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CSBG Archive

A Month of Self-Published Comics: Reignbow and Dee-Va #1

This month I am posting a review of a different self-published comic book each day for the rest of the month! Here is an archive of the books reviewed so far!

Today I am featuring Brian Anderson and Celina Hernandez ‘s Reignbow and Dee-Va #1.

Reignbow and Dee-Va #1 is easily going to be one of the most absurd comics you’ll have the chance to read, but in a way, that’s okay, because writer Brian Anderson does not seem to be going for much more than a fun, absurdist take on the secret agent genre, through the eyes of a gay agent and his straight female partner/best friend.

A lot of the fun in this comic is seeing just how many stereotypes that they can turn into James Bond-esque weapons.

Like detachable razor-sharp eyelashes…

Or plastic explosive lube…

So yeah, this is the kind of comic where, while fighting vampires, a character will shout, “Pop divas, lend me your strength!”

But when you commit to the joke as much as Anderson does in this book, it honestly does come off as endearing rather than foolish. That’s a great recipe for most comedy – it is always best to fully commit to your joke.

As for the visuals of the comic, Celina Hernandez’s mange-esque art style is often cute and her character designs are strong, but I don’t think the flat approach given to the characters’ movements and interactions with other characters was a really good idea, although it certainly does fit with the “light”/”lighthearted” approach of the book.

Check out Hernandez’ Deviant Art page, though – her chibi-style comics are excellent.

In any event, if this issue looks like something you’d get a kick out of, check out Brian’s page here, where you can read some more preview pages from the book and if you dig them, then that link has links for where to order!

Brian sent me a copy of Reignbow and Dee-Va #1 to review. If you would like to participate in the month with your self-published comic, there most likely is still time (depending on how fast you mail out comics). Just check out the Review Copies section to see where to mail a review copy of your comic.


Daniel O' Dreams

April 20, 2009 at 1:00 pm

“Pre-Crazy Britney!” LOL

I Want a copy!! Pronto! :D Where can I go to buy copies? Did I miss a link? *Goes up and re-reads*

This looks really obnoxious. Just like those awful “So Super Duper” comics at Newsarama. The jokes were tired ten years ago, the art is bottom-of-the-barrel, and the lettering makes my eyes bleed.

It’s so unoriginal, too. The whole “sassy flamer” angle has been run into the ground by people like Perez Hilton and that guy with the falsetto voice on Jay Leno. That’s really the worst part. It’s one thing to do something badly, but it’s a million times worse to do something so cliched that badly.

Brian Andersen

April 20, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Hello There Apodaca!
Thank you for taking the time to comment. I feel everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if I disagree with it. I do want to say, however, that I am disappointed that the feedback you care to share about my indie comics isn’t constructive criticism but rather rude, unkind, and kinda jerky.

I’m all for pointing out flaws and for expressing displeasure, but wouldn’t it be better delivered in a more helpful fashion? This being an indie comic, one that is self-published, it isn’t meant to hold up to mainstream comics, it isn’t meant to be published by Marvel and DC. It’s indie for a reason. It’s the start of someone like me, a newbie creator, finding my footing, creating, learning, growing and doing my best to tell a story that has meaning to me. Even if it features a “sassy flamer” with “tired” jokes. Hey, I like sassy flamers and I like cliches and I love tired humor. So sue me!

I get it, it’s not your cup of tea, and that’s great, but spilling hurtful remarks, more so in a setting like this one, where a fabulous blog is showcasing self-published comics that have a more “home made” feel to them, is just plain mean. A lot of comic creators featured here work hard to tell the kind of stories they love, in the best fashion that they know how. I feel, not matter how successful the comic, anyone following their dreams and creative vision should be celebrated.

That’s just my two cents! Take it for what it’s worth. :)
Much love!


April 20, 2009 at 9:56 pm

If there were something that could be criticized for it’s tired approach, it would be the author’s “li’l ole indy me” routine, much repeated here and at Newsarama. Wasn’t “So Super Duper” published sometime in 2007 and isn’t it up to issue 7 or something like that? Didn’t the author appear at several cons, even speaking on a panel at Comic-Con? To call oneself a “newbie creator” with so much experience under one’s belt is disingenuous at best and passive-aggressively shaming a critic at worst. Further to say that an indy comic shouldn’t stand up to scrutiny simply because it’s indy defeats the purpose of it being advertised and promoted here or elsewhere. If the author didn’t want varied opinions, he probably shouldn’t have put it into the public forum.

