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.

Kickstarter Alert – Tokyo Blade Detectives

Friend of the DCN Todd Black has launched his next Kickstarter campaign! With the creative team of Lam Vu Van (2019 Vietnam Webtoon Contest Winner), David Hayes (Rottentail, The Rot), and Zakk Saam (Kim & Kim, Star Trek/Green Lantern) this book has loads of firepower behind hit. Full press release:

Tokyo Blade Detectives #1 Launches On Kickstarter!
A Brand New Anime-Style Comic Has Come To The Popular Crowdfunding Service

Champaign, IL:
Today, BlackMagicWolf Productions, an indie comic book publisher with 29 comics made so far, have launched a new Kickstarter for their next project! The new ongoing series is called Tokyo Blade Detectives and seeks to entrance comic readers with its sleek anime-style visuals, deep plot and fun battles featuring “laser swords”.

The series takes place in Tokyo, Japan over 200 years into the future, where the nation has been rebuilt and isolated after many wars and a reconstruction of the nation. Now, technology rules to such a degree that there is a concrete that must be followed: “No guns allowed”. To re-establish power, the government and several “Factions” use laser swords to fight and wage war for the soul of the nation. The sword has once again become the most powerful thing in Japan.

At the center of the story is a young girl named Miko, who is a detective in this new world. Miko aims to survive every day by doing her job and paying the bills while trying to avoid all the drama that the Factions and the government bring to Tokyo. Yet that doesn’t stop events from coming to her doorstep and putting her on a collision course with a dark conspiracy, deadly threats, and much more.

“Tokyo Blade Detectives is an idea I’ve had for so long, and it’s a thrill to finally launch it on Kickstarter,” says Todd Black, creator of BlackMagicWolf Productions and Tokyo Blade Detectives. “The series is different from many other comic series because everything is in flux. The Factions constantly gain and lose territory in Japan, there’s always angles that people won’t see until much later, and Miko’s part in all of this may not be what you expect. It’s going to be a fun ride!”

The goal of the Kickstarter is to raise $1500 to fund the rest of the first issue, of which 5 pages are done right now, and 10 will be done before the Kickstarter is finished, leaving the other ten to be done if the project is funded. Rewards for the Kickstarter include: digital and physical comics, getting put into a “Thank You” section, getting drawn into the comic, getting t-shirts, and receiving all books in the BlackMagicWolf Productions line.

Those who wish to check out the Kickstarter can go to the project through the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blackmagicwolf/tokyo-blade-detectives-1


About BlackMagicWolf Productions:
BlackMagicWolf Productions started of in 2012 when Todd Black started making comics. Since then he has made three comic series in Guardians, Home, and 10,000 Miles, as well as novel series Sherlock Holmes The Greatest Detective and has collaborated on anthologies and science-based comic Seekers of Science. The company has displayed at many comic-cons, and has had many successful Kickstarters to fund their various projects over the years.

What’s Kickin – SEP 2019

Miskatonic High #4

Fresh off of successfully funding the first three issues of the series, the Miskatonic High crew is back for the fourth installment. We've seen a field trip that was much more adventurous than a trip to a museum, found out that secrets can be unearthed anywhere, that having it all comes with a price, and now we'll be seeing just what a winner has to lose in order to protect his friends.

24 pages of full color goodness.

2 Days Left!

Le Fay #1

An urban fantasy/noir about Morgan le Fay in the modern world working as a detective for the secret magic underworld. After a battle with Merlin she woke up powerless in the modern world. Determined to get her powers back she has decided to work as a PI for the Fay World in order to find clues on what happened to her. Jessica Jones by way of sorcery.

32 pages of top notch art and rich colors present this intriguing concept.

4 Days Left!

Ship Wrecked Vol 4

the story of the Intergalactic Spaceship Bowie‘s Accounting Department. The comic follows a diverse team of misfits as they attempt to get through their work day without going mad. They’re not involved with any of the cool stuff happening on the ship but they still have a job to do and they’re going to find a way to do it before boredom takes their will to carry on.
24 pages of sci-fi office comedy.

