Let’s venture into the wondrous world of Alterna Comics and see what kind of stories you can get yourself wrapped into on Free Comic Book Day (and beyond).
Amazing Age #1
Age Group: All-Ages
Creators: Matthew David Smith (writer), Jeremy Massie (artist), Christine Brunson (letterer)
You’ll Like This If You Like: Every Saturday Morning Cartoon from the '80s
Amazing Age is more than just a comic book. The illustrations and the dialogue are classic and it’s a reminder, at least to me, of when I would anxiously wake up on Saturday morning to catch all of my favorite cartoons.
Superhero costumes are meant to help identify who is who, with a letter of the character’s name woven into some of the fabric, while color combinations make them stand out, as well. Along with a storyline that’s easy to follow, Amazing Age astutely presents how a character deals with loss, making the assertion that grief can cause major changes in friendships and one’s path in life.
Broken relationships make you hope for reestablishing those bonds at a later time, while the idea of being pulled into the comic book you’re reading – literally – is something every kid hopes for.
Adam Wreck #1
Age Group: All-Ages
Creators: Michael S. Bracco (writer/artist)
You’ll Like This If You Like: Lost in Space (Television/Film)
This story is an intergalactic trip where renowned scientists (and parents) build a space ship and then attempt to travel farther than anyone else. They’ve also brought their teenage son, Adam, and he’s “thrilled” about it.
The story is from Adam’s perspective, and the illustrations are animated in a way that you can feel the teenage angst as he travels the stars with his parents. Although he’s bored with the silence or listening to the same conversation over and over again, Adam probably doesn’t expect excitement to come in the form of space pirates and a crash landing.
Needless to say, Adam Wreck is a sci-fi adventure that provides comical elements and cool technology to the family’s journey. Who wouldn’t want a space suit that can assess air quality and then display those results on the back of your hand? This story also stands out with its black-and-white artwork, highlighted with orange throughout, which really makes each panel pop. Combine all of that together and you are already on your way to finding Issue 2.
Lilith Dark #1
Age Group: All-Ages
Creators: Charles C. Dowd (writer/artist)
You’ll Like This If You Like: (A PG Version of) I Hate Fairyland
When you were a kid, did your imagination take over and bleed into the real world? Did you accidentally club your sibling over the head, because you were conquering a terrible “beastie?”
If that’s the case, clear the dining room table and get ready to relive those imaginary battles that ended with the meatloaf getting knocked onto the floor. Aside from Lilith’s imagination showing two beasties eating human limbs (Parents should take a look at that scene before letting the little ones glance at it.), the all-ages category is accurate for this comic. This is a story steeped in a child’s mind, where a toy dinosaur becomes a full-size Tyrannosaurus Rex and a bucket becomes a helmet.
What’s great about this story are the events that transpire shortly after a lightning strike. Lilith believes her eyes are playing tricks on her. Is she imagining things, because it’s already been established or is there something creepy lurking in the dark of night?
Mr. Crypt #1
Age Group: All-Ages
Creators: Troy Vevasis (writer), Aleksandar Jovic (artist)
You’ll Like This If You Like: Classic Disney Cartoons
This mini-series is a mixture of Goofy in skeletal form, having all the hijinks associated with the Disney character, while dealing with people’s reactions from seeing a walking, talking skeleton. Mr. Crypt suddenly comes through the earth at a cemetery and soon wanders into town ,hoping to find out what has happened to him.
As the story continues, the comedy returns with similar moments happening again and again. These wacky, reoccurring events – trying to find a disguise or a friend – gives readers a reason to stick around. Will he find a costume that will actually camouflage him from those that are afraid of him? Will someone stop and talk to him, regardless of whether or not he wears a mustache to hide his real persona?
Mr. Crypt is a three-issue series, and all three are available in a single volume.
Age Group: 12+
Creators: David Lucarelli (writer), Henry Ponciano (artist), HdE (letterer)
You’ll Like This If You Like: Agent Carter (Television)
Tinseltown #1 is a recently released series from Alterna, where Abigail Moore lands herself a spot as a police officer in 1915 Hollywood. Abigail’s desire to become an officer comes from her father’s experience in Los Angeles and Hollywood.
Landing a job as an officer at a movie studio meant dealing with the multiple factors that prevented Abigail from being seen as a respected official, instead objectifying her by dressing up, or down, to tailor to the men visiting the studio. Not only does this story represent the times, it also highlights the strength and resolve to follow through with your dreams.
Tinseltown is a great starter comic. It perfectly describes the main character, illustrating her backstory and identifying her current status as a studio officer. The artwork matches the story with clean lines balanced with shadows and cigarette smoke, which gives it an old-school detective, murder mystery feel.
Age Group: 15+
Creators: Justin M. Ryan (writer), Kristian Rossi (artist), D.C. Hopkins (letterer)
You’ll Like This If You Like: The Outer Limits (Television)
What would you do to protect your child? Trespasser is a dystopian vision where a father and daughter live out in the wilderness, hoping to survive. Their survival depends on the father’s ability to find food and make sure they are safe.
The mystery surrounding their isolation comes to a surprising discovery in the forest while on a hunt. The creators of this story in Issue #1 have generated a comic book that reads like an episode of The Outer Limits, with a satisfying conclusion, but the hopes of seeing more of this story in the future.
Trespasser is a four-part series, and you can also find them collected in a single edition.
Zero Jumper #1
Age Group: 12+
Creators: Patrick Mulholland (writer/artist)
You’ll Like This If You Like: East of West mixed with time travel
Science fiction blasts off with time jumps and a plan to save the world from extinction. Juno lands onto the page with a bang (literally), and readers see the technology in play alongside her. A small, round, flying artificial intelligence unit is more than a device to use; it is also a companion.
Zero Jumper is an intriguing story with a fallible character. You know Juno isn’t perfect, because she has to jump back in time to correct an earlier attempt to find something or communicate with someone. This definitely lets the reader know that the stakes are high, because the old adage with time travel has always been “Don’t mess with the past, because you could change the future.” It is apparent that time plays a pivotal role in this story, and watching Juno and her AI search for answers encourages readers to find out what will happen next – and what happened to humanity in the first place.
Thanks go out to Peter Simeti and Alterna Comics for taking time to share some of their works with Fanbase Press and being a part of our FCBD coverage. If you want to see what else is available from Alterna Comics, you can head over to their website or check out what they have over at ComiXology.