The book itself is fun and should be taken as a confection. It’s super gay like “So Super Super” and will no doubt be remembered as the “Will & Grace” of secret agent comics.

Hey There Rabbitinthehole!
First let me say, thanks for calling my comics “fun” and a “confection.” Fabulous!

Second, I didn’t say that people can’t express criticism for my indie comics, or anyone’s indie comics in fact. I said twice that “everyone is entitled to their opinion” and that if it’s “not your cup of tea,” that’s great. My only assertion is that faceless internet commenter’s tend to go right for the mean, rude, harsh, overly jerky route when providing feedback. I only hoped that people would and could try to express themselves with more class and more constructive criticism. Something that can help a self-publisher other than stating that the “lettering makes my eyes bleed.” Which, is clever I must say, but not very helpful. I realize that putting any work in the public arena lends itself to be judged. I would be redukulous to think otherwise. I just hope (perhaps in vain) that people could express themselves without using mean-spirted statements. Maybe I have my heads in the clouds.

Third, I don’t think 2 years worth of self-publishing experience makes me a Pro. I wish it did! Sure I’m tenacious and I keep plugging along with my comics, but even after 2 years I find that each and every comic I create is a learning experience. Does 2 years make me a Pro? Even if I have been somehow lucky enough to be on two panel discussions does that make me a Pro? I would suggest you ask my fellow panelist as I am certain none of us feel we are Pro’s yet. I’m still learning, still growing, still working, still making mistakes and loving every minute of it. Maybe once I have someone else publish my work will I feel like I’ve “arrived.” Until then, I am happy to call myself an indie creator who is striving everyday to tell my stories my way. With whatever varying degrees of success.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and taking the time to write! And again, I love that you called my work a “confection.” Sounds delish!
Much love,


April 21, 2009 at 9:54 am


You misunderstand. I didn’t say you were a pro, nor that you should refer to yourself as one. I also didn’t say you should give up your indie title. In most cases , “indie” is the way to go. What I said was that presenting yourself as a “newbie” in a “gosh golly gee shucks” way is disingenuous. You are most certainly not a newbie. Haven’t I seen you referred to as “president” and “publisher” of your own imprint? And news articles posted hither and yon across several websites? Podcasts? There is a conflict between these portrayals of yourself in the public arena. You cannot seek attention and then be coy about when when someone criticizes your work. I find this the biggest letdown of your books. Own one image and don’t hide behind the other.

As far as Apodaca’s comments go, that is between you and him. I made no judgment nor comment either way. What I said was that your claiming your indie status means you should be held to a different (I suppose lower) standard than mainstream comics is actually untrue. Indie comics do have standards, perhaps even higher standards than mainstream comics since they are supposed to be what mainstream comics are not: not trite, not hackneyed and not “expected”. That is the indie experience. Own it. Don’t be ashamed it’s “not mainstream”, because that’s how it reads when you say you’re “indie”.


I’ve been following Brian AnderSEN’s comics since the beginning. Yes, it’s cliche. Yes, it’s silly. Yes, it isn’t trying to preach about the “true” lifestyles of the “Regular Gays.” He plays in the “tired” world of what is fun and ridiculous, creating characters that are goofy and don’t require you to do more than read and enjoy. For any reader who takes the time to see how any work develops, you can see how Brian starts to weave intrigue and more serious topics as his stories and characters mature. He never comes to literary canon status, nor do I believe aspire to; but then, neither does ANY comic; mythos, maybe, but not meant to be taken as “serious literature.” And that’s truly what Brian is playing with, poking fun with: The mythos of comic book characters and the universes they live in.
To look only at the art and to comment on its 2D quality is to forget the multiple layers 2D art can add. Brian is self taught and has never pretended to be an expert at anything. His art and format add to the sillyness of his stories and create a commentary on comics in general: We are all taking it a bit too seriously; it’s time to pull back, slow down, and enjoy something for its own merit. And as far as Miss Hernandez’ art, her style for the Rainbow books is spot on: light-hearted and fun, and take it at that level.
If you don’t like something, put it down and walk away. What possible worth is there to trashing something that others obviously enjoy. If you’re not part of that crowd walk away. Has the world become so petty that we need to swim through the gutters of negative fifteen minute fame, creating schadenfreude?
The true definition of an artist and a critic is how they review any work (and remember, the critic is and always will be the enemy of art, plus he’s an asshole). Are you offering suggestions when something is off and praise that which is worthy? (the artist) Or are you simply sitting back without a spark of talent commenting on things that “make your eyes bleed” (cliche? I believe so.), not offering anything but an unsubstantiated opinion without any concrete evidence other than an insensitive, unknowledgeable, individualized critique?
And as far as Brian not being an indie comic creator? What is the criteria for leaving the indie comic world and entering the next “level”? And as far as that goes, I think any indie creator would take offence at the implication that time alone and a couple of panels makes them anything other than independent. (Take a moment to look up the meaning of “independent.”)