5 Days Left!

The Adventures of Captain Cosmic #3

*Driving Creators Top Creator Published Books List 2018

The third installment of the Silver-Age inspired cosmic adventures of the Father/Daughter duo of Captain and Kid Cosmic. This issue sees the menace of the Phantom Spaceman! This galactic filled superhero epic is back for more!

20 (or more) pages of full colored cosmic adventure.

5 Days Left!

The Spark

A comics magazine for kids and adults alike. You’ll read about Monsters, Space Adventures, Alien Planets and an odd Robot Butler named Springworth. A project that will also benefit kids in long-term hospital care by supplying them with comic making kits to keep them from getting bored.

Ongoing magazine sized anthology comic for kids of all ages.

6 Days Left!

Death Sentence: Liberty #4

A mature themed adult comic of political intrigue, opression, and those with the power to do something about the world they live in. The only catch? Their powers are tied to an STD that'll kill them in six months.

28 full color pages of raw comic.

8 Days Left!

Responsive Design

What Fresh Hell Is This?

An indie comic anthology inspired by Dante's Inferno. It's rough making your way in show business. Everyone wants something from you, and no one is cutting you any breaks. Your boss is a real beast, and you're performing for the dregs of society.

100+ pages of hellacious comic.

8 Days Left!

Death Trap #1

Ollie is on a quest for revenge on the father-murdering bastards of Davenport Amusements. Together with her adopted circus sideshow freak family, she's got the pedal to the metal in her haunted muscle car and nothing but vengeance in her headlights. Rockabilly, Vaudeville, and Tarantino all smushed faces basically.

96 page graphic novel tier available.

9 Days Left!

20 Fists

It's Romeo & Juliet meets the Warriors. It's queer. It's all going to shit. The relationship forged in the arena of the unlicensed and illegal fight club has hit hard times.

35 pages of b/w love triumph.

9 Days Left!

Coronary Vol 1

Plastic surgery is free. London is gripped by madness, dominated by cosmetic surgeons, lifestyle coaches, and pill-pushers. On the run from cops and hitmen, an esoteric businessman sets to make amends while he still can. A Black Mirror Romeo & Juliet, if you will.

120 pages of full color Nip/Tuck-esque awesome.

12 Days Left!

Prometheus #4

Today's society has made it clear that the Flame of Knowledge has been stolen. Free of his own imprisonment for stealing it originally, Prometheus must find the flame and once again right humanity's ship in this titanic John Wick style approach to the Olympians.

20+ pages of full color God revenge.

17 Days Left!

Infinity Agents #2

This ongoing series focuses on three agents from a small, internationally funded organization called Infinite Borders Security Agency (IBSA), a secret group of operatives who investigate alien encounters on Earth or in space. In this second issue the agents encounter a lifeform that defies description, triggering a tragic course of events that will drastically change their lives and reveal the dangers of the Infinity Zone that threaten the entire universe!

24 pages of full color space time.

17 Days Left!

RAGMOP: The World Needs Laughter

A brand new cast of characters joins the fun as Ragmop takes the reader on a roller coaster ride through the history of comics, genetically modified foods, conspiracy theories, Art House cinema, Tex Avery cartoons and the Jack Kirby Centennial! All this and more in the most outrageously hilarious, action-filled story since the previous Ragmop!

175 pages of side splitting laughing at our own idiocy.

22 Days Left!

Death & Comics: Reincarnation

A collection of short comics all of which are related to death in some way. The stories span genres of romance, crime, horror, and satire. Some were used to explore the medium of comics, while others make a specific point with their content.

24 pages os short comic goodness.

22 Days Left!

Dreamers of the Day

by Beth Barnett

Making its debut at Small Press Expo is Beth Barnett’s InfoGraphic Novel Dreamers of the Day. History lesson, travel log, diary, and comic are all rolled into one as Beth takes us on a journey of discovery about TE Lawrence.

