GOD PUNCHER

Lane Lloyd is a creator you need to be getting hip too, full stop. Early on in my comic book twitterdom I was fortunate to have come across Lane as God Puncher was getting ready to debut. Now, with three issues out, this fantastical explosion of imagination is a book that deserves your diving head first into. This self-published comic is as raw as they come in the best possible way. Lane’s unbridled joy for the medium shines through in the work he produces. Self described as “if Dr. Seuss dropped acid before drawing,” the train of thought is pretty spot on for describing Lane’s art. It is unconventional, cartoony, mesmerizing, off-kilter, and an absolute breath of fresh air to take in. Chances are you’ve not come across anything that’s very close to what you’ll see in the pages of God Puncher. A truly unique approach to comics and storytelling sit within the ballad of Tim Finnly.

One of the best parts of this story is the simplicity through which a very broad and complex world is filtered. Lane has taken a very basic and primal thought (who we are in life and what our placement in it is) and thrust it directly into the confrontation that man, as a species, begs for. The very title, GOD PUNCHER, elicits this confrontation and the action we’d likely take were we to meet our creator(s). Despite being prideful and having an indescribable urge to understand our belief systems are predicated on that which we can’t and weren’t meant to understand. In God Puncher we get a point blank exploration of the gifts (in this case Tim Finnly’s ability to fight) that the Gods have bestowed to mortals. Within that gift we see the hubris of both man and God. Finnly has become a legend and grown to have a God-like status himself. One of the Gods seeks to erase the false claims and put ‘man’ right back where he belongs. As both entities suffer the consequences of their actions the story of Tim Finnly truly sets off on a wild and fantastical journey.

The confrontation of Man VS God is but the start of this tale. Focused and with new purpose Finnly charts a course for redemption. The chase, showdown, and comeuppance of both Finnly and the God is an entire saga in of itself. The fact that it is just the opening salvo to the God Puncher story speaks volumes to the ground work Lane has put down and the ambition with which he is creating this story. Issue two gives us a rather grand introduction and we get a glimpse at just how big of an area Tim (and we) are playing in. There are other deities and powerful beings that would have their wills imparted. The tale is grand but Lane is more than up to the task of telling it. The rampant imagination explodes from every page. While slapstick in approach there is a sharp edge to things that keeps the humor in check. Truly unique in its presentation, you cannot help but be drawn to Lane’s art. With this series we actually get to see just how much and how quickly that Lane has grown and improved in just four issues (a zero issue and #1-3) of work. Seeing how he’s played with color usage and the advantages that his zany style provides is an added treat to the books themselves. You can still jump into God Puncher with ease. The story moves quick and the pages flow. You’ll find yourelf going back and forth to fully take in the art. In going back you’ll find an added layer to the book. I did when I re-read after getting issue three. The big scale world and big time issue that Lane tackles with God Puncher is perfectly juxtaposed by his art. One of the many (and most successful) ways people deal with overbearing situations is humor. Seeing the God figures with a slapstick edge to their look helps endear Tim and his endeavor to the readers. It allows for the connections to be made and the heartstrings to be tied.

Go support Lane and grab yourself the God Puncher series at: https://gumroad.com/lanedoescomics

After you’ve caught up be sure to nab issue #4 NCBD NOV 27!

Mafiosa #1

The cover of Mafiosa issue #1.

Mafiosa #1 

Story by Sunshine Barbito

Art by Débora Caritá

Colors by Mariacristina Federico 

Letters by Clem Robins 

Original story by Thomas Brooke 

Editor Scott Allie 

Designer Rick DeLucco

Production Kathryn Renta 

Published by Rainworks LLC

Mafiosa #1 is a refreshing take on a classic organized crime story because it follows a female lead and does it so well; without falling into overused and annoying tropes. 

The first panel of the story is the ultimate “power move”; Nicoletta, the main character, is shown standing over a man’s dead body reflecting on all of the times in her life she’s been told to “smile more.” This sets the tone for the story. Nicoletta will not be taking anyone’s shit now, or ever; she’s going to get what she wants and she’s going to do it her way. She’s not going to give up her interests or femininity  she won’t adapt to your worldyou’ll adapt to hers.

