You may recall my delight at visiting this year’s Super London Comic Convention, and my declaring this the year of the comic! Every year something different takes my focus of attention. Two years ago it was blu-rays, last year it was grownup Lego, and this year I have become obsessed again with comics - strictly speaking Graphic Novels or Serialised Art. I have found a new level of admiration for the level of detail and process that goes into creating a typical comic book. In particular the skill of the colourist. A typical comic requires input from the following creative roles:
- Author / Creator / Narrator
- Illustrator / Line Artist / Penciller
- Layout Artist
On occasion, a comic may be produced by just one or two individuals, but usually there are more involved, and for some collaborations up to a dozen. Most don’t realise how much impact the colourist can have on the final version of the art - I encourage you to look up the work of Peter Steigerwald, Ula Mos and Nei Ruffino. A great example of Ula’s work can be found in the Dark Shaman illustration below, line art by Mike Krome:
Favourite Comic Publishers
Here follows a list of my favourite imprints, I have excluded behemoths DC and Marvel, although DC is represented via its more independent imprints Vertigo and Wildstorm - in truth I buy very little from the mainstream publishers ...
- Aspen - Fathom, Soulfire, Executive Assistant ...
- Avatar - Crossed, God is Dead, Uber ...
- Big Dog Ink - Legend of Oz, Shahrazad, Penny for your Soul ...
- Boom! - Irredeemable / Incorruptible, Mouse Guard, Sons of Anarchy ...
- CrossGen - Sojourn, Scion, Meridian ... (long since defunct)
- Dark Horse - Lone Wolf & Son, The Massive, Witchfinder...
- Dynamite - Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist, The Boys, Warlord of Mars ...
- Humanoids - The Incal, Metabarons, Technopriests ...
- IDW - 30 Days of Night, Deadworld, Locke & Key ...
- Image - Chew, Saga, Wayward ...
- Top Cow - Witchblade, The Darkness, Aphrodite IX ...
- Vertigo - 100 Bullets, DMZ, Y The Last Man ...
- Wildstorm - Ex Machina, Planetary, Stormwatch ... (now defunct)
- Zenescope - Grimm Fairy Tales, Wonderland, Oz ...
Favourite Ongoing Series TPBs
The below list really shows how dominant Image has become, as it occupies most of the spaces in the following 50 strong list. Note that Grimm Fairy Tales includes a myriad of different yet crossed-over titles, of which I’ve listed the most popular - Wonderland separately. I have asterisked my 12 best loved series if you only have time for those!:
- Alex + Ada - 2 volumes | Image
- Aphrodite IX - 4th volume July | Top Cow / Image *
- Birthright - 1 volume | Image
- Bitch Planet - 1st volume July | Image
- Black Science - 3rd volume September | Image
- Chew - 9 volumes | Image *
- Coffin Hill - 3rd Volume October | Vertigo
- Copperhead - 1 volume | Image
- Deadly Class - 2 volumes | Image
- Death Vigil - 1st volume July | Image
- Descender - 1st volume August | Image
- East of West - 4th volume June | Image *
- Fairest - 5th volume August | Vertigo
- Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist - 2 volumes | Dynamite
- God is Dead - 5th volume May | Avatar
- Grimm Fairy Tales - 50+ volumes | Zenescope
- Hinterkind - 3rd volume August | Vertigo
- The Humans - 1 volume | Image
- Lady Mechanika - 1st volume due | Aspen / Benitez
- Lazarus - 3 volumes | Image *
- Legend of Oz - 4 volumes | BDI / Aspen
- Low - 1 volume | Image
- Manifest Destiny - 3rd volume September | Image
- Nailbiter - 2 volumes | Image
- ODY-C - 1st volume June | Image
- Outcast - 1 volume | Image
- Prophet - 4 volumes | Image
- Rat Queens - 2nd volume May | Image *
- Ravine - 2 Volumes | Top Cow / Image *
- Revival - 5th volume May | Image
- Roche Limit - 1 volume | Image
- Saga - 5th volume October | Image *
- Shahrazad - 1 volume | BDI / Aspen *
- Sex - 3 volumes | Image
- Sex Criminals - 2 Volumes | Image *
- Shutter - 2nd Volume July | Image
- Southern Bastards - 2nd volume May | Image
- Sunstone - 2nd volume May | Top Cow / Image *
- Tales of Honor - 1 volume | Top Cow / Image
- The Tithe - 1st volume July | Image
- Trees - 1 volume | Image
- Uber - 3 volumes | Avatar
- Velvet - 2nd volume June | Image
- Wayward - 1 volume | Image *
- The Wicked + The Divine - 2nd Volume July | Image *
- Witchblade - 20+ volumes | Top Cow / Image
- Witchfinder - 3 volumes | Dark Horse
- Wonderland - 20 volumes | Zenescope
- Wytches - 1st volume July | Image
- Zero - 4th volume August | Image
Where to get Comics in London
I’m very fortunate to live in central London, as there are 3 excellent stores right in the centre. I tend to start at Holborn tube, and walk down High Holborn towards Shaftesbury Avenue, first taking in Forbidden Planet, then traversing down to Orbital Comics on Great Newport Street and finally crossing over to Gosh! on Berwick Street.
I occasionally venture up to Mega City in Camden:
And if in Croydon would make sure I checked out their A Place in Space and Forbidden Planet:
Finally, if hunting down older unusual issues, you may occasionally strike gold at Book & Comic Exchange at Notting Hill:
If you don’t live in and around London, you can use this: Lookup
Full details on Comic Book Day can be found on the: Free Comic Book Day website