Written by Manuel A. Carmona
Here we go back again with another installment of Truthful Reviews! The purpose of these reviews is to shine a light on the thousands of indie creators, books and publishers that go aboye and beyond to produce quality work for our entertainment. Some people wonder why we would shine a spotlight on another indie publisher when we have our own books to push, the answer is simple; I truly believe that we're stronger together and that there's enough for everyone to eat. With that said, let's get to our review.
The book we're reviewing is Dragonfly and Dragonflyman #1. Published by Ahoy Comics, and up and coming comic book publisher that's making waves for all the good reasons. See what I did there? Ahoy Comics? Making waves? Anyhow, the publisher is quickly gaining a strong following and with reason.
The first thing I'll say about this book is that the format was a bit different than what we're used to, not good or bad; just different. There are two stories involving "the same main characters" but in different Universes. But that's not the only things that's different about this book, there's also three prose short stories as well as a "Spot The 12 Differences" on the last page; this book is worth the $3.99 price tag!
The story was written by Tom Peyer while the art was done by Peter Krause. One thing I'll say about Krause that I thoroughly enjoyed was that depending on what "World" the protagonists are; the art style changes. One story is done in a silver age style and the other story is done in a much darker style, amazing job by Peter Krause! The colors were done by Andy Troy. This book is reminiscent of Batman and Robin, the silver age era and the more modern era as well. Pretty solid book. I'll definitely be buying subsequent issues.
As always... keep it Truthful!
Written by Manuel A. Carmona
We took a short brake but we're back at it with Truthful Reviews! This time we're reviewing the stylish horror book Bleed Them Dry #1 published by Vault Comics! Written by Eliot Rahal with art by Dike Ruan, colors by Miguel Muerto and lettered by Andworld, this book is a great entry into Vault Comics' horror line.
Based in a futuristic setting, Bleed Them Dry introduces readers to a much different World where Vampires and Humans co-exist in relative peace, but things are about to change. Some vampires, or "immortals" as they're commonly referred to; are good and some are bad... just like human beings. Someone is killing vampires and Detective Harper Halloway has been assigned to solve the case, but in order to solve it she'll have to uncover a much deeper truth; the future of humanity has been edited. Also... the book ends on a nice cliffhanger. ;)
The writer is good at building the character's motivations, making them believable as well as establishing the World they inhabit. The art is dark and stylish, the setting looks futuristic as well as "traditional" when it has to be. The people look different and believable, the vampires look scary, the book looks great. I know artists usually don't like having their work compared to other but to try and give you an idea, the line art has a flavor similar to Pepe Larraz; and that's a good thing!
The colors tie everything together quite nicely. I'm sure Miguel used computer colors on some parts but I'm not so sure he did everything on his computer. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he colored the book with watercolors or even high end markers and then went over them and added details on the computer. I say this because when you create art, you notice brush strokes, marker strokes and/or textures. Those details are usually far less common with computer coloring although there's some creators that manipulate computer coloring programs to make it look and "feel real". Maybe Miguel is one such creator but I'm leaning towards him using traditional media in conjunction with computer coloring, all that to say this; the colors look great!
Last but not least is the lettering on this book, which is very well done. There are different fonts to differentiate captions with word balloons and/or characters but it's all readable, the words are easy to understand and the lettering does what good lettering is supposed to do; allow the person to read the book effortlessly and not distract or take away from the artwork.
All and all, and this is coming from someone who's just starting to delve into horror comics; this book was an entertaining beginning to a much larger story and I'm going to be reading this for as long as Vault Comics publishes it.
An entire year without comic conventions was hard, especially for independent creators who rely on conventions to earn a living; but finally we have some good news. On July 31st, 2021 Buy Indie Comics Day returns! After a 2019 which was the biggest year ever for the Buy Indie Comics Day movement, the event had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid Pandemic; but this year the organizers of the event decided to take matters into their own hands and come up with a way to help independent creators around the World!
