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Your Favourite Small Press Comic
I started this thread because I thought it would be interesting to see where everyone's interest lie when they move away from the big 4 publishers (DC including Vertigo and Wildstorm, Marvel, Image and Crossgen)

A couple of books I picked up a while back still stick in my mind.

The first is Codename:Babetool published by COM.X

What, Who, and Where is 'Angel Azul'???!!! To know exactly you must explore this extravagant trade paperback through a wild, ultra-sleek, futuristic ride into the post-tech city of Kido where a dark cloud looms over it, known as The Dawn Lair. Leon (the leader of Kido city) orders the Facade members - Tobias, Raoul, and the enigmatic masked soldier CODENAME: BABETOOL – to seek the answer to this mysterious question. All hopes of saving Kido city rest on them, through a series of inner conflicts as well as all out non-stop action battles with TAO the leader of the aerial city, The Dawn Lair, and his warriors who seek "angel azul" believing it to be a weapon to help them destroy Kido city. Codename: Babetool and The Facade fight in order to stop The Dawn invasion which would lead to enslavement of Kido's population and possible destruction. Leaving the question: is "angel azul" the salvation or destruction of a city?

Writer Jose Luis Gaitan scripts a very powerful story of a world that has become stagnant and which allows no growth. He touches on so much of our realities, with a world consumed by a War Against Terrorism, economic worries, anxiety, militant pressure; It is a world that has forfeited a chance to explore ideals and live in silent fear of the conflict between Kido and The Dawn Lair. Just when you think that's bad enough, Gaitan then adds an emotional bout with the super sleek Codename: Babetool, who tries to cope with the mysterious mask she wears and the commitment she does not yet know she has truly made by wearing the mask; of course she has a mentor to help her through it. But, be that as it may, like all great mentors he kicks the bucket and she is forced to confront her demons alone. That is the great thing about this book: Gaitan has managed to create an intriguing character by showing some background to establish her yet not fully giving her origin away to allow you to grow with the character over the course of future stories. Gaitan adds even more internal as well as external conflict between the supporting cast of characters, Tobias and Rao, by delving into the subject of sexuality. This makes for an interesting story within a story. William Toborda's art is completely manga-influenced, no doubt about it. Very simple drawings, yet with all the tone paper he uses along with his fantastic line style and weights. The tone is placed in different ways than most manga, making each piece unique visually and helping it to differ from the usual manga art style so commonly done. He clearly illustrates characters that are memorable and individually unique in appearance.

It is truly amazing to know that two South Americans did this book entirely. Talk about breaking into the American mainstream market of comics and especially through a British publisher who is making waves all over the comic industry. Only Com.X comics would find something unique as this and have it wave under their banner. To be honest, manga from any other publisher never appealed to me as this book has. This book has so much to offer to new and die hard fans of Manga comics; even ranking amongst the greats such as Blade Of the Immortal, Cannon God Exxaxion and Lone Wolf and Cub. The trade costs $12.99, and it entirely worth it as you get three comics collected herein, along with a design sketchbook by Walter Toborda and several other artists’ interpretations of Babetool. An excellent package.

Final Word:
Gaitan successfully manages to give us a story that hopefully will continue into a regular comic series or possibly into another collected set to fully get into Codename: Babetool. Also Toborda leaves us with this sequential masterpiece only to hope that we will see more manga-style visuals he will do in the future or possibly the anticipated second trade. After all, this is a story that cannot be left unfinished. I must reiterate that while it is only a 3 issue collection, it beats some larger TPBs I have bought in terms of what it packs in. Safe to say if you like an intelligent story and kick ass robot/clone decapitations this may be the book for you.

The second book also tickled me strangely with it's quirky humour and great artwork. This book is from apcomics and is entitled Monster Club. A collection of the first 5 issues of this ongoing series, together with some great pinups and concept sketches. This one really blew me away with its humour, crisp art, and more decapitations than you can shake a bloody katana at. (OK OK I seem to be decapitation obsessed today...) The art style is one that you are going to either really like or really hate. I say that only because I know quite a few people who won't buy books with an art style like this. These people hate manga so much that anything that looks like it is slightly influenced by art from Japan will send them in a blind rage and will make them run to the nearest Kirby drawing. That said, if you think you would be a fan of an art style very similar to that of the cartoon/band Gorillaz...this is your book. I think the two comics that would translate the best to cartoon format would be this and Hero Bear and the Kid. I could get into a whole rant on how this is the kind of book that could get kids back into comics (as well as girls because the lead character is quite female) but I will save that for another time. My favourite comic store has started stocking this book now and even went as far as bundling the first 6 issues together for sale at a price complarable with the first TPB. The script is mostly one-liners and puns, but if you relax and aren't real critical of the lack of deep meanings it can be quite the fun book.