It would’ve been easy for this story to fall into the very tired narrative of “I’m not like other girls” (this is still happening in 2019 and it’s exhausting!), with Nicoletta rejecting values traditionally thought of as feminine in order to take her place in the world of organized crime. Instead a flashback shows Nicoletta practicing her ballet before sneaking off to a meeting between her older brothers and representatives from another crime family. She doesn’t switch between two worlds, between what’s expected of her as a woman and what’s expected of a member of a crime family, rather she merges the two together to get what she wants. 

This appears to be a very deliberate choice as the letter from the creative team at the end of the issue explains. Nicoletta enjoys many of the aspects of traditional femininity and doesn’t believe that those traits should shut her out of power. She’ll wear bright red lipstick while committing murder and handle a gun in a dress. She won’t ask for things, she’ll demand them, and heaven help you if you don’t listen. 

A portion of the creative team’s letter at the end of Mafiosa #1.

The way Nicoletta’s drawn the same way as the men in the story enforces this idea of her power. While she may not be as physically strong as some of the men around her she exudes the same level of power. She handles herself with extreme self assurance and confidence taking center stage in the scenes she’s in. No one can silence her or put her in the background.

It’s refreshing that Mafiosa didn’t fall into another often occuring pitfall of the strong female character- the idea that in order to be strong, she has to be emotionless and care for no one. Or her one emotion is anger. Nicoletta has plenty of anger and frustration but it’s not her only emotion. She cares about her family, both biological and the members of the crime family, and that drives her to do the things she does. 

Nicoletta disposes of the body of the man she killed.

Throughout the story Nicoletta’s musings as she disposes of the body are interrupted with panels showing what other guests at the hotel are doing. This compares and contrasts her situation with that of the “normal” guests. While they aren’t all hiding bodies, they’re all hiding secrets of their own. It’s a reminder that no one ever truly knows what happens behind closed doors.

People drop their public personas in the privacy of their own hotel rooms.

Infested Earth #1

EVERYTHING – David Golding

One year after an alien insectoid invasion has wiped out almost all life on the planet, the last remaining superheroes must make one final bid for freedom and safety, but with technology failing them, dwindling supplies and emotions running high, how will they survive? How will they escape the INFESTED EARTH?

Solicitation for Infested Earth #1

First and foremost I have to say that David’s art is as good as you’re going to find regardless of where you look. At the absolute least you will be compelled to digest this book simply to see the beautiful images within. The first time I saw the promo images for this book I was completely blown away. While Infested Earth is a different type of superhero tale it does revolves around superheros. Nobody is going to believe whatever story you’re going to tell if what they see doesn’t match what you’re telling them. David Golding has no issue here. The superfolks in this book absolutely look the part. They aren’t the only ones though. Infested Earth is the title of this book and the nasties are also every bit their part. In fact just about everything Golding draws is wonderful. Cityscapes, crowds, cars, people, backgrounds and little details are all top notch. You will be very hard pressed to find artwork like this outside of a major publisher.

Excellent art is all well and good but the plot and execution of the script have to live up to the images. If that doesn’t happen then you’ve just got an art book or pin up collection. While nifty, those aren’t comic books. Thankfully David doesn’t just do pretty pictures. The hook, line and sinker are all there. After a quick opening that helps establish the superheroes in their world … everything goes to shit. While a few regulars are enjoying a day at their Local Comic Shop something absolutely horrid ruins the day, the day after, and well … their world. You know it’s bad when one of the superfolks “crashes” into the shop looking like something came out of him in a very violent, messy way. *Potential warning – it’s graphic. There are other portions of the book where blood/guts/gore/injuries are graphic but it isn’t there for shock value or just to have it. With the action and the plot it fits and helps tell the scale/give perspective of what’s going on. What is it that is going on, exactly? Well if you’re a fan of Starship Troopers then you’re in for a treat. For reasons unknown and by means unknown the planet is invaded and destroyed by insectoid death bringers. Big nasty bugs lay waste to everything and everyone. Now, it’s very clear that this invasion as led to the end result of Earth being a wasteland. However, there is a ton of story left to tell in regards to the time between the inciting event and six months after.