On Saturday July 31st, 2021 at 10AM (Eastern Time) indie comics creators will join together in a global online event that will allow fans to interact with as well as purchase books from them. Many creators will have exclusive BICD comics and merchandise, others will be having special sales on their websites and all of them will be easily accessible by the fans by searching for the #buyindiecomicsday hashtag during the event. Of course we'll be joining the party and will be having some cool surprises for our fans!
If you're a creator reach out to the Buy Indie Comics Day crew on Facebook or Twitter and ask how you can get involved. If you're a fan of independent comics this is an event you can't miss! Mark the date on your calendar and clear your schedule because there will be interviews, drink and draws, live panels and so much more! This is a great opportunity for comic book readers to discover new comics from all over the World and support this medium we love so much. Can't wait to show you guys what we have in store for all of you!
As always... Keep It Truthful!
Written by Manuel A. Carmona
Some of you may or may not know that I attended The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art. Although it is common knowledge by those who follow me that I studied there for a brief period of time, my feelings towards the school are far less known; mostly because I've never actually talked about the experience on any interview, blog or on social media... until now. But before I talk about myself, I wanna talk about the Master, Mr. Joe Kubert!
Taken from the school's Facebook page....
Joe Kubert, writer, designer, illustrator and producer of Joe Kubert's World of Cartooning - The Correspondence Course - has had an illustrious career over the past 60 years as a comic book artist, publisher and educator. He has influenced the career of many cartoonists of today and of yesteryear.
Knowing who he was, I'm sure it made every single student nervous as heck when they first arrived at the school, the man was a living legend and we all knew it; although you couldn't tell by his demeanor. Mr. Kubert was as humble as he was talented. Looking back on my time at the school there are many things I regret not doing, but the one thing I regret the most is not reaching out to Mr. Kubert. I was too awestruck, too shy to reach out to him (or any one of the teachers for that matter), if I would've I'd probably be working at Marvel or DC Comics today; but everything happens for a reason so there's no point in dwelling on it.
When I arrived at the school I was fresh out of high school, barely 18 years old; thinking I was one of the best artists in the United States... boy was I wrong! One thing I hated at the time (and I'm extremely grateful for today) was the way some teachers humbled me, they gave me harsh critiques of my work to the point I thought they hated me; but in retrospect they clearly knew what they were talking about and I did not. Some were more gentle than others but they all thought the same thing about me, great potential; still had a lot to learn.
Enter: Prof. Mike Chen! He was the teacher I loved to hate back then and who later became my favorite teacher ever, once I understood that he wasn't picking on me just to humiliate me; he was actually trying to push me to become the best artist I could be. In art, just like in life; you can't reach your full potential if you settle and stay inside your comfort zone. He taught me that lesson the hard way, and although I really hated him back then; I have a deep respect for him because of it now and will forever be in his debt.
When you go up those stairs and through those doors it's like you're stepping into Narnia, you're suddenly in a place you've dreamt about for so long; it's exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time. For me it was bittersweet, I was where I wanted to be but I was suddenly by myself, thousands of miles away from my family, my friends; my island of Puerto Rico. I was utterly alone. Eventually I dropped out and went back home for personal reasons, to this day I wonder what would've happened if I'd stayed there; it's a big what if? But I don't dwell on the past anymore, things happen for a reason and I'm just thankful I was one of the few chosen ones to attend this prestigious school.
I know in the short period of time I studied at The Joe Kubert School my art improved exponentially, it made me a better artist and unbeknownst to me; prepared me for a future in the United States. I'm grateful to those educators who helped me become a better artist. As of today my art career is better than it's ever been, I've found great friends and colleagues in Frank Rivera, Alvaro Cortez Ortiz and Juan Carlos Arbelo who've been with me on this journey through thick and thin; and I wouldn't change a thing.
PS. Thank you Mr. Joe Kubert for having the vision of opening a school for artists to hone their skills and giving them the guidance necessary to become World class professionals. Me and the hundreds of artists that have studied at your school will forever be in your debt. May You Rest in Peace.
