Indie Comic Preview – Candles

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

“Hopefully next time we can grab a meal and go unnoticed for once” – Idris

This week I’d like to highlight an exciting new comic due to come out later this month. Candles is a self-contained fantasy graphic novel both written and drawn by Lyndon White. For any of you who picked up a copy of the Little Heroes Comics Anthology #2 you’ll immediately recognise Lyndon’s unique colourful style where each panel is it’s own miniature work of art.

Lyndon’s previous work has covered a full spectrum of genres, available at www.lyndonwhite.com. Lyndon’s art is well suited to both the fantastical such as Candles, horror which he’s worked on extensively before, and bringing out an emotional intensity as seem on Little Heroes. Candles itself promises a fun fantastical adventure, with a simple premise of an overly enthusiastic child learning magic in a sceptical and fearful society which promises characters and their personalities to shine and drive the story.

Generation after generation people are taught one thing, never use magic. The evil Witch has cast a plague known as Dark-bark over the land and one by one, infected villagers are lured into the enchanted forest never to be seen again. As a last resort to save her family, Grace embarks on a quest to steal the Witch’s magic and use it to save her dying village.

Meanwhile, Idris, a flamboyant sorcerer and his talented apprentice Ava, are outcasted from their town and begin to track the source of the Dark-bark. Wolves howl at the night sky and candles begin to glow. The Witch must be stopped at all costs, however, everything is not as it seems. Candles is a full colour fantasy graphic novel, written and illustrated by Lyndon White.

The book is being crowdfunded through Unbound, launching during the Lakes Comic Art Festival and aiming to launch the campaign by the 11th October 2018.

Lyndon has recently finished work on the fantasy, horror mini-series Mandy the Monster Hunter: Legend of the Spindly Man with Hellbound Media, after launching a highly successful Kickstarter in March 2018, for his Call of Cthulhu concertina book.

Candles will be his third graphic novel after Sparks and the Fallen Star, 2016 and The Mind of James Svengal, 2018 (written by Jordan Sam Adams), both of which were published by Blue Fox Comics.

 

Got an indie comic for us to review? Email us at lostlighthouseindie@gmail.com

Indie Comic Review – Little Heroes Comics Charity Anthology #2

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

Following my last review of the Little Heroes Charity Anthology Volume 1, I’ve been fortunate enough to be offered a review copy of Volume 2, which is currently on Kickstarter (link here)

Full disclosure, I’ll be backing this on Kickstarter myself!

To provide a brief reminder of what the Little Heroes Comics Charity is for, the publisher is raising funds by selling these issues. Little Heroes was started by Aaron Rackley to distribute comic-making kits to children following his own experience of cancer.

The second anthology is entitled ‘Family’ and was written by talented comic book creators who provided a wonderful range of stories that make up the anthology. This anthology was bought to us by:

  • Galland and Amos – Creator – Rob Barnes
  • Escape from Casa Kaiju – Writer – Forrest C. Helvie, Artist – Joseba Morales, Letterer – Adam Wollet
  • Supermom & Catdad – Story – Rob Andersin, Artist – Rahil Mohsin
  • Vampire Squid Boy – Story – Dwight and Rebecca Macpherson!, Artist – Matt Sandbrook, Logo and Letterer – Simon Robins
  • The Mountain Wolf – Creator – Tom Roberts
  • Hot Lava Monster – Writer and Letterer – Eddy Hedington, Artist – Fares Zoghlami
  • Mandy the Monster Hunter in The Crocodile in the Carpet – Story – Mark Adams and Matt Warner, Script – Matt Warner, Artist – Lyndon White, Letterer – Nikki Foxrobot
  • Tooth and Claw – Creator – Claire Spiller
  • The Cov Kids – Creator – Nick Shingler
  • Oh God – Writter – Stu Perrins, Artist – Tom Curry
  • Family Fun – Creator – Kev Brett
  • The Vital Ingredient: A Late Knights Story – Artist Matt Stross, Story – Jon Laight, Letterer – Ken Reynolds
  • The Tale of the Chemonster – Story – Samuel London, Artist – Sarah Milman
  • How to Think When You Draw – Creator – Lorenzo Etherington

As before the comics are a lot of fun. They are aimed at the children who may well be reading them from a hospital bed or while recovering from one treatment or another. They aim to inspire a feeling of togetherness and family. The stories are told usually from the perspective of a child or a parent in a variety of family situations. This includes families with the one parent or more strained relationships as well as the usual two parent set up. There are stories of adventure on grand scales, imaginary games, more simple challenges and it does get a little heavy in places (a very good thing!)

