In what may or may not become a new feature, I decided to make a cup of tea (PG Tips if you’re curious) and sit down and read a couple comics whilst I drank said cuppa. My intention isn’t to read review copies, or digital copies if I can help it, but either graphic novels, TPBs, or floppy comics. I may have read them before, or they may have been on my To Read pile for far too long, but whether this happens monthly, weekly, daily or never again will depend entirely on the time I have. Tea & Comics will be a feature designed solely to get me back to reading comics with a review in mind. I’m aware of the irony.
This week, I decided I wanted to finally read the three Alterna newsprint comics I picked up at the beginning of May, so I made myself a cuppa, put my feet up, and got started.
Above were three comics that I read today, all first issues of Croak, Age Of Awesome and Adam Wreck. Each comic was printed on newsprint, and cost me $1.50 a pop; which isn’t an introductory price – that’s how much Alterna’s newsprint comics are. Each mini series will run three or five issue (at least the ones I could find – there may be others that will have higher or lower issue counts.
Anyway, on to what I thought of the comics. This won’t be a typical review, because I was consciously avoiding thinking about the comics critically – I just wanted to enjoy them, or not, as I so often did when I was a youngling, so all credits will appear at the end after my thoughts on each.
The first book I read while waiting for the tea to cool was Croak. This type of comic is usually not the kind of book I’d gravitate toward because it’s a touch more horror in nature than my usual fare. That being said, Croak has a fantastic old school feel to it that has echoes of early horror comics style of story telling, but could easily come from the feel of the newsprint – either way, I loved it. One niggle was that in places the art seemed a bit murky, but through no fault of the artist or colourist as it seems more of a printing issue, which for me added charm to the comic. If you can find this, then buy it.
With my tea cooled, and several sips taken I picked up Amazing Age. This was the first of the two all-ages comics I picked up, and I was enthralled with it. There’s a brilliantly Golden Age sense to the comic, a feeling augmented by the opening story-within-a-story that opens the comic. The story blends a happy-go-lucky superhero feel with some heart wrenching tragedy in a smooth and genuinely emotional way. The writing