When Humble Bundle hosted their first comics bundle several months back, I mentioned that my dream of dreams was a Boom! Studios bundle. This week, my dream has finally been realized. Behold, the glory of the Humble BOOM! Bundle.
You may not have heard of several of these titles before, so please allow me to introduce you to the awesome contained in each tier.
Tier 1: Creamy!
In the first tier, Boom! is offering a combination of completed mini-series, currently on-going, and properties based off movies/tv – which basically amounts to nearly 40 issues of comics for whatever measly price you’re willing to pay.
Imagine Agents is Men in Black meets Monsters Inc. as two lackluster agents attempt to take down a particularly evil imaginary figment. Author Briane Joines hits the right tone between comic and creepy, giving the whole book a feel-good vibe with surprising depth. Plus, some of the figments in the book are just hilarious.
Curse on the other hand, is about as feel-good as hugging a cactus. The series follows Laney Griffin as he attempts to pursue any available path to save his son from Leukemia. One of these paths happens to lead straight into the jaws of a lycanthrope – who’s just as vicious when the moon isn’t out. What follows is a great self-contained narrative focused on the stark realities of survival at all costs.
Similarly dark in tone, Hit is set in 1955 Los Angeles. Instead of going down the typical noir route of gangsters, the comic follows clandestine groups of LAPD detectives who moonlight as sanctioned hitmen. Violent vigilante justice in Vanessa R. Del Rey’s gorgeous art-style is just a no-brainer.
The on-going comics in the first tier are some of the cream of the crop titles I try to recommend to people on a daily basis. But really, these are titles that highlight Boom’s commitment to unique storytelling and stellar art.
Evil Empire, written by Max Bemis with art by Ransom Getty, tells the story of how we go from everyday democratic life to suddenly being ruled by an evil overlord in the blink of an eye. Told from the perspective of hippie, anti-government, underground rapper Reese, we get to watch the world burn and secretly take a bit of delight in it while it’s happening. The comic is every bit as smart its covers, with Bemis offering sharp political commentary while telling a story you just can’t tear yourself away from.
Moving away from real-life politics, Day Men follows the on-going machinations of the 50 vampire families of the world and the hired-help (Day-men) that keep the families running. A full-blown war has erupted between the Virgo and Ramses families, and the silver-haired fox David Reid is left to pick up the pieces while proving that he can be an adequate war-time consigliere.Considering the series comes from the Editor-in-Chief at Boom! Studios himself, Matt Gagnon, you know it’s a worthwhile investment. The support of Brian Michael Nelson on writing and Brian Stellfreeze on art definitely doesn’t hurt either.
Finally the leaves Dead Letters, the noir-drama from Christopher Sebela and Chris Visions. This is the only on-going title in this tier I’m not already reading, and I’m excited that this Humble Boom! Bundle is giving me the opportunity. Besides just giving us some stellar cover images, Dead Letters tells the story of Sam, who woke up in his motel room with no memories and a slew of noir stereotypes to survive. There are femme fatales, gangs, and big secrets at stake – a noir connoisseur’s smorgasbord.
Movie/TV based comics
I made a whole vow to stop buying comics based on tv and movies, so I”m not as familiar with the Robocop or Sons of Anarchy titles from Boom! Studios. That said, I’m excited that purchasing this bundle doesn’t *technically* break my rule, and I get to wash the bitter taste of the Robocop remake with some quality comics. Boom! has proven it’s abilities in the past to harness the TV/Movie properties well for comics. Assuming the quality of these titles is comparable to the rest on the list, you’re getting some good reads.
Tier 2: Cream of the Crop
You could pay $1.00 for the 30+ issues in the first tier, but you’d really be missing out on some great reads. The second-tier showcases some of Booms most promising on-going series, and it’s most highly awarded completed series. Plus four volumes of Planet of the Apes.
Six-Gun Gorilla is hands-down the best mini-series I read last year. It’s also one of the best science-fiction stories I’ve had the pleasure to read in the last year period. It earned artist Jeff Stokely Harvey Award nomination for Best Artist and Most Promising New Talent, and the series itself got nominated for Best New Series against titles like Sex Criminals. All that to say I’m not the only person out there who thinks this series is deserving of some attention.
So what is it about exactly? In Spurrier’s own words Six Gun Gorilla is, “That weird, metafictional, supremely personal, absurdly titled little book about a heartbroken librarian and an ape with a gun.” It is that an so much more. Most of all, it’s worth “beating the average” on humble bundle to own.
Closer to reality, the second tier offers Alyssa Milano’s debut comic Hacktivist. The comic basically explores an interesting “what-if” scenario. What if the owners of Twitter, Facebook, or Google were also the leaders of a do-gooder hacking organization? In Hactivist, Ed Hiccox and Nate Graft are those young, brilliant men who attempt to use their social network company to expose information and spark revolutions across the globe. I put the title down after the first issue because of too many “white-savior” overtones, but the series is still an interesting though-experiment for those who ponder such things.
With it’s recent acquisition of Archaia, Boom! Studios is able to offer the beloved Mouse Guard: The Black Axe as part of this bundle. The Eisner Award Winning Mouse Guard series is written and illustrated by David Petersen. They combine Petersen’s love of animals and medieval roleplaying games. Think Redwall in illustrated form – but better.
There aren’t often many superhero comics available from Boom! which makes Translucid a rare treat that takes a hard look at the hero/villain dynamic. The Horse and the Navigator have been enemies for years, but when The Navigator starts taking some less-than-moral actions, his arch-nemesis The Horse simply won’t stand for it. What follows is a series open to exploring dichotomies, examining motivations, and really exploring the thin-line between heroes and villains.
The Woods takes us outside our known planet and into space when 513 humans are randomly transported light-years away into a giant primordial wood. If nothing else, Lord of the Rings should have taught you how scary forests can be, and that goes double for space forests. The students and teachers must attempt to find some answers and meaning to their situation, all while defending themselves from each other and deadly aliens.
I know less about the Planet of the Apes comics than I do about Robocop. However, from a sheer value perspective, you’re getting four entire volumes of the stuff for next to nothing. So, there’s that.
Tier 3: Crème de la crème
With two comics based on animated television shows, and two comics helmed by adolescent ladies, the third tier of the Humble Boom! Bundle has less broad appeal than the prior two. That said, it contains my favorite title out of the entire bundle: Lumberjanes.
Lumberjanes is written by Noelle Stevenson (of Nimona fame), Grace Ellis and illustrated by Brooke Allen – basically the “adult” versions of Lumberjanes. The Lumberjanes themselves are girls at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for “Hardcore Lady Types”, solving mysteries and getting into trouble.
Monsters never get in the way of the Lumberjanes having fun, and they even get to earn some ridiculous badges while doing so. Some badges include:
- Naval Gauging Badge – Awarded for proficiency in canoeing…and of course, for successfully navigating monster-infested waters
- Pungeon Master Badge – Awarded for being exceptionally pun-ny
- Up All Night Badge – Awarded for staying awake all night and up out of your bed after lights out
If you think you’re too old for this much fun, then you need Lumberjanes more than you realize. Bravest Warriors, Bee and Puppycat, and The Midas Flesh will also help. However I do recognize that not everyone loves fun. The third tier of the bundle contains the highest amounts of fun, and you wouldn’t want to overdo it.