The art varies with each comic, providing a unique style to tell each story. This ranges from more cartoonish to heavily detailed. For me, the art of Lyndon White for ‘Mandy the Monster Hunter’ and Claire Spiller with ‘Tooth and Claw’ really stood out. Each of the artists though brought their stories to life and the work throughout is excellent.

Due to the huge number of artists I’ll have to forego my usual ‘can the artist draw hands’ question otherwise I’ll be writing this all night! Needless to say though, across the board they definitely can.

Final Verdict

These comics are important, they provide an opportunity for children going through challenging times some much needed escapism through fun, heart-warming stories. I strongly encourage you to back this on Kickstarter or at least pick up a copy once it’s released.

Back it on Kickstarter here!

Score: 14 out of 10, keep up the incredible work!

 

Got an indie comic for us to review? Email us at lostlighthouseindie@gmail.com

Indie Comic Review – Little Heroes Comics Charity Anthology #1

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

I wanted to do something a little different this week. While I’m still reviewing a comic this is something a bit more special as the publisher is also raising funds for a charity by selling these. To give a brief overview of what they do, Little Heroes was started by Aaron Rackley to distribute comic-making kits to children following his own experience of cancer.

The first anthology is entitled ‘Strength’ and was written by talented comic book creators who provided a wonderful range of stories that make up the anthology. This anthology was bought to us by:

  • Totally Beast – Creator (and cover art for the anthology) – Ross Burt
  • The Bike Force – Writer – Tony Esmond, Artist – Susie Gander, Letterer – Dan Butcher
  • Ell and the Vile Alien – Creator – Kev Brett
  • Rule of Three – Writer – Vincentius Talbot, Artist – Stefan Nymzo
  • Strong / Invincible – Creator – T. Leal
  • New Fish in Town – Creator – Tom Curry
  • Strength – Creator – Simon Russell
  • The Flying Halfpennies – Creator – Nick Prolix
  • The Hero Within – Creators – Mo Ali and Andy Bloor

While the comics are primarily aimed at kids they are a lot of fun. They cover a range of genres, from action adventure to super heroes, sports to animals. The theme of strength is picked up through many different lenses, and there are homages to the superhero genre, with the creators showing a clear passion for the form of media their stories are presented in. I really enjoyed the accessibility offered by the stories where there is a portrayal of strength for everyone. Strength is far from limited to being a purely physical or triumphant act as well. Strength is shown to be facing your fears, overcoming huge obstacles or when need be punching an invading alien in the face (physical strength is still an important type of strength!).

Naturally there is a different art style for each of the individual comics and each of the artists is unique. Each of these matches the tone of the comic from over-exaggerated loony toons to accentuate the action and comedy, to simple black and white line drawings to add an edge of realism. What is more impressive is the number of small teams and solo efforts for each of the mini comics. There aren’t full teams working on these but usually one or two or at most three people taking on the whole task.

Due to the huge number of artists I’ll have to forego my usual ‘can the artist draw hands’ question otherwise I’ll be writing this all night! Needless to say though, across the board they definitely can.

Final Verdict

As I said, this is something special and can offer kids going through an incredibly hard time a creative outlet that anyone would crave. I would really recommend checking Little Heroes out. You can buy:

  • Physical issues on their website at: http://littleheroescomics.co.uk/
  • Or in person at the True Believer’s Comic Festival in Cheltenham this weekend! (3rd – 4th February)
  • Digital issues on the Comichaus app at: Google Play or iPhone App Store

Score: 14 out of 10, would read again and again.

