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Indy Stash: February 2016 ‘Big Stash’ Comic Book Box Review

What a Comic Show.

Okay, that intro doesn’t scan as well as Cartoon Network’s What a Cartoon Show that launched franchises like Dexter’s Lab, Cow and Chicken, Johnny Bravo, Powerpuff Girls, Billy and Mandy, and a host of other much-beloved shows that went on serious runs because of the shot they had to shine.  This new subscription box is much the same in the terms of being a showcase for new creators to get their goods in front of audiences looking for unique stories that may not get greenlit by the Big Two, or even have a chance to hit up one of the large independent houses like Image or IDW.  IndyStash is a great way for people to get a glimpse of the newest talent hitting the industry, as well as stories and characters that they may never otherwise encounter.  I love the idea of this box, and the reality shows that it’s a great idea.  First off, the box itself is no frills but protects the comics well with no bent or folded corners.  Everything is cinched up in a paper bag like you just hit up a shop, which I think is a nice presentation.  As for the comics inside, I’ll break down each one that was offered in the large box.


Tabby: Written By Stephen Kok / Artwork by P.R. Daniels and Eric Gravel

A tale of two star-crossed kitties, Kok retells Romeo and Juliet with cats.  This graphic novel also seems to carry undertones of an immigrant family trying to establish themselves in a new home after their food source dries up (the local fish market closes), which for me adds more intrigue to the oft-told tale and brings a fresh perspective that really makes it sing.  The artwork is full of nuance and great character design, and every panel conveys the story very well.  This is a great book for all ages and one that I will enjoysharing with my son.

Quantum Flux: Written by Eric Orton, Enrique Castaneda, DiAnthony Brown, and Kyler Stanford /  Artwork by Michael Yakutis

Four people imbued with the power of an enemy to the whole world stand against him in this action-packed comic.  It’s not a new story by any means – a team of powered folks saving the world – but it’s done in a great way with some interesting additions.  Orton adds a good style to the plot of this story, and I’ll admit that ever since the Dresden Files made Santa a character to play, any work that does it has my attention instantly.  That probably speaks more about me than the book, but it’s a phenomenal sequence that’s only the beginning of this book.  There’s a lot of great characters to be had here, with every main having some interesting features (and perhaps flaws) that promise some very interesting encounters down the road.  The artwork helps with a lot of info packed onto every page, making the world and characters stand out.  There’s a real good hook here that can serve a series well.

Those Shadow People: Written by Phil Buck / Illustrated by Erik Turner

Another great, new take on an old idea, Those Shadow People features a girl dealing with the realities of her brilliant father’s research becoming the focus of an inter-dimensional incident.  Buck manages to keep the action pitched high and creates a very believable world to house it.  There are no tongue-in-cheek moments. The illustration keeps and helps the tone of the script, pushing the pace along and helping to deliver a fast and fun read.  The styling of the artwork is interesting and a little messy without losing the cohesion of anything in the world, which is a lovely balance to strike.  Included in the issue is a download code for several tracks that are part of the storytelling.  The music is a light R&B feel that helps to set the tone and style of the work as a whole.  It certainly adds another layer to the whole atmosphere and makes the book come alive in an interesting way.  The music allows the still images to come alive, and in my mind I can see it more like an animated work than a frozen one.  It lends the whole experience a cyberpunk feel that gives the whole storytelling arc a lift.

Ghosts of Starfall: Written by Adam Bojoh / Art by Benjamin Mikkelsen

Living somewhere between Cowboy Bebop and Guardians of the Galaxy, Ghosts of Starfall centers on a luckless band of spacefarers trying to get into space and make a living.  There’s a lot that’s not explained in this issue, but there are a lot of puzzle pieces available for people who enjoy filling in a story from the edges.  With a rugged tone and crisp character design, the artwork helps give the sense of tension that exists in the day-to-day struggle that the characters find themselves in, and the final pages give voice to a mystery that will likely become the hook of the series.  I’m definitely intrigued enough to look for the next issue.

Finally, my pick of the box:

Stuffed: Written by Benjamin Mikkelsen / Art by Benjamin Mikkelsen

I love this book.  Reminiscent of Jhonen Vasquez’s JTHM and Neil Gaiman’s short stories, Stuffed follows a young boy who is plagued by visions of monsters.  Dealing with a volatile home situation and school bullies, Samuel Varder has no real solace in his life when he happens upon a stuffed bear that seems to change everything.  This book freaking sings to me; this seems like the core of why I love comics so much.  A kid who has an entire world set against him finds power in a common item, where fancy takes flight and allows him to find a strength within himself.  There’s an incredible amount of promise in this title, and I really can’t wait for the second issue.  This is the kind of story I want to read and is hard to come by in the mainstream.  I love this idea and have begun following this creative team.  This fulfills the promise of the IndyStash to me, connecting creators to the people who find something in their work that speaks to them.

For the first box, there was a lot of good stuff going on, and I’ve found a creative team that I am very interested in from halfway across the country that I may have never been able to connect to.  Not every book in here hits me the same way, but others will find different things more enticing.  That’s what I can see as the beauty of this system, and I very much look forward to next month’s box.  If you dig the idea, head on over to IndyStash and join up with one of their two plans.

Share the stories that move you.

Erik Cheski, Fanbase Press Contributor



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