Hi “Alice”,
Alas, this is something we’re going to have to agree to disagree. What a surprise. Haha.

I’m not being disingenuous (that’s a might be word there), I am what I am, “Gosh Golly Gee Shucks” and all. Whether I’m a self-named President and Publisher of my own mini self-publishing “company” that consists of me printing my books as a hobby (apart from my real life 9-5 job), or just me being an indie writer/creator, they’re all sides to me. I would prefer to respond to people’s negative comments with kindness, sweetness and openness, which I guess you take as me being disingenuous. I take it as me being nice, agreeable and responsive. Oh well, can’t win them all and I will never convince you otherwise.

Getting some good breaks in terms of podcast interviews and website reviews and interviews doesn’t make me a polished creator. I still consider myself a newbie. Is there a date stamp where it says you can no longer call yourself a newbie? I suppose 2 years is it? And I certainly don’t seek attention only to be coy about it, I’m just always surprised when someone likes my comics and I’m always open when someone doesn’t. No matter much PR I manage to get, every moment for feedback is something new and surprising.

So unless you personally know me (and I’m beginning to think that you might be someone who cyber-knows me), how can you honestly say how I truly am? Everyone has many sides to them and I believe that I can be ambitions and humble, hopeful and strong, confident and “golly gee”. Who’s to say that I can’t? Who writes these rules? I will happily be me, and let the chips fall where they may.

And I am never ashamed of my indie status and for not being mainstream, I don’t think I would be creating and self-publishing comics if I were ashamed. I adore telling my stories, I love putting them out there, and I love getting feedback. I’m an indie, queer, self-publishing comic creator and I’m SO proud of it!

Much love!

Just saw your reply. I think you are spot on; however, Brian’s “gosh golly gee shucks” way is exactly who he is. If his comics don’t scream that, meeting him in person will prove to you that’s how he is. And as far as being “president” and “publisher”, when you are an office of one, you hold every position at the work place.

Well first, I’d like to say that this looks AWEsome! the style in both the writing and the art is perfect. Reignbow reminds me of Vash from Trigun in his sillyness and unapoligetic corkyness. I love that sceen where he’s channeling the pop divas. LMAO “Pre-Crazy Brittney”.
As for the comments, I’m sorry but I think they are way off base. I mean, two years and you’re no longer new at this? How long have Marvel and Dc been around? Seriously, 2 years is infantcy to them and I think Brian has done a Super Job(A Super Duper Job Even).
So yea, I’m sure he’d love some constructive comments on his work……random mean spirited jabs…..not so much…

For the record, I’m not a “faceless internet commenter”. If you look at the picture right next to my name, you will see my face. That’s right, my actual face. To boot, I’m pretty well-known around this blog, and I’ve met Brian Cronin in person. You, however, are literally faceless on this blog. Not that this is something I fault you for, but if you’re going to use it as a critique of my posting, you should be aware of the inherent hypocrisy.

Also, your complaint is invalid. I can’t give you constructive criticism on the product, because I believe that the goal of the product is, in itself, flawed. You may feel that it’s mean for someone to publicly voice their distaste for you art, but the truth is that’s an unavoidable part of art you release for public display. By publishing your comics, you are inviting opinions, positive or negative. You need to understand that someone can think poorly of your art, without feeling malicious toward YOU. I understand that it’s hard to separate your emotions from something you consider an extension of yourself, but you have to realize that my opinion on your comic has nothing to do with you, as a person. It’s not mean, it’s critical. I’m not saying this to hurt you, I’m saying it because I don’t like your comic.