Written by Manuel A. Carmona
As I sit down drinking my cup of coffee while checking social media, admiring my favorite creator's work, sharing my colleagues projects, exchanging ideas and posting art I notice one constant negative amongst every comic book creator's operation; how to publish their books with such high printing costs. I understand that you get what you pay for and although print costs are sometimes prohibitive, you do get (for the most part) a product that looks and feel profesional; still... many creators simply can't afford it.
I've been giving this problem a lot of thought for a very long time and I may have found a way to get some of your ideas printed without going broke. I've always thought of the indie comics community as a big family of relatives that for the most part don't know each other but are related under a creative umbrella that unites us; as absurd as that may sound. It's one of the reasons why I always try to push indie books, I'll promote creators like I know them even though almost none of them extend the same courtesy towards me; It's all good though. I still want everyone to succeed and make their dream a reality. I'm a romantic in that sense, although some might call me naive; I believe in helping others without expecting anything in return. You're right, I am naive.
I say all this because I think indie comic book creators could benefit from helping each other, but in a real way; not just empty words that amount to nothing. My idea is simple, instead of writing, drawing, inking, coloring and lettering an entire book by yourself, why not get together with a few creators you know and/or respect and put together an anthology instead? We could have an anthology with 3-5 short stories and when it's time to print the books, instead of having to come up with $500 or $600 for 200 books, each creator puts up $50-$60 and you'll get 30-40 nice size, high grade, quality books that you can then sell at conventions, signings, shops; etc. To me that's a WIN/WIN situation!
Me and my partner in crime Alvaro Cortez Ortiz are planning on relaunching and completely revamping an anthology series we did a few years back, each with 2-3 short stories that we want to tell but don't necessarily fit in any of our main books. With that said, I don't see why we couldn't bring in fellow comic book creators outside of Truthful Comics and join forces for a few of these anthology books. Let's say you're an inker, maybe you can ink a story and/or every story; then when it's time to print the books, you put your share and get your books that you'll then be able to sell however you see fit. You're a letterer? Same rules apply. Hey... this idea is worth exploring I think. Let me know what you think and if you believe this is something you'd like to be a part of send us a message and remember... keep it Truthful!
Good morning, my comics people! Hope you're all doing well today. Today's comic is one I was waiting for for a while now since it was announced last year, BRZRKR from Boom! Studios, brought to you by Keanu Reeves (!!!!), Matt Kindt, and Ron Garney. And this comic was EVERTHING I was expecting it to do!
Matt Kindt has slowly been releasing comic after comic, Ron Garney is a fantastic artist, and of course, theres cowriter Keanu Reeves. This comic is an adrenalin rush, and definitely feels like a movie or an action series in comic form.
What really called my attention was the passion that all the creators and the people from Boom! showed for this comic, especially Keanu Reeves. He was featured in a few videos, one on the initial Kick Starter for the project, and also a video of when the retail version came out last week, and Reeves was so passionate about comics and his participation on this one, that, at least speaking for myself, that enthusiasm was contagious.
It's hard not to at least want to support the book when Keanu Reeves himself is helping you in the video to find your Local Comic Shop! And on top of that, this first issue was pretty entertaining. Last week was an amazing week for indie comics, and I hope this is a trend that will continue! Thank you all for reading, catch you all next blog, stay safe!
Hey, everyone! Welcome back, I usually do these blogs Wednesdays but I've been having technical issues. In any event, BIG announcement! The first season of the Truthful Comics Edition of Never Mind is available for sale at IndyPlanet!
This is the remaster of the original 12 strips of Never Mind Season one from back in 2005. Never Mind was my first actual webcomic I put out there to dip my toes in the waters before pulling the trigger on doing Warlord as a webcomic.
This edition has better artwork, better lettering, and update scenes to most of them to make the pacing of the story better and more clear. I'm very proud of this remake, and surprised and humbled that the remasters has found a new and even bigger audience online than before.
