Comic Blogs Should Be Good – Brandon Hanvey
There are a lot of cool comic book blogs out there (see our sidebar for a list of a bunch of them), but I guess it is hard to pick which ones you think you’d like to read. So each week, I will feature a guest entry by a really cool comic blogger, and you all can then check out that comic blog after you see how cool they are from their guest bit.
Today’s entry comes from Brandon Hanvey, who has TWO blogs, one (The Geek Out) for basically talk about his own comic work (The Stereos and Entanglement)) and another (indiesnob) to talk about independent comics.
Brandon’s guest entry can basically be summed up by “Indie Comics Should Be Good.”
Hi, I’m Brandon Hanvey and I read indie comics. Yeah I’m one of those guys who reads those little B&W books that are “artsy” and have no tights and fights in them.
All joking aside, I guess I wouldn’t be your typical indie snob (even though I do run indiesnob.com). I do not hate super hero/mainstream comics. I just prefer the comics that are categorized as indie comics than those that are mainstream comics. I even love some super hero comics such as “New Frontier.” While I do enjoy a mainstream title every so often, I just find that the stories and the style of indie comics attract my attention more often than what mainstream comics have to offer. While a good slugfest is fun, I just want more variety from the types of comics I read.
So why am I telling you this? Brian asked me to write a guest post for the blog. I stressed over what to write and finally decided that since this blog’s name is Comics Should be Good that I would recommend some indie books that I think are good.
I know some people have a lot of different definitions for what actually constitutes an indie comic. For the purposes of this post, I went with anything that is not Marvel, DC, Image, or Dark Horse.
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Scott Pillgrim” (Oni Press)
Yeah it’s the books so cool that if you are not reading them you’re not cool. I just love the goofy charm of these books. O’Malley is having fun with this series, and it is just an enjoyable, carefree read. I’ve read these books over and over, and they still put a smile on my face.
Gene Yang’s “American Born Chinese” (First Second)
Yang uses three different stories to tell one big story about Asian American’s trouble fitting into American culture and the subtle racism they face. The book is beautifully draw in simple lines and shapes with nice color by Lark Pien (who as the creator of “Long Tail Kitty” is a talented comic creator in her own right). This book recently won a nomination for a National Book Award in the Young People’s Literature category (this is the first time a graphic novel has been up for this award).
Aaron Renier’s “Spiral Bound” (Top Shelf)
I like to think of this book as the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew meets funny animals. The presentation of this book is really great. It looks like an old high school notebook. It even has fake college-ruled edges and rounded corners. While Reiner’s style is cartoony, it still has an edge of darkness and realness to it. There are parts that are haunting and scary. If you are looking for an all-ages mystery book, this would be one to seek out.
Alex Robinson’s “Tricked” (Top Shelf)
Robinson first book, “Box Office Poison”, was know for its great dialogue and interesting relationships between its characters. He continues those themes with his latest book, “Tricked.” The book tells six stories of very different people and how they all lead to one big moment. Robinson’s art is “cleaner” than scratchy style he used with BOP, and he uses a bunch of narrative tricks such as having the reader turn the page for a sequence when one character goes crazy. “Tricked” is a book for anyone who wants “real-life” dialogue and characters that have depth.
I tend to enjoy pretty much anything from Andi Watson. He first started with “Skeleton Key” (Slave Labor Graphics). He used a cartoony/manga style to tell a story of a girl with an extra-dimensional key and her fox spirit friend. A first the series was more about their adventures in other worlds, but it slowly turned in to a slice-of-life story of two friends. After “Skeleton Key”, Watson turned out a bunch of slice-of-life stories: “Breakfast After Noon” (Oni Press), “Slow News Day” (Slave Labor Graphics), “Dumped” (Oni Press), “Little Star” (Oni Press). With each book Watson’s art style got simpler and simpler. He even started using gray washes and none connecting lines. One of Watson’s great strengths is being able to capture how two people talk to each other. The arguments and chats his characters have authentic feel to them.
So next time you are in your local comic shop or bookstore looking for comics to read, why not give one of those “weird” books a chance. Who knows you might find something you really enjoy.