So, that's the sort of thing I read when I move away from the big four, where do you go when you stray when you go off the beaten track?
My most recent foray over the border has been The Silencers from Moonstone. It was originally hyped as "The Sppranos" with super-powers - but it's actually very accurate, that's what it is. Duelling gangs of super-villains in the dark, dirty underworld. It's by Fred Van Lente and Steve Ellis, it's very involving and quite good. Well, I'm enjoying it.

And if Dark Horse Comics doesn't count as a major comics publisher - there's also Ultraman Tiga featuring the dynamic art of Koo Fuk Lung and The Moth by Gary Martin and the amazing Steve 'the dude' Rude. Both from Dark Horse.

Glenn Walker
As evidenced by the banner I made for this forum, I would have to label Bone as my favorite Indy book. Now, I will be honest, and tell you that I read very VERY few small press books. So my experience in this area is admitedly limited. But, that admission should do nothing to lessen the greatness of Bone.

Jeff Smith, through simple cartoon style illustration, set the tapestry for an amazing epic-fantasy story that pulls you in and holds you tightly against the warmth of the characters. I have read the first six trade paper backs, and wish I had more. Because, even though those six books presented a vast canvas of a story, I feel there is so much more out there to take in from this world.

To be honest, I'm not even sure how many more books there are in this line, but I should find out. Do any of you know how many more stories are out there about Fone, Phoney and Smiley Bone? Do the Rat Creatures ever get a decent meal? Or does the Dragon win the day?

Or do you have a favorite book you'd like to discuss? Please, go right ahead...

I very recently picked up the first 7 issues of Danger Girl. It has been my first comic book purchase to date and I am thoroughly delighted. The chacters are multidimensional and believeable. I found it amazing that, no offense, a group of guys could write women so well.
I agree that Danger Girl is a good and fun book, but it isn't really a Small Press book. This thread is dedicated to those little books that can rarely even think of competing with the Spider-mans and Batmans, but are amazing works of comic book work nonetheless.

If you want to discuss Danger Girl, and I'd love it if you would, it would be more appropriate to do so in the Image forum. Or is Danger Girl Wildstorm/DC now? I can't keep track.
The Coven, Lady Pendragon, Painkiller Jane Big Grin, in that order.

And the only reason they are in that order is because of the muber of issues I have for each title.

The Coven, which can loosely be descibed as the Guardians of the Twilight Rp we have going on here, is a simply magnificent book in my opinion. I'm still not even quite sure what they do..but man was it a great book.

I really wish I could give a better summary of the book, but the Rp thing is the closest I can think of. You have a 300 year old half vampire chick, A Catholic Priest who's semi-possesed by a demon, a "less than fit" college student who can see dead people, a white witch who's still a newbie to her craft, and the 6'6" 24 year old seventh son of the seventh son who has superstrength and can increase his density to become even stronger and tougher.

Oh yeah...and they fight Goblin armies living beneath New Orleans during Madri Gras. Or at least the witch chick and priest did. Don't know where the others were. I think the vampire chick might have become the Goblin Queen at some point. I'll have to go re-read the issue.

As for Lady Pendragon...well....that's who she was. King Arthur's wife/widow and Queen of England. Blessed with his sword and they type of fighting ability you'd think resevered for Wolverine, she carried on as a leader of the people and Champion of her country after he husband's death.'s been a while since I read the books, but the art was great and the stories must have been good, seeing as how I picked up an issue whenever I saw one.

As for Painkiller Jane...... what can I say? She died. A lot. And I mean.. ALOT Granted i only have one issue of hers and the crossover she did with Punisher, but that chick takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. Even made a CU banner for her. Yeah...I thought she was cool. Big Grin
It's not a work that CHANGED MY LIFE or is anything that even has a cohesive plot or excellent artwork, but for a good laugh (Even if it is a SICK AND TWISTED laugh) My best bet has always been LENORE. I have just within the last year or so been told to read it by a friend, and I've got to say, you WILL laugh at it, but at the same time you sometimes get the "Oh my god, they DIDN'T JUST DO THAT TO THAT KITTEN!" feeling.
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
SLVRSR4 Wrote:It's not a work that CHANGED MY LIFE or is anything that even has a cohesive plot or excellent artwork, but for a good laugh (Even if it is a SICK AND TWISTED laugh) My best bet has always been LENORE. I have just within the last year or so been told to read it by a friend, and I've got to say, you WILL laugh at it, but at the same time you sometimes get the "Oh my god, they DIDN'T JUST DO THAT TO THAT KITTEN!" feeling.

Lenore is great. Smile

What makes it even cooler is that I know folks like that. Big Grin

Glenn Walker
Well for a long time, my favorite non mainstream books was Lady Death....I wouldn't consider Chaos a "small press" company, but they do go belly up, so ok, fine, it works here!

I don't have much experience with small press books, someone (coughthorcough) only buys the big name stuff.

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