This issue joins the recently released Never Mind: The Original 12 Strips reprint of the original strips, with bigger and clearer images of the original first season thanks to the fact I found a high resolution PDF file of the 1st printing of the sold out original Never Mind physical copy.
As I mentioned before, I am SUPER proud of this version of Never Mind and couldn't be happier to be sharing this version of it, if you want to check it out, you can go to IndyPlanet here:
On this link you can get either the physical copy for $2 or the digital download for 99 CENTS! I hope you all look forward for the following 4 seasons that will get the TC Edition treatment as well as much as I look forward in working on them. Thank you all for reading, catch you all next blog, stay safe!
So here's where I'm at with my comic book collecting, I've decided to focus exclusively on buying and collecting independent comic books; be it from small publishers or indie publishers as big as Dark Horse or Image Comics. There will be a few exceptions though, I’ll keep buying/collecting a small percentage of "Big 2" titles/characters like Miles Morales (aka Spider-Man), Lady Sif, Valkyrie and/or The Mighty Thor. These are some of my favorite characters in any form of media and I’ll always have a soft spot for them. My reasons for doing this are many, but I’ll try to list my Top 5 for why I’m changing my comic book collecting habits moving forward:
1. My interests have changed- More and more I find myself loving independent books and disliking Marvel and DC Comics books, I just don’t see the point in giving them my money anymore.
2. Price Point- Paying $4.99 for twenty pages of an extremely decompressed story, inevitably taking 6-10 issues to wrap up and have a more than likely disappointing conclusion; it just isn’t a good proposition for me anymore.
3. Not MY Characters- At least not the characters I’ve followed for years, those aren’t the ones I see on the page today. I know characters should evolve, but when you retcon incessantly and continue to disrespect the legacy of those who created these characters just because you think that’s what fans want or you’re trying to appease a section of society that just doesn’t buy comic books; I’m out.
4. Indie Comics Rock!- I shouldn’t even have to say this but in case you haven’t noticed, indie comic books are not only on par with the "Big 2" in every sense of the word; a lot of them have surpassed the "Big 2" in quality! There’s a difference when you buy a book by someone who just doesn’t care about the characters they’re working on and/or who only see a paycheck, compared to someone who’s writing and/or illustrating a character they created and they’ve put their heart and soul into; it shows when you care about a property and when you only care about a paycheck.
5. Creator's Egos- I don’t mean that every creator who’s “made it” has an inflated ego because that just isn’t the case, but more often than not I see creators talking down and even disrespecting fans; which is crazy to me since the only reason they find themselves in the position they’re in is BECAUSE of fans! I’d rather help out an up and coming indie creator who appreciates the fans than creators who "made it", think they’re “celebrities” and look at everyone over their shoulder like they're better than them. You aren't getting my hard earned money acting like that.
The truth of the matter is that comic books are too expensive for me to justify buying them consistently, especially when I KNOW many creators couldn't care less about these characters and even if they do, they have to follow the direction and agendas of higher ups; ruining our favorite characters in the process. At least when I buy an indie comic book I know the story, good or bad; it's exactly what the creator(s) intended it to be. That's something I can get behind. I'll always buy comic books, the only difference is that from now on I'll be buying 90% indie comics and 10% from the "Big 2"; oh and 7% of that 10% will be back issues to fill out gaps in my collection. Yeah, this is the way I'll be buying comics from now on; I know this because I'm smiling as I type these words just thinking about it.
My suggestion, buy what makes YOU happy; don't buy only because you need to support your LCS or because you can't let the industry you love so much die. You can support your LCS buying many other things like indie comic books, buying back issues, trade paperbacks, hardcovers, action figures, statues or clothing; don't buy comics you know won't satisfy you and you'll eventually end up getting the trade paperback because it just makes more sense financially. Same thing goes with supporting the "Big 2", don't buy like a zombie just because you think they'll go out of business if you don't; they won't. Marvel is owned by Disney and DC Comics is owned by WB, comic books are nothing more to them than promotional material to keep these properties alive in the public's eye; whenever they want comic books gone they'll go away... no matter how much we love or support them. For that reason alone... SUPPORT INDIE COMICS!!!
