The explosion of movies and television shows based on comic books has made comics mainstream. People who never would have read comics before now carry them around in their hipster canvas tote bags on the way to the microbrewery. Nerdy is cool now.
Most of the comics that are getting widespread attention are from the ‘big two’ in the comic book world: DC and Marvel. All the mainstream superheroes are from one label or the other. But there are many other comic book labels out there producing stellar books. These labels fall under the category of ‘indie comics’ and are being missed by those new to comic book consumption.
If you want to read stories a bit outside the mainstream and discover some awesome new artists and writers, then check out some of these fantastic indie comics that you might have missed.
1) “The Fuse“
What if your favorite crime procedural TV show took place in space? That’s basically the question that “The Fuse” poses. This genre-bending book follows the Midway City Police Department as they solve crimes, particularly a murder, on a space station tens of thousands of miles above Earth. The book puts all the typical dynamics of a cop TV show for example, the grizzled world weary veteran cop with a younger, up and coming partner, and transports them to a new and interesting environment.
When Addison’s best friend gets murdered, she goes full on vigilante and starts murdering criminals in her town. Addison transforms from a boyish, field hockey playing, regular teenager to a murderess, consumed by her need for revenge. As she pursues her vengeance her world starts to unravel and the lines between reality and hallucination start to blur.
Maika is on a journey to discover the truth about her mysterious past when she uncovers the fact that she has a psychic connection to something not of this world. Suddenly she is caught up in an age old battle between powers both supernatural and human that wants to control the creatures to which she is connected. Slowly, Maika begins to transform in to something more than human herself, and enters the fray in a whole new way.
“Trees” imagines a world where the alien invasion has occurred, but nothing has happened. Ten years previous to the story, alien trees randomly appeared all over the Earth, but nothing happened. They’ve simply sat there as part of the landscape, like any other tree. Then, strange things start to happen. At first it’s unclear the events are connected to the trees, but as it all unfolds it becomes clear that something larger is going on. “Trees” is an incredibly subtle story. Most of it is told in hints and innuendos. It’s not quite like any other story out there, especially those that posit how we would interact with aliens, but that’s precisely why it’s so interesting.
5) “Southern Cross“
When Alex’s sister dies under mysterious circumstances, Alex boards the ship she took too the moon to get some answers. Instead of answers, Alex continually discovers more questions, and stumbles upon secrets that she isn’t supposed to know. The story takes board on the ship, creating an inescapable, claustrophobic feeling that adds to the creepy anxiety that defines this story.
6) “Curb Stomp“
“Curb Stomp” tells the intersecting stories of the members of three different girl gangs and the harsh world they inhabit. When one member of one of the gangs is killed, an all out street war ensues and the girls struggle to survive and protect their fellow gang members. The story shows that these girls will go to any lengths to protect themselves, their families and friends, and their turf. “Curb Stomp” pulls no punches, and it will hit you right in the face.
7) “Lady Killer“
Josie is the quintessential 60’s housewife, who just happens to be a bad ass assassin. The main thing that makes this book work is the strange juxtaposition of the 1960’s suburban innocence and the brutal violence and intrigue of contract killing. “Lady Killer” is the ultimate story of a woman leading a double life.
8) “Rocket Girl“
Dayoung is a high tech, teenage cop from the future who gets sent back to NYC in the mid 80’s to investigate a corporation that has been manipulating time. During the course of her investigation she discovers that the timeline she knows as reality was actually mistakenly created. Her timeline shouldn’t exist. The book explores parallel timelines, alternate realities, and the dangers of letting powerful corporations bend the rules.
9) “Paper Girls“
“Paper Girls” starts as the rather mundane story of four girls who are delivering newspapers, literally paper girls, in the late 80’s. The comic provides all the nostalgic feels that all stories set in the late 80’s and early 90’s do for those of us who were young then. The story begins to morph though as the girls get involved in a sci-fi heavy plot that is much larger than them.
These are just a few of the titles that are produced by indie labels in the comic book industry. If you’re looking for something new, different, and not about superheroes, definitely give these indie comics a shot.