Comics You Might Have Missed: Queen, The Sisters, Iron Empress
These days, it's not disingenuous to say that there is a plethora of comics to choose from. Mainstream or indie, floppy or web comic, in every flavor, genre, and style you can think of. And, if you're a writer or artist on a creator-owned project, it's difficult to get noticed in such a deep, heavily saturated market. So, I want to take a bit of time and go over some of the comics that have made it to my inbox that you might have missed.
Before we begin, here are some rules:
- This isn't going to be a standard, in-depth, rambling Magen Cubed review.
- This is going to be a list of comics that I found worth talking about, for one reason or another.
- No Good, no Bad, just Interesting.
- I'm going to try to only discuss comics that you can read or purchase for yourself.
Queen #1 by writer Jamie Me, artist Bernard Gita, and colorist Sean Callahan
Queen is a British political thriller graphic novel. Rife with corruption, manipulation, and a fair bit of murder, this particular project got my attention for its subject matter. Many politically-themed comics I encounter over here in America focus on fairly stereotypical scandals and conspiracies. Our political intrigue tends to be both very shooty and very sexy. Queen, however, is definitely not from what I've read up until this point.
I appreciate the setting and the protagonist, Deputy Prime Minister Emily Green, for the circumstances she finds herself thrust into. She's a political leader, a mother, and a woman now making choices that will affect her entire country. It's refreshing, and I like how it grounds the story in real-world stakes. At a time when political scandal and tumult dominates the daily headlines, this project definitely feels topical and relevant.
I have only read the first chapter, so I can't speak to the rest of the graphic novel. Also, from my understanding, the project is currently on hiatus, and is seeking publication. However, if you're interested in this comic, the first six pages are up and free to read on Tapastic. Subscribe and keep an eye out on this one.
The Sisters by artist Peter Violini and writer Brian Richmond
Billed as "an urban fantasy comic about three siblings dealing with a modern Satanic Panic in the Greater Boston Area," The Sisters is a trip. The monsters are gruesome, the lore is interesting, and the characters are certainly memorable. I find Violini's style to be irreverent in the best way possible. His line work oscillates between gory and comical on a dime, sometimes on the same page and in the same panel. Violini also wields wild anatomical/character diversity that is never afraid to be ugly to make a point. The characters can be both funny and quirky, or they can be violent and brutal. This visual flexibility helps convey the very weird, very dangerous world they inhabit.
Another thing I appreciate is this comic's commitment to interesting design. All the characters are highly individualized but so too are the pages themselves, employing some really out-of-the-box choices. There were times reading the comic that I found myself sitting back to just admire the robust visual storytelling. The occult imagery and vibrant color palettes pack a punch, leaving the reader with some really lasting impressions. This comic is just wild from start to finish, so trust me when I say it's definitely worth checking out.
Iron Empress by SoloSetup
If political intrigue and frenetic occult horror isn't your scene, you might like to try Iron Empress. Shifting gears to a far more quiet adventure-fantasy setting, this comic features a lush world with some intriguing world-building and story threads so far. It follows the exploits of the young, stubborn queen Kasora, rising to power under the shadow of her warmongering grandfather. The plot is familiar hero's journey fare, but approaches it from an interesting angle.
What I enjoy about this comic is how peaceful it is. SoloSetup's use of soft, heavily-textured inks and gentle shading gradation gives the characters a light, otherworldly presence on the page. The nature scenes are solemn and beautifully detailed; mountain ranges and dense forests are empty, imbuing the world with a silent, haunting quality. It's something like a storybook rather than a standard adventure comic, and it makes for a relaxing reading experience so far. I recommend giving this comic a peek.