You see, six months after the initial attack is where Infested Earth #1 picks up the plot. Only, there’s a slight tweak to the story. The solicit does its job perfectly. It tells you what’s going on but purposefully leaves out what’s going on. The focus of the story is on a black female hero named Brass Bell. In the middle of taking down a couple of lowly super thugs stealing an armored van she quickly finds herself with much larger issues. Much like the why of the bugs showing up, the how of Brass Bell being thrust into the middle of a destroyed Earth isn’t known. As she is quickly and horribly introduced to the situation she now finds herself the super heroes show up to help her out. Except she has no clue what is going on or why. That is where Golding’s tweak on things comes into play. Brass Bell (and the hapless would be thieves) aren’t from the Infested Earth. You read that right. The band of super heroes that come rushing to her aid have no clue who she is or why she’s here. There is clearly plenty of story to tell with Infested Earth. The bugs and how/why, Brass Bell being pulled to this parallel Infested Earth, what connection if any the Earths and/or heroes have, and ditto on any connection with the bugs. This one has layers folks. Amidst the immediate extinction level threat of the bugs there are several mysteries to unravel.

Infested Earth #1 is an absolute dream of a first issue. It does exactly what a first issue is supposed to do. The plot line is cast, introductions are made and scenes are set, the immediate threat is front and center, the overbearing issue is hinted at, questions are asked but left hanging, and the visuals make you want to keep flipping the pages while also standing on their own. I truly hope that Golding is able to continue producing this book. I’m here for the big bug action. I want to know why they’re invading and destroying this Earth. I need to understand why Brass Bell was plucked from her Earth and dropped into the one that’s gone to hell. I hope to know more about the super heroes of said hell Earth. I must find out just what in the hell sits below it all that has caused all of this.

You absolutely need to grab this book.

Get in touch with David through:
Twitter https://twitter.com/DGCstudios
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/dgc_studios/

You can get INFESTED EARTH #1 through:
DGC STUDIOS https://www.dgc-studios.com/
COMIXOLOGY https://www.comixology.com/INFESTED-EARTH-1/digital-comic/799094

Frenemies #1 Review

Frenemies #1 

By Monty Nero and Yishan Li

Writer: Monty Nero

Art: Yishan Li

Lettering:  Yishan Li and Monty Nero 

Carlton, Delphine, Jamelia, Hunter, Sunny, Cai, and Minerva: some of them know each other, some of them are related to each other, some of them hate each other. But all of them will have to learn to work together. Better a reluctant team of heroes than no heroes at all— and nothing brings people together like fighting aliens and solving mysteries. 

The cast of characters in their costumes.

At times self-referential, the story includes a reference that in the story’s universe, this story was turned into a comic of the same name— the plot switches between past, present, and future, with past and future aspects being told by an omniscient narrator. The story jumps right into the plot, relying on the narrator to fill the reader in on the setting and characters before traveling back in time to explain a bit more of what’s going on. But not too much of what’s going on— you can’t spoil the entire adventure in the first issue. No, there’s still plenty of questions that need to be answered: why were these seven people chosen? Will they become heroes or villains? Will they actually get their act together or crack under the pressure of newfound heroism? Perhaps most importantly, where did Carlton’s son Teddy disappear to all those years ago, and can he be rescued?

The story plays with the reality of the world.

Setting the story at a comic book convention was a great idea. A comic convention is probably one of the best places for random people to get superpowers. If any member of the population is going to have a handle on the caped crusader gig it’s a comic book fan. And if they’re cosplaying, which all of the main characters were, they’ve already got their outfit sorted. Or they’ll at least have the crafting skills to make a new outfit.

The art was the weakest part of this issue. It’s not overly detailed, but the clean linework and well chosen color palettes compensate for that. What causes the biggest problem with the art is the characters themselves. While there’s characters of different races/ethnicities, there’s not a lot of variety in their body types which really stands out in the female main characters. Despite being older than Cai, Jamelia, and Delphine, Minerva has the same slender body type and youthful complexion. One could switch all of their bodies and the only real difference would be their hair and skin colors. In an era of media where it’s expected to see diversity on the page and on the screen this “sameness” stands out. As the characters develop their personalities will hopefully make them feel more different from each other.

Minerva is old enough to have a son attending college yet she herself looks like she’s in her very early 20s.

These problems don’t take away too much from the story; overall, Frenemies #1 is a fun and enjoyable read that introduces a plot and characters with a lot of potential. And ending the issue with a cliffhanger was a clever choice because now all one can do is wait in anticipation for issue #2.