Indie Comic Book Review – The Ether #1

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“I don’t want you getting hurt” Rubi

Time for another Indie review. This week I picked up The Ether, a new comic released recently putting a spin on a classic vigilante tale. The comic was brought to us by:

  • Writer – Matt Garvey
  • Artist – Dizevez

Although this comic has a high quality front cover, what really caught my attention to begin with was the variant cover on the second page. It’s a playful send up and tribute to classic comic book art styles. The other key feature is the Question/Rorschach style mask, covered by a map in place of a weird pattern of blank expression. Part of me may have thought of EastEnders when I first saw this, but it does show the masked vigilantes used for inspiration for The Ether. As with many vigilante stories this issue deals with heavy themes at times within the issue.

As for the plot, we’re introduced to a familiar tale – a badass vigilante who doesn’t play by the rules but gets results, a secret identity and a tenuous relationship with the cops. Don’t let this familiarity put you off. The format provides a foundation for an unexpectedly deep level of characterisation, with character interactions being the priority during the early parts of the comic. As the story develops unique twists are introduced which bring the story to life, providing a unique spin of the familiar tale. It also plays to the strength of the medium, with the visual nature of the comic communicating the twist without the features of say a television to potentially give the game away beforehand.

I was very impressed with the art in this issue. Dizevez’s Ether carries a level of definition which the other characters lack. The eye is always drawn to the mask and the intricate detail of is a stark contrast to many of the other characters whose features are often less set. There’s a particularly powerful scene where we see the Ether’s true self shine through where Dizevez’s clearly defined art creates a powerful and lonely moment in the issue.

But I have to ask, can Dizevez draw hands? As I’ve already said the art is of a very high standard in this issue. Hands are drawn in a wide variety of situations, positions, actions and communicate powerful emotions when need be throughout conversations. 9.5/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

I was a little apprehensive when I first opened this issue, unsure if it was going to offer anything I hadn’t seen before. But it certainly did, using the familiar setting to pursue themes too often overlooked within the comic book industry.

You can pick up The Ether #1 digitally here!

 

Indie Comic Book Review – Grief

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“… and I’ll NEVER let you go.” Mya

It’s time for another indie review. This week its Grief by Frank Gogol. Grief is a collection of short issue comics, each of which deals with a degree of heavy content, from mental health to drug abuse and the challenges of parenthood. This series is bought to us by:

  • Writer – Frank Gogol
  • Artists:
    • Nenad Cviticanin,
    • Bethany Vani
    • Ryan Foust
    • Jey Soliva
    • Kim Holm
  • Colourists:
    • Esther Gil-Munilla
    • Luca Bulgheroni
    • Nenad Cviticanin
    • Bethany Vani
    • Emily Elmer
  • Letterer – Sean Rinehart
  • Cover Artist – Dani Martins
  • Editors:
    • Marc Sumerak
    • Andy Schmidt
    • Molly Lazer

As you can see, a lot of people worked on this comic, and I’ll be honest – when I opened it and saw it was 84 pages long my first instinct was to only read the first chapter or two and review them only. The next thing I knew I was hooked and finished the whole thing. The stories all follow a similar format – they’re a few pages long, and gradually build up with a character’s internal monologue towards a twist in the final panels. These range from heart-warming, to shocking and disturbing. Gogol demonstrates great versatility moving around a range of genres, from the fantastical to the very down to earth and very real, producing a wide range of emotions in a short number of pages.

It also helps that the first character monologue references the Greek Legend of Troy, and I love stuff like that.

The art changes to match the story being told. The different artists offer a wide range of styles which each complement story. Two that stood out were Bulgheroni producing a dark atmosphere with a pallet full of strong earthy colours to match the darker tones of The Debt, Cviticanin’s strong bright style adds impact to twists. Across the board the art is of a very high quality, getting the colouring right in indie comics makes all the difference, and the team has done so. Rinehart’s work on the lettering also should not be overlooked. The font, colouring and placing of speech bubbles is constantly great throughout the whole volume.

Also, there’s something I couldn’t help but notice throughout – Superheroes. They’re not in every story, but some of them involve superheroes and in some of them superhero toys are present. There’s always a running theme with them – hope. Even when they break, with enough love and enough work they’re repaired and can lead to better things. I’m not sure if this was a deliberate choice by Gogol, but intentional or not it’s a theme I couldn’t help but pick up on.