PS. The one publisher/group I'll NEVER support is Comicsgate, I'm sure you all know why but if you don't; go do a quick Google search. Basically they go against everything I stand for as a creator and as a human being and I'll NEVER give them a dime of my money. Period.
As always... keep it Truthful!
Written by Manuel A. Carmona
Published by Image Comics
Written by Joe Casey
Illustrated by David Messina
I'm going to be doing a lot more of these reviews since my goal is to push indie comics as much as possible, some books may be recent and some may be thirty years old; we're going to have fun with them either way. The book we're going to be reviewing today is called The Bounce #1.
Written by Joe Casey and beautifuly illustrated by David Messina with colors by Giovanna Niro, this books follows a young man whose powers are, you guessed it; bouncing all over the place at incredible speed! Jasper Jenkins is our "hero" and when we first meet him he's taking a hit from a bong, yeah... some hero. As he's confronted by his friend, Jasper notices on the news they're talking about a wave of break ins and tonight the Police Chief's home has been invaded but the negotiators fear the worst since no demands have been made.
As Jasper's friend takes a hit from the bong he notices that Jasper's gone. We switch scenes to the Chief of Police's home and a huge man with spikes coming out of his arms is squeezing the Chief's life out of him until The Bounce breaks in through a window and a battle ensues. The villain escapes leaving The Bounce behind only to be seen by the police and more than likely be accused of the crime. Last few pages we see Jasper meeting a drug dealer at a club trying to make a deal and when he pays the man, turns out the drug is actually coming out of the dealer; Enter: The Fog!
This book gives me a strong Spider-Man vibe, from the costume all the way to him jumping around fighting bad guys to being running from the cops; with the exception of Peter being a genius and Jasper being a screwup. The book is interesting and there's a side story with some nefarious individual dealing with some high up Military people about finding another dimension and we know that Jasper is The Bounce but we don't know how he makes money, how he got his fancy costume, how he got his powers; etc. The costume is basically Spider-man's costume with a different color scheme, don't get me wrong I really like the costume; but it's kinda too on the nose at this point with the similarities I just mentioned; we'll see what the story develops into. The art on the book was really good and the story was fun and interesting enough for me to look up issue #2. If you want to get issues of The Bounce or even a trade paperback visit: The Bounce
As always... keep it Truthful!
Hey everyone, hope you're doing well. This week, the blog is pretty much a throwback to the 90s and in a way one of the more poplar blogs I've written, I'm rereading Batman: Knightfall.
Perhaps the storyline I've read the most ever, I've actually haven't read it in a few years. I left behind my Knightfall collection in my old bedroom at my mom's house, and unfortunately those comics are gone due to Hurricane Maria.
I was browsing around my LCS and ran into vol 1 & 2 of Knightfall, and I felt the nostalgia hit me. It was on sale due to it being the 4th anniversary of the shop (Anyone Comics in Brooklyn). So I picked up both volumes, and just flipping through it brings back so many memories of listening to grunge on the walkman, laying down in bed reading, itching to grab my notebooks so I can start sketching and go off writing my own stories.
What drew me into this story immediately back then and even now, is Norm Breyfogle's artwork, even 25 years later, the art absolutely holds up. Chapter 3 has what I consider some of his best work he ever did, it was certainly one of the most intense work he ever did. This storyline had so many artists and writers that were absolutely at the top of their games and the icing on the cake were those iconic Kelley Jones covers.
Growing up, this was the most intense comic story I ever read and it was mind blowing because it was happening to my favorite character, Batman, and at the time replacing a HUGE character or killing them off (like with Superman a few months before) wasn't common place, so this was a BIG thing, and flipping through it now, it still feels like a big event. Do any of you have any favorite big event comic? Let us know and let's get this trip down nostalgia hall started. As always, thank you for reading, catch you all next blog, stay safe!