It is a common theme among creators that they care about the subject they are taking on. So often they are labors of love. This is clearly another entry along those lines, but, it is so much more. How so? Well, Dreamers of the Day is actually the base upon which Beth will be building her planned three part bio-graphical take on TE Lawrence. The labor of love is evident as this is a take on the journey Beth took in order to research and truly find the story that lay within the life of TE Lawrence. It is her story of discovery about her subject and a bit about herself. The deep dive of a pilgrimage to Oxford uncovers riches of history that are almost exclusively ignored or glanced over as afterthoughts in the many pieces of media about Lawrence of Arabia.

Perhaps my favorite part of this piece is the absolute personal reflection and unabashedly candid peek into Beth’s feelings and the emotional journey she’s taken. What were surely the feelings she was having at the time of the various depicted events, we can see drawn all over the representative Beth on page. While documentative in nature and biographical in scope Beth presents this journey in a story type fashion that her artwork lends very well too. The book is about her search and discovery of TE Lawrence but the entirety is truly about TE. The scenes of running late for appointments or getting lost are related with candor.

The connection with not just herself, but with the importance of the endeavor she’s undertaken allows so much more to come across from the page. Even though there are more installments coming there is already very large pieces of learning for anyone that picks up this book. Most folks only know the Hollywood given bylines but the story of TE Lawrence is so much richer and deeper than most are aware of. The history involved with the man and his involvement in history is a lesson that will enrich your understanding of the world and educate you in ways you’re not expecting. The zest with which the journey is undertaken jumps off the page and brings you along for the ride.

Beth will be at SPX on SEP 14-15th! Dreamers of the Day makes its print debut at the Expo!

HELL, Inc.

Jeff Martin’s web strip is coming to print. That’s the aim anyway as his KICKSTARTER launches on AUG 19, 2019 and will be a 30 day campaign. The KS aim is to get the 84 strips published into print and out to the masses. There will be two books, each with a 42 strip story arc. Published weekly since FEB 2018, the project already shows staying power and has been coming around to more and more eyes lately. So what exactly is Hell, Inc? It’s satire that plays on one of the most well known tropes out there. What’s more of a hell than an office job …?

The timeless reality that is hell on Earth has been used to high success many times over. Martin has added to the ranks of hilarious takes on the horrors and torture of the cubicle world. Humor that recalls the likes of Office Space is sprinkled about but the strip is entirely its own entity. We follow Doug, a hopeless everyman (demon) working for the big corp in literal Hell, Hell Incorporated. The premise itself (the office trope) is ripe with relatable instances and the humor in agony that many people go through day in and day out. While horribly human with his existence, Doug also finds that Hell itself is a multilayered storm. It has got to be exponentially more dire of an existence to be just a cog in the corporate machine when you compound that with the corporate machine being, again, literal Hell.

Keeping the humor relatable is what makes the strip overly funny. Despite being a demon Doug lives through every day human hells. Perhaps he was a corporate cog before the afterlife and is now living out his own personal hell by being condemned to run the cubicle rat race for eternity? That would just add that much more humor to the goings on over at Hell, Inc. The art delivers exaggerated depictions of the every day torture of the office life. From dreaming of doing the unthinkable to your co-workers, running and hiding from the boss, and attempting to feign importance we see Doug navigate his horrifyingly mundane afterlife with the same hopeless indifference many of us have experienced.

It isn’t that Doug doesn’t have an important job. He processes souls for Hell, Inc. Given that that is what Hell is all about one would think there would be a bit more shine to things. Not so much. There always seems to be something that keeps the experience from being what it could or adding to the misery of being just another office worker. The “adventures” have even gone so far as to give Doug an intern [a human one at that] that simply just has to be the secret 10th circle of hell.

Be sure to check out the Kickstarter LIVE NOW! Hell, Inc is a wonderfully done satire. The play on the situation makes it that much more humorous. You’ll thoroughly enjoy your time with Hell, Inc.