As with all comics though, I will ask, can the art team draw hands? You’ll probably already know I’m going to say yes. The art throughout this comic has been of a very impressive standard and there weren’t any pages where the way the hands were drawn either looked out of place considering the context or the art style. 9/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

I was very impressed with this comic. As I said, I went in planning to check out the first two stories and found myself finishing them all and wanting more. This is the sort of indie comic very much worth supporting, which you can do through their Kickstarter campaign here.

Indie Comic Review – The Inheretic

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those times.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“They held great store in the various scriptures they acquired, and wanted to know if it was true, if the meek do inherit the Earth” Zachary

Time for the final indie comic review from my haul at True Believers. This week I (finally) checked out The Inheretic, a sci-fi thriller by Stuart Jackson and Leon Reichel. This is a four part, self-contained comic, which I read in one sitting. Most of the comics I review are single issues, or long on-going series, so things may never truly be wrapped up. This story, however, very much does.

The Inheretic is a story about Zachary Rowan, seemingly a nobody who has his only possession, an old radio, stolen. He looks to get it back, tracking down who stole it, but things go wrong. Next thing we see he’s waking up late for work, and the only survivor, an undercover cop called Cooper wakes up in a hospital. At the crime scene there’s blood and gore everywhere. Cooper sets out to investigate. She ends up tracking Zachary down and the majority of the comic plays out in conversations between them.

As you may have guessed things are not what they seem. We are treated to the story of a chronicler, sent to our planet thousands of years ago to observe us and see what will happen to our species, will the meek inherit the Earth? Or will humanity screw up the entire planet and generally be assholes throughout our time on this planet?

The art is very impressive, and at times surprisingly gory. The characters look good, the colouring suits the scenes perfectly and in general the art feels very professional. Throughout the comic we’re shown seemingly random flashbacks to times in the past, where somebody seems to die or suffers throughout history. I really liked these, they add a real air of mystery to the plot.

There are a few twists in this tale, the final one in particular when everything comes together and seemingly odd character behaviour is explained was fantastic. It wasn’t one I saw coming, and the kind of thing I really enjoy.

Final Verdict

I wasn’t sure what to make of this comic at first. But I enjoyed it a lot, the gory scenes did feel a little out of place at first, but it fell into place as I read on. This was a very good comic. I’m glad I picked it up!

Final Score – 8.75 Old Radios out of 10!

Kit’s Top 5 Indie Comics of 2015

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be sharing our top 5s of 2015, from everyone who writes here at The Lost Lighthouse. Here is Kit’s Top 5 of Indie Comics of 2015 (Adam picked the featured image for no reason other than it amused him)

My turn to hop on the top 5 bandwagon! My articles in 2015 have mostly been either comics or short stories, to decide what to go back to I figured that actually I’ve read some amazing Indie Comics this year and it would be great to go back and give my favourites some more publicity. Also, it frees up the mainstream comics for Adam if he feels like procrastinating from his thesis some more! (if it had been me by the way it would be: Batman, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Saga, Wicked and Divine and Barracuda!)

Anyway, the top 5 Indie Comics I’ve read in 2015 are:

5 – Reapers – written by JoJo King, art by Adrian9, published by Insane Comics

Available here

Untitled

Reapers, the story of a young woman who dies, only to be recruited by ‘Victor’ aka the Grim Reaper to do his dirty work and collect souls of the dead and battle demons! What does she get in exchange? Sweet oblivion.

I like the art in this comic, a lot of detail is packed into each of the panels and the imagery in the early pages showing the afterlife is unique and captures the mood. The non-human characters appear full of personality and look very cool.

The concept for the story is interesting and a lot could be done with it. Violet’s death and subsequent exploration of the afterlife are really cool and give pivotal insight into her character.

The only thing that didn’t quite work for me in this comic was The Reaper, Victor, much as the Grim Reaper aspect works the way he spoke kinda bugged me, which is why this comic makes my top 5 but not higher.