CREATOR QUARTERLY – Matt Garvey

Creator Quarterly 2019 Q1
Matt Garvey


Welcome back to the Creator Quarterly here at Driving Creators!  Long over due, this feature has been tweaked and given an entirely new approach in order to better facilitate an ongoing effort in shining a spotlight on the creators behind the comics we love.  Now focused on a single creator every quarter (four installments each year) the feature should be able to continue regularly, but more impoartantly do a much better job of bringing awareness to the creator being highlighted.  Enough yammering on, let's get to it.

A big part of the Indie Comic scene resides "across the pond" from those of us here in the United States.  Over the last year the DCN has become much more familiar with the independent books and creators coming out of international outlets.  One of the absolute best is MATT GARVEY.  The man is a comic making machine.  It is absolutely insane the quantity and quality of book that Garvey puts out.  When you add in the fact that he's only been publishing and selling his books since early 2016 (MCM London in May of 2016 was his coming out party) you simply can't help but be astonished by what he's doing.  In under four years his stable of titles already houses ELEVEN different books.

Now, it's one thing to just send books out into the comic world.  It is quite another to produce quality over and over.  The comics that Garvey has written are beyond worthy of having any major publisher's logo sitting in the corner.  Honestly any of them would do well to have books on par with what Matt has in his stable.  I'm not just waxing poetic here.  Take Red Rocket Comet for instance.  This is the "quentessential Garvey book" if you will.  The book's plot has been spoken about with 'Watchmen' tones and given the air of execution reserved for 'Miller' books.  That is high, HIGH praise and it is beyond deserved.  Red Rocket Comet is a brilliantly written post modern super hero tragedy.  Using two different timelines Garvey unfolds both the 'golden age' of a hero/villian rivalry and the 'dark age' of realization and the need to make sense of it all as everything starts racing to an end.  The intelligence and ability that resides within the creative energy Garvey has is on full display with this book.  Each time line has a very distinct look and feel appropriate for the lens through which it is viewed and lived.  It has even given rise to Matt borrowing from himself to create another title that may or may not (wink) be set in this universe.  Glass Hood, which Garvey summarises as being "about a recently released super villain who kidnaps the hero who put him away and makes him dig his own grave" certainly feels like it belongs in line with RRC.  Expanding on the RRC universe would be an excellent step for Garvey and his writing but, you don't have to take my word for it though ... this book is an award winner.

Best UK Single Issue 
- Yancy St Awards (Edinburgh ComicCon April 2019)


Matt is also a ComicScene Awards nominee for "Best New Comic Creator to Watch"

The recognition that Matt has received lately is defintely deserved but doesn't quite do him justice.  In a very short time he has already begun to do what many long time comic creators struggle with even after a decade or more into their careers.  Garvey's work spans several different genres.  His latest book, Camp Blehis a wonderful entry into youth horror.  It is comfortably a Middle Grade entry that smartly balances the horror bits without going overboard or too far.  Most young readers will be thoroughly entertained with Camp Bleh.  This newest entry to his library is a stark contrast to one of his earliest books Chunks.  As Matt puts it himself, Chunks is "inappropriate dick jokes."  Quite the polar opposites with intended audiences and approach to writing.  The thing is though, he pulls them both off rather well.  As he does with Camp Bleh, Garvey nails the humor in Chunks in accordance with what he's writing.  Being funny and having it come across are two different things.  Despite being two completely opposing takes on humor he's able to write them both with ease.  It doesn't stop there though.  Untitled Generic Space Comedy is yet further proof that Garvey has mastered comedic writing.  This take on the mundanities of everyday uses a galactic backdrop to tell a smarky everyman story.  Using the big scale space backdrop drives home the normality of the main characters and it is genius. Thankfully you don't have to rely solely on my take to learn about all of Matt's titles.  Garvey himself was gracious enough to give some one sentence rundowns of his books to give you an idea of what they're about as well as answer some questions to help us all get to know him better:

"I have a few different titles but, ok lets do this"

Cordelia Swift

"steampunk murder mystery/strong female protagonist"

The Ether

"vigilante superhero comic with a very unique twist"

Transfer

"a body-swapping sci-fi thriller"

White Noir

"crime noir story set during a blizzard"

Devil in Disguise

"superhero comic about the devil escaping hell to convince God he's a good guy & deserves a second chance"

Prey for Us

"sci-horror about a spaceman trying to get back to his ship, crew, and wife while something hunts him from the shadows"

Where does your love of comics come from?







Any major or stand out influences?