I know what it’s like. I play music publicly. Audience reaction is a powerful thing, and one of the most significant parts of any art that’s displayed publicly. But if someone doesn’t like the music I play, it’s not because they don’t like me or they want to hurt me. It’s because they have an issue with the music. And there’s nothing wrong with them saying so. They deserve to be able to say their piece as much as someone who likes the music. And the fact that I feel completely different about my art doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

Hey There Apodaca,
Thanks again for your comment. I’m not sure you read my response to your first post clearly, so I will just repost my main thought here:

“I feel everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if I disagree with it. I do want to say, however, that I am disappointed that the feedback you care to share about my indie comics isn’t constructive criticism but rather rude, unkind, and kinda jerky.”

So to restate my view – for whatever it’s worth (which I’m sure will be meaningless to you) – of course you can judge my work, of course my placing it in a public forum like this demands an opinion from the reader, feedback is the part of any publically shared creative work, and I welcome it. Both positive and negative (with more negative then not it seems, but oh well!).

My point, and my question, is what is gained from you tearing the work apart in so rude a manner? Should you express your thoughts, of course, but isn’t there a better way to share your opinion that doesn’t consist of you saying something like: “lettering makes my eyes bleed.” Is it humorous, sure. Is it constructive and helpful? Not so much. I’m sure I’m just being a naive sap here expecting genuine, thoughtful criticism, as opposed to blatant hurtful criticism, but so what. I can hope for a better world, right?

As some who is also creative I would have thought you might pause before so quickly resorting to angry, mean-spirited comments. On top of this, for someone who plays music publicly, I would think you would prefer having someone hear your whole song before they tear it apart. No? To my knowledge you haven’t even read my book. So judging it based on 3 pages is like an audience member judging you based on the first four notes of your tune. Does it happen, sure, but perhaps we are better served if we have a complete knowledge of that which we are judging before we cast our angry stones at it. I don’t think you’re wrong in sharing how you feel, I’m sad that you feel the need to be so rude about it.

So to sum up, I welcome your responses, you are entitled to them, I never said you aren’t, I just wish in my Rebecca-of-Sunnybook-Farm-ness that people like yourself would try to stir away from the hate, the rude, and the hurtful un-helpful remarks and share something useful, something smart, something worth typing. That’s all.

I’m sure I’ll just get some massive comment blast back from you on this, we’ll never see eye to eye, sadly, but I honestly wish you only the best. I hope your music is treated with more respect then you have treated me.

Oh, and PS, you can see my face on my website, which Brian Cronin so kindly linked too in his fab review!
Much Love!

Again, my comments were not angry or mean-spirited. Maybe you need to re-read my post more clearly. Don’t label them as such in order to dismiss them.

And, no, I don’t think someone should have to hear an entire song to be able to accurately judge the music. If a part of it is bad, that reflects on the whole, worsening the song. Good aspects of art don’t make up for the bad aspects. They coexist. If the pages posted here, as well as the pages I’ve seen on Newsarama of your other book, are not appealing to me, I think it’s pretty unlikely that I’m going to think any differently of the rest of your comic. Unless, of course, you think that these pages are not representative of what is in your book. In that case, you have an entirely different problem with your comic.

This is the most I can tell you about how to “help” your comics:

Use a different font. One that doesn’t look like Comic Sans at all, preferably.
Don’t draw them on the computer. Draw them by hand, so you can shade them in a way that gives them more depth. Computer shading in the style you’re using adds to the flatness.
Don’t rely on pop-culture references for built-in punchlines. Create jokes of your own.
The “but gay-styled” twist isn’t enough of a hook. It’s enough to get people’s attention, but there needs to be substance there.
Know your weaknesses. I’m not a singer, so I don’t sing. I don’t need to tell you what I think your weaknesses are again.

As for what’s gained by my criticism of your comics, I think everyone deserves to hear how they’re honestly perceived. I hear it all the time, here. It’s good for me. Hopefully, you can stop ascribing motivations to my comments to make it easier to dismiss them and consider an audience member’s reaction.