 

4 – The Revival – written and drawn by Tom Kyzivat, published by Hound Comics

Available here

the_revival_pic

A post-apocalyptic wasteland after a global war and the survivors just scraping to get by? No, this isn’t Mad Max, but sign me up!

The world is ruled by the mysterious figure Patriarch. However, Patriarch has died, and the world has been a worse place for it. Those with magic battle those with technology and our heroes are doing their best to scrape by. And my favourite part? You pick up so much of it naturally, there isn’t the often made mistake of beating you over the head with exposition. Also, one of the characters is a bear.

The art is good, if not the highest quality on this list, however I do love the use of barcodes when the Cabbage Heads speak.

If you like Mad Max, Fallout, Firefly or anything at all like them then this is the perfect comic for you!

 

From here it’s on to my top 3, where picking the order gets really hard…

3 – Sineater – written by JoJo King and Chase Dunham

Award: Best Concept

Available here

Sineater

Right, Sineater is third. Am I sure about this? Umm… maybe, my top three are all fantastic comics and all very different to each other, I spent way too long trying to work out the order for them and even changed it twice writing this article. To make things a little easier I’ve decided to cheat and award them their own titles for what each of them are best at as well.

Sineater gets Best Concept. This is a really cool idea for a story, a young girl named Cassandra works as a Sineater, and she goes around and literally eats people’s sins. It’s a thankless job and she is hated for her strange powers. The whole idea is communicated brilliantly at the beginning in a conversation between a mother and daughter while Cassandra gets ready to do her job.

The art feels a little like a manga, which isn’t a bad thing and it helps Sineater feel unique.

Speaking of manga, if you like manga or anime like Soul Eater or D-Gray Man this would be a very good comic to pick up as it feels a lot like them in tone.

Some minor dialogue issues put it slightly lower than the next two comics for me, but that was being REALLY picky.

 

2 – Young, Talented… Exploited! – written by Yatuu, Translated by Fnic and published by Sloth Comics

Award: The Best Non-Traditional Comic

Available here

YTE2

This was perhaps the biggest surprise for me as a comic. It’s not a traditional comic book at all, the story isn’t fantastical, the characters are based on real people and it even has a choose-your-own-adventure element to it.

The story follows a young girl and her attempts to make a career for herself in the gaming industry and the challenges she faces. This really hit home to me as someone who, although in a very different industry, is trying to build a career for himself in our post-recession economy. It isn’t easy at all, and this comic sums it all up perfectly, the long hours, give it your all but only be left feeling unappreciated and completely disposable to businesses.

The art is minimalist and used to illustrate the words more than tell the story itself.

There’s the choose-your-own-adventure bit to it as well, which again hits the nail on the head for what it’s like trying to work these days whatever path you choose.

This really is something I wish employers, and students should read. Students to manage their expectations that things are not as easy as some people will lead you to believe and employers to give them a little perspective for their interns and graduates. I’ve put this as second as it isn’t a traditional comic as such, but it is really worth the read.

 

1 – Kings of the Wastelands – written, pencilled and inked by Delbert Hewitt Jr

Award: Best Artwork and Characters

Available here

kings

Here we are, my number 1 Indie comic I’ve read in 2015! There’s a lot of good stuff out there, but for me this one just edged it over the competition!

To start with this comic looks fantastic, very professional and the characters are full of colour and life. The characters are all animals and each has so much personality packed into them.

The story itself is very cool as well, it’s (another) post-apocalyptic wasteland, where Jacob is out for revenge against Hunter the Tiger and forms a loose band with Gib the driving Turtle and a Cat with a catapult. The plot itself is fairly simple, but that’s a good thing, it allows for fantastic character inter play, they all bounce off each other to create a fun, vibrant comic. The combat looks great and I love the touch of having the ‘Dragon’ be a Hippo.

This is a fun start to a promising series, if you want an action comic with fantastic fight scenes or if you like Mad Max, but kinda wished they were all talking animals then this is for you. The art is also fantastic and the author and colourists should feel proud of what they’ve made here.

This is why this comics (just) makes it to my number 1 spot.

 

Kit