plethora of great stories that explore many different themes and characters. May times the stories don’t even revolve around it’s titular character, Judge Dredd. One of my personal favorites is the Dark Judges saga or the introduction to Judge Death. A chilling villain that comes from an alternate reality where the only crime is life itself, thus meaning anyone living is breaking the law, and as we know these Judges take their jobs very seriously. This is also to a great opportunity to see the humble begins of DC stalwarts Alan Grant, and the legendary, Brian Bolland. Currently IDW is reprinting this classic run in both singe issue and trade paperback format making this hard to find book accessible to all again.
Parker: Adapted from Richard Stark By Darwyn Cooke
Crime fiction enthusiasts may remember reading the seminal Parker novels by Richard Stark in 1962 and beyond. If not, then this is a great opportunity to mirror those exciting stories with the evocative art from Toronto born Darwyn Cooke. The first volume has actually been loosely adapted into several films over the years. Payback, starring Mel Gibson was as close as it got to being good. Forget the Jason Statham movie of the same name. The comic adaptation by Cooke breathes new life and allows new readers to explore a faithful version of the beloved story. Parker is crass, unapologetic, fierce, yet impossible not to be drawn to. Cooke nails the mood and allows a lot of the pictures to dot he talking. When your character is a man of few words, dynamic storytelling is a must. IDW has a collection of 4 beautiful hard cover versions available for purchase. I urge you to give this a shot.
The Winter Men- By Brett Lewis & John Paul Leon
I was actually turned onto this comic by my dear cousin. It’s an engrossing read that melds many genres together into a melting pot of something wholly original. It’s takes place during the Cold War in Russia, and it plays with the idea of secret government experiments on humans to create, superhumans. However it’s not quite as on the nose as you would expect. It feels very grounded and it doesn’t pull any punches. It doesn’t even try very hard to make you like the characters. One of the many appeals of the comic is the fact that all the characters seems to be bat shit crazy, which can be very entertaining to read. Both writer, Brett Lewis and Artist, John Paul Leon go for broke on this story. It’s a real shame that their work resume is surprisingly sparse. John Pau Leon in particular is a guy that is made for noir. He would fit in nicely with Batman or Darrdevil. Winter Men is short and sweet. No much of a commitment at all. Check it out.
Love: The Tiger – By Frédéric Brrémaud & Federico Bertolucci
Shifting gears completely, we get to Love: The Tiger. Magnetic Press is the currently comic company that is bringing this French work to North America for the first time. TO be honest, a translation isn’t even really necessary. One of the unique things about this book is the very fact that is contains no spoken words or thought balloons. The only text in the story is a quote in the beginning. It’s the story of a day in the life of a Tiger in the wild. What are the many obstacles that he or she can encounter? Just how difficult is life and how will it survive? The illustration is beautiful and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it when I picked it up from the shelves. The ambition of telling a story without words is not entirely new at all but it’s always interesting to find one that works so well. it’s too difficult to find this book than it should be but I hope that you do try and seek this out.
Kings Watch – By Jeff Parker & Marc Laming
I was particularly excited when I heard that, classic pulp characters, The Phantom, Flash Gordon & Mandrake; The Magician would be teaming up in Dynamite’s Kings Watch comic. If anyone remembers the 80’s Defenders Of The Earth TV show, Kings watch serves as a type of reunion for these characters. I’m a big fan of The Phantom especially. The character’s popularity has certainly dipped over the years( Except in Austrailia. They are Phantom freaks.) When I heard that Dynamite comics landed the rights to the character I was excited to see what they would do with him. Sadly, not much until this came out! it’s a short six issue mini series that works as a fun love letter to these pulp favorites. It’s just so much fun and it looks great. it’s a real page turner that revels in it’s history while still be able to push things into the modern age. Just remember that before Superman, Batman or Spider-man there was The Phantom, Mandrake and Flash Gordon. See what made them special.
This concludes my list. I’m sure a week will pass and I’ll remember that I didn’t add something on the list. But that’s just it. There’s a ton of stuff out there. Quality stuff. You just have to explore and see what the medium of comics has to offer.