‘Indies’ We Love to Hate: Issue 1

It’s been a strange few weeks in Diesel City, as I’m experiencing some career woes and struggling to find my niche. Surely most people fall into these slumps, and find their way out, but when I’m down and out, I go back to the never-ending catharsis that is comic books.

Sure I could ready one of the many Spider-Man storylines that I’ve read countless times. Hell, I could even go back to the Jim Lee X-Men series if I’m in the mood for big muscles, but instead I think I’ll venture into the purest of the comic form; the independent comic. The little guy.

With comic speculation solely riding on big and small screen options, as well as longevity of the series, I figured I’d give a few “indies” a read. Ya see, I have three long boxes of strictly #1 independent comic books. Senseless speculation if you will. For the time being, I still widely consider Image to be an independent publisher, because 95% of their series lack longevity or any real standard. Sans a few there are no legitimate legacy characters. Surely people will throw Rick Grimes in now but from wave 1, you’ve got Spawn and Savage Dragon still ongoing, and we should all probably be happy that the others didn’t make it, but I digress.

So I reached my hand into one of the three boxes and pulled three books at random and gave them a read. Here’s what I walked away with.

 

Samurai Squirrel –Master of the Sword- #1

$1.75 cover price

Publisher by Spotlight Comics in 1986

 

Synopsis- Well I’m already starting to regret this article because that was absolutely ghastly. The artwork aside from a couple of shots of the main protagonist, Nato, holding a sword was just awful, and the story even worse. Nato (presumably the Samurai Squirrel) and his brother Malik are ambushed by what appears to be two rats. They quickly defeat these foes and carry on with a journey that this reader knows very little about. The attacking rats, go back to their lair, which is an awful parody of Castle Greyskull, only to meet the emperor rat, who of course is a wizard.

Emperor rat, not being very happy that the minions lost a sacred medallion to the squirrels, burns them both alive. Cut back to the squirrels, they have an argument that Malik is holding Nato back in their quest, so Nato storms off for a while. In that short period of time, two ninja-rats come and either kill or take Malik.

Nato, finding a blood trail that smells of Malik must now go on a quest to find his brothers captures. What he finds is tiny birds crying. The birds names are Reakeka and Quika and they’re upset that their baby bird was stolen the Great Spider, Silverback. Nato tells the birds that he will find their baby, if they will transport him to the City of Sorrow. They agree, which absolutely baffles me, as these birds are about the size of Natos hands.

Nato then searches for the spiders lair, which is under a large rock. He slays some goon spiders, until he inevitably falls down a hole where there are many creatures wrapped in spider webs. This is the end of issue #1, which teases issue #2 “Along came a spider!”, a book I certainly won’t be reading.

The last 11 pages of the book seem to be a parody of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles appropriately called “The Nuclear Martial Arts Spawned Frogs”. Surely, you’re all well aware that I didn’t read that.

I give this 0.5 out 6 beers. One of the worst stories that I’ve read in quite some time, although, if I continue this article, I’m sure that number will pile up. Absolutely no shot of this comic book ever being adapted. What this does tell me is that if you’re a comic book writer out there…there is hope.

 

Dragon Quest #1

$1.50 Cover Price

Published by Silverwolf in December of 1986

 

Synopsis- Pleasantly surprised, I really quite enjoyed that. For one I love dragons, and the cover art is a nicely drawn dragon. It’s a really fun fantasy read. The art is sometimes tough to decipher because of the black and white, but there are several really great panels. There are quite a few sexual undertones and innuendos as well as bloody and gore but they add flavor to it.

It begins with Wizard Pangs daughter being kidnapped by The Lord of Darkness (the dragon). Kronos (the damsels love interest) and his team are fighting their way to save the girl. Before they get there, the dragon straight up eats her. Yep, eats her.

Kronos and his team continue fighting to get to the dragon, but his two partners are killed in battle as well. The dragon goes to a human/dragon form to go one-on-one with Kronos, and they battle a pretty stellar fight. It’s a back and forth go, before Kronos begins getting the edge.

The dragon realizes he is being defeated, so one of his lackeys, a sorceress, who seems to want to be intimate with Kronos, wills the dragon her power. The dragon then tells Kronos he will put him somewhere that he can never interfere with the dragon again. The next page, the dragon teleports Kronos into the future, and the future just so happens to be the jungle of Vietnam circa 1970.

The back cover of the book lets us know that Dungeoneers #2 is coming out, and also that Night Master #1 will drop in February.

I give this 3 out of the 6 pack. I don’t see any possibility of an adaptation that would be “cool” or “hip” for today, but this was so ‘80s. I’m actually going to look for #2.

 

Dark Minds #1

$2.50 Cover Price

Published by Image Comics in July of 1998

 

Synopsis- Hmm…Interesting and sexy futuristic-noir. A little hard to follow at times, but pretty cool first issue. With the exception of the name of the city, Macropolis…cringe factor high. The first page is a great page, with a cool narration-“The year is 2032. Welcome to Macropolis. 7 million people packed into a city 5 miles high. A city that never sleeps. But tonight, at least one person won’t be waking up tomorrow…”

The story begins with a mysterious murder, that is later pinned to a serial killer they dub “Paradox Killer”. Agent Nagawa gets partnered up with a female cyborg named Nakiko. They’re objective is to track down this murderer. Nakiko has a knockout body, and the story ends with her in lingerie with someone knocking on the door. As she approaches the door, she looks through the keyhole only to see a gun pointed at her. She draws her gun, some shots are fired, and a big explosion. To be continued.

3 out of 6 beers. I’ll read issue #2 if just to see more of Nakiko. A fun read with neo-artwork.

 

Independent character to keep an eye on:

Mr. Majestic! First appearing in WildC.A.T.S #11 with his first full appearance in WildC.A.T.S #12. He’s absolutely one of the Supermen of comic books and has also appeared within DC continuity. His books are super cheap, so why not give him a look? Dollars bins galore!

 

 

First full appearance

 

First cameo appearance

 

Variant cover to issue #11

 

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