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

Hey, all!  Another month means another treasure trove of independent storytellers’ goods loaded into a box and shipped to your door.  IndyStash’s second box has a lot going on, and we’ll get to the goodness in just a moment.  IndyStash wants to keep the goods coming to us and to everyone, so they’re going to be funding the Independent Creators Foundation, helping to promote and give a hand to artists and writers who need an extra boost to get their stuff in front of an audience.  Since this is much in line with what we at Fanboy Comics are doing with the #CrowdfundingFridays promotional series, we’re super excited to see something like this take off.  So, if you’re on the fence about joining the monthly goodies box, just think of all the creators that you’ll be helping along, which means more content for us to enjoy!  And, since we’re in the business of small creators getting their work out there, IndyStash is offering our readers a pretty sweet deal:  If you are signing up for the month-to-month service for the first time, use promo code “FANBOY” to get 50% off of your first box, which also includes an extra comic as a welcome gift.

And now, on to the comics!

8:15 Book 1 Parts 1-2: Written by Ryan Wise and Eric Orton / Art by Joe Badon and Michael Webber (Part 2)

Zombies will ruin anyone’s day, but what if you’re about to enjoy some illegal substances when the world goes “Brains?” That’s how 8:15 gets started, with a couple of guys just looking to get their relaxation on when the whole world seems to get the worst kind of munchies real bad.  There are all of the hallmarks of a great zombie tale here, with acts of heroism balanced by those of sheer stupidity and a willingness to do anything just to survive.  There are a lot of fun moments of tongue-in-cheek humor here, too, like when a character explains that modding a vehicle into a tank “doesn’t work like a video game” and detailing how much work it would be, and a few panels later they have weapons fashioned that would make any Left4Dead player happy.  Getting both parts of Book 1 allows us a great view into the world that they’ve created, and the second part broadens the world considerably, introducing intrigue and shady actors who raise many questions about the characters on the page.  I really enjoy the layout in Part 2; the book is set up very well and uses some great visual fast forwarding where the story overlaps things we’ve seen before that is really well done.

Outside the Lines Redux: Written and Illustrated by Joe Badon

I really enjoyed this book. It’s mostly Badon’s art, recreating scenes from great sci-fi and fantasy with his own personal touch.  There’s a page of one-panel puns that tickled me to no end, and every page is done with a very interesting attention to detail.  There’s not much that I can convey about it here, but suffice it to say that I’d need much more than a thousand words to describe these pictures.

Terra Kaiju: Art and Story: Joe Badon / Lettering and Editing: P.B. DeBerry

This Badon guy, he draws a lot.  The third of this month’s entries with his artistic touch is a phenomenal tale told in a very Eastern style.  A man wanting to protect his loved ones from giant monsters, or Kaiju, becomes a giant himself, but in a form that might seem unusual at first blush.  Filled with sacrifice, duty, and a moral grounding that might at first confound Western sensibilities, Terra Kaiju is a fun exercise in imagination and choosing to follow through on an idea.  Badon commits to his premise and because of that, it lends the work a sincerity that might surprise the casual observer. This book certainly exemplifies the freedom of the comic form and is proof that fantastical elements can lead to very human stories.

And my Pick of the Box:
Wicked Awesome Tales: The Paranormal Consultant: Written by Todd Jones / Art by Jeremy McHugh
            “Starcrosser:” Written by Todd Jones / Art by Bill Thompson
            “The Smuggler’s Lament:” Written by Ron Fortier / Art by Brian Level
            “Dad 2.0:” Written by Todd Jones / Art by Chad Blakely
            “Thunder Monkey:” Written and Illustrated by Lee Oaks

A collection in a collection, I have to grab hold of all my meta here.  I love this book, because it contains such rich, short-form storytelling.  Short stories can sometimes be unappreciated by many, because we equate length with quality (cough, cough), but brevity can be its own storytelling tool.  Take the first story, “The Paranormal Consultant:” even one more panel would shatter the clear, concise, and thoroughly enjoyable tale that was pitched just like a perfect anecdote and made me laugh out loud.   “Starcrosser” will beckon to anyone who’s a Bebop fan, as it’s a western in space with a familiar, yet engaging, hook.  “The Smuggeler’s Lament” is rich in detail and imagination, and “Thunder Monkey” carries action schlock in a very entertaining way.  “Dad 2.0,” from front to back, simply reminds me of some of the best Monty Python, where ridiculousness becomes sublime.  It’s a riot all the way through.

So far, I’ve already been introduced to three independent creators who I’m now following (stalking) and finding stories I would have not noticed before these two boxes.  The team at IndyStash is doing a great job at keeping the subjects wide and varied, and I’m eager to see who’ll I’ll be meeting next month.

Share the stories that move you.

Erik Cheski, Fanbase Press Contributor



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