Hi There Again!
Just quickly, I wanted to ask, that if someone said things to you like:

Lettering makes my eyes bleed
Something so clichéd that badly

You wouldn’t find these remarks mean-spirited? Do you think you would use these same words when speaking to someone face to face? Well gee wiz, I don’t know many people who wouldn’t find those words mean-spirited. I’m not labeling your words, I’m telling you that to me, the words you choose, the way you choose to give your feedback, is mean-spirited and purposely meant to hurt and tear away at something you didn’t like.

Now you can say what you want, you can be as horrible as you wish, it’s your right, I just wish you would pause and think before you hit the send bottom. When did we get to a place in our humanity where we feel it’s our right to defend our unkind actions? When did it become ok to stand up for purposely composing comments that are obviously hurtful? What a sad, sad day.

To answer the rest:

1) I happily started So Super Duper in 2007 before I really knew what I was doing. I picked Comic Sans because I knew no better and I thought the font was cute. Nothing more, nothing less. I use it today in my So Super Duper books because I don’t want to switch font mid-story. I started with the font, I’m going to keep with the font. Reignbow & Dee-Va uses a different font.

2) Here’s another problem with your judgmental response, a perfect case where you shouldn’t assume something. I don’t draw on the computer. I draw them by hand. That’s just how I draw. Reignbow & Dee-Va was drawn by another artist, someone I admire and respect. I do color So Super Duper on the computer and being that I’m self taught in Photoshop, and don’t know enough to figure out how to use the shading tools, I stick with what I do know. And as for So Super Duper and Reigbow and Dee-Va, I enjoy the bright coloring.

3) I do create my own jokes, which again, if you read the entire story, you would be able to tell. But I also enjoy pop-culture references and love to include them. And if you ever read a comic of mine one of the things I always get positive feedback on it the heart I put in all my books. They are never one-joke comics. They have a story with real emotion and real characters. Reviews are always surprised by the amoung of substance in my comics. In fact, here’s one from Aint-It-Cool-News (scroll down towards the bottome): http://www.aintitcool.com/node/40307

4) I’m gay, I love gay comics, and my comics aren’t a “twist” to get a “hook.” I create gay comics about gay characters because that’s what I want to read about.

5) Oh, my dear friend, I know my weaknesses. Boy oh boy do I. I know I’m not much of an artist, I know I don’t know much about coloring or lettering, but you know what, I still stand up and create anyways. I try my best, I muddle through, and I work to tell the story that I want to tell. Some people will love it, others, like yourself, will hate it. Can’t win them all!

And that’s that. I love creating comics, I love being an indie creator, I love creating gay comics about gay characters and I do not apologize for it. I embrace all my many flaws. Who wants to be perfect? Not me!
Best to you!


April 23, 2009 at 2:07 pm

I’ll say it because Brian is just to “darned” nice and respectful to do so:
You sir (and I use the term very loosely) are a douche.
You’ve been an ass from the start and now all you’re doing is defending what an asshole you are.
Shut the hell up and stop justifying what a douche you are. You’ve had your fifteen minutes and put in your two cents, now go away. You have nothing to offer but your uninsightful blither-blather.
If you don’t like Brian’s comics, STOP READING THEM and SHUT UP. Your “criticism” is useless. You’re like the guy who always throws up on roller coasters, but won’t stop riding them. You are nothing more than a self-advertising prig who hopes that someone will seek out and honor, saying what you think is clever. You are not clever. You are tired; everything you have to say is cliche, obnoxious, and makes my eyes bleed.

I enjoyed your review of this comic very much.
In an attempt to make comics more gritty and somber and oh-so-serious — to cash in on the popularity of “Dark Night” and “Sin City” and other successful comics — comic books just aren’t as much fun as they used to be. I grew up reading (and enjoying) stories where Jimmy Olsen got turned into a giant turtle man, where Bouncing Boy in the Legion Of Super Heroes fought crooks by becoming a human beach ball and where Superman would get exposed to Red Kryptonite and become a giant ant, or a dragon or talking ape. Some of my very FAVORITE Thor comics were the Walt Simonson issues where the God Of Thunder was turned into a frog.
I LIKE absurdist comics and liked Reignbow and Dee-Va very much. You could tell the artist and writer had as much fun creating it as I did reading it.
And I can NEVER say enough about how much I admire Celina Hernandez’ “American Manga” art style. Nobody and I mean NOBODY does it better. With the push to make American Comics look more like Anime, I’m astonished that she isn’t working on projects for Marvel or DC.
Thanks for letting more people know about this remarkable comic through your review.

