I have talented friends. I’ve said this over and over the last few years as I’ve gotten to know people in the comic book community. I am impressed every time I discover another friend who makes these books I love. So I set out last week to read collections by my friends...
I started things off with Shawn Pryor’s Mercury and the Murd, Volume 1: Collateral Damages. Now this was a lot of fun! Think buddy cop movie with a little bit of sci-fi tech thrown in. Shawn is the writer of Mercury and the Murd, so unlike the other two books I read there is a certain kinship I feel towards Shawn as a fellow writer. I picked up this trade from Shawn while at the Pittsburgh Comicon a few weeks back, and it came with a CD of music he composed as a soundtrack to the book. That Shawn is a writer, comic producer, and composes music just floors me. Surrounding myself with ridiculously (multi) talented people like Shawn is a humbling yet inspiring way to go through life. (As a bonus, the cover to issue #6 was drawn by the ever-awesome Andy Jewett. Double prizes!)
Next up was a re-read: creator and artist Steve Bryant’s Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon. I got this from Steve at Wizard World Chicago last year when I traded him for a copy of Deus ex Comica: The Rebirth of a Comic Book Fan. I have wanted to revisit the book since pledging to Steve’s Kickstarter project a few weeks ago to help fund the next Athena Voltaire miniseries (the campaign ends May 25, so there’s still time to get in on this). The book has a great Indiana Jones vibe – Nazis, 1930s pulp adventure, supernatural artifacts... it’s all good stuff!
Lastly, I read Blacklisted. This one’s drawn by Pat Loika. Adam Witt’s story of conspiracy theories and secret government organizations is a really original tale that doesn’t spoon-feed the reader. Pat’s art is sparse, gritty, focused, and appropriate for the story being told. It’s a self-contained one-and-done that will challenge you without talking down to you.
Two-thirds of these creators – Shawn and Steve – will be at the Summit City Comic Con with me this Saturday in Fort Wayne. Visit with them there and pick up your own copies of Mercury and the Murd and Athena Voltaire. And if you can’t make it to Summit City, or want to get your hands on Blacklisted, you can find all these guys online. Pat is a fellow regular on Marvel Noise as well as producing his own podcast called Loikamania, and Shawn has his PKD Black Box podcast. For a bonus, check out episode #24 of Black Box for Shawn’s chat with special guest Steve Bryant!
Reading these three books back-to-back-to-back over the course of three or four days was incredibly entertaining. Whatever your pleasure – comedy-action, adventure, or dark intrigue – there’s something here for everyone! Check out these great books and support independent comic book creators!