I've been a superhero fan as long as I can remember...like most 80s babies I grew with reruns of the '66 Batman and Spiderman and his amazing friends. But didn't know there were actual comics until a bit later on... I bought my first comic (Daredevil #305) when I was 10... There was a sweet shop next to the pub my dad used to drink in and us kids were never bought drinks in the pub, we had to go to the shop. Then one day I saw that Daredevil comic and it just blew my mind... I knew who Spider-Man was but I had no idea who this chap in the red was ...



When I was little I never really followed creators... it was more characters and if I thought the art was cool, I'd buy it. I also never bought a lot of new comics off the shelves in those early days... why would I buy a NEW comic for £1 when I could get TWO from the long boxes for the same amount?! But as I got older there were three books that made me want to write my own comics... the following three blew my mind and showed me that you could take a well-established character with decades of history and rip it apart (in a good way) and change everything you thought you knew about them. The first was Millar and McNiven's Old Man Logan.

... leaping to help Spider-Man who is about to be stabbed by the Surgeon General and I just had to know what was happening.I asked my dad to buy it for me and he said no...so the next morning I woke up before everyone else, got up, and sneaked round to the shop and bought it with money from my own piggy bank and that was it. Hooked...and then later I found out there were these places called comic shops and that was it...and that was nearly 28 years ago!





I was never really a fan of the X-men... I was more an Avengers West Coast kinda guy, but that book is phenomenal... it made me really like Wolverine and it just felt like a $200 million dollar movie in a comic... won't spoil it but the reason he hasn't popped his claws in years is genius. The second was Joe Quesada's Daredevil Father... while telling a new story it really played with the history that was both respectful and unique... again won't spoil it. The last was Moore and Bissette's Swamp Thing... especially the first trade... if you haven't read it or know the twist... go read it you are in for a real treat.

Favorite Genre?

Honestly, I'll read anything... if it's a good story and the art is on point I'm there for it. I don't care if its capes, horror or even a love story...good comics are good comics.

Favorite Title?

Daredevil.  Always the man without fear.  It was the first comic I read and it'll be the last. But in the last twelve months, I have read some absolute crackers... Mister Miracle was just another level of awesome and Snyder & Capullo's Last Knight on Earth is amazing... I cannot wait to read the last part of that.

Time period of books?

For me is was Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr's run on Daredevil... as I said I just inhaled the long boxes in my LCS as a kid and every week I'd pick up a DD comic from their run and it was just amazing. Great stories and art that would just make me drool! .

Easiest thing about making a comic?
It's all pretty easy for me now... I've been making comics for around nine years, so I've made a lot of mistakes, but I've learned from them. So, when I go out to make one I now know what I'm doing and I find it all easy.

Hardest?
Nope... I got nothing, I love it all.

Favorite part of making a comic?
It's that moment when i have an idea for a twist that i know will blow peoples minds...i love that.


Do You Collect?
"I have around 4,500 comics (not including trades), so it's safe to say its more of an addiction than collection"

What is your Prize Piece? Grail you don't have?

The original art Rob Guliroy did for the cover for Untitled Generic Space Comedy,  That's pretty cool!

I'd love a Daredevil #1

There you have it folks.  Hopefully you've gotten a good glimpse into one of the most talented new creators in comic books.  Matt Garvey is producing quality books at a phenomenal rate.  Already claiming awards, Garvey is only getting started.  He has big plans going forward and the ability to grow them.  Versed in multiple genres and always eager to learn how to improve, Matt is a rare breed and breath of fresh air in the comic creating community.  Take the time to look into Matt's works.  Even better, take the time to interact with Matt.  As talented as he is creating comics he's an infinitely better person.  You are better off knowing him. 

I truly mean that last line.  You ARE better off knowing Matt.  As dedicated and headfirst as he is with his own projects, he's equally as open to those trying to make sense of the comic making world.  Everything he has learned is open to anyone that asks.  Constantly he is offering up help and advice to those that will have it.  He is a resource for folks that are hoping to create something themselves.  The kind hearted and generous person that resides behind the mound of impressive comics is infinitely more amazing than the stupid good books.  Getting to know Matt, his work, and having him in your comic world is the type of thing you get into it for in the first place.  Do yourself a favor and get some Garvey in your comic life.

Below are links to his Twitter, website, and shop.

Connect with Matt 


Hop on over to Matt's shop and get these top shelf titles for yourself!