Thank you so much to Brian Cronin for writing and hosting this review on CBR, thank you to Brian Andersen for taking a chance on me drawing Reignbow and Dee-Va. I love the writing, I love the characters and if you stick around to check out Reignbow and Dee-Va issue 2, you’ll see how much fun this book can be and it’s devilish cheekyness. I’m not quite a professional but I’m working towards it and Brian’s writing has inspired me to become a better artist and entice the readers to come back for more. Thank you everyone for the comments you left, positive or negative. It all goes toward making Reignbow and Dee-Va the kick ass book that I know it is.

Yayyyyyyy, Brian! Great job to you and Celina!! You need to let readers know that your books can be found at Indyplanet.com or Prismcomics.org. I still recommend your comics whenever I can.

Apodaca wouldn’t know constructive criticism if it hit him in the face. I’ve taught art students before and delivering suggestions the way he does is no way to teach. Ergo, he clearly has no intention of helping, only slamming. But you handled it with your usual grace and style.

If Apodaca can do a better job at creating comics, then he needs to put up or shut up!!!!!

Keep up the great work!!

Brian Andersen

April 29, 2009 at 5:02 am

Haha! Thanks, Pam, for all your kind words and support. You rock! And keep up all your amazing work!

Wow. Apodaca is a total petty douchebag. LOL

Whatever. Don’t let it get you down, Brian. This comic, much like So Super Duper are fun, light-hearted, and not for grumpy basement dwellers.


I don’t particularly care about the argument one way or the other, which is why I’ve stayed out of it, but lordy…

1. If Apodaca can do a better job at creating comics, then he needs to put up or shut up!!!!!


2. not for grumpy basement dwellers.

Can you seriously get any worse arguments in favor of a comic than those two?

The first, of course, is just absurd on the face of it.

The second, though, while less absurd, is still pretty ridiculous. It is essentially, “How dare you be dismissive of Brian’s comic! Instead, I’ll be dismissive of you!”

That’ll teach ‘em!

And yet…it’s not absurd to be hostile for hostile’s sake.


Negative opinions with any iota of constructive criticism are valid and helpful.

What Apodaca seems intent on doing…? Yeah, I’ll be dismissive of that. Whether or not that “teaches ‘em”, I couldn’t give a fig.

And THIS is the most absurd thing I think I’ve ever read:

“For the record, I’m not a “faceless internet commenter”. If you look at the picture right next to my name, you will see my face. That’s right, my actual face. To boot, I’m pretty well-known around this blog, and I’ve met Brian Cronin in person. You, however, are literally faceless on this blog. Not that this is something I fault you for, but if you’re going to use it as a critique of my posting, you should be aware of the inherent hypocrisy.”

Free pass for friends?

Critique him for being hostile for hostile’s sake, if you’d like.

Go ahead.

Notice I haven’t complained when others have done as much, because, whatever, it’s a fair enough complaint.

But that’s not what you did in your comment.

YOU “defended” the comic by labeling its critics as “grumpy basement dwellers.” Assigning negative attributes/motivations to people who dislike a work is only slightly better than telling a critic “well, you do better!”

Bleh. I don’t think ALL of the critics of Brian’s work are “grumpy basement dwellers”. As much as *I* love it, I can see where some people *wouldn’t*. Believe it or not, i’ve seen some people say they don’t like it with a touch of class and something valid to say.

People who seem to just make their presence known just to berate something are basement dwellers. I don’t need to assign a negative motivation when it’s apparent enough.

At any rate, I don’t really care if it seems like I was “defending” the comic by assigning negative attributes to its critics. What is this, the United Nations? L’Academie? If the stakes were in any way of any consequence, I’d probably make a better effort at clarifying. People can just take my assessment with a grain of salt or flat out disregard them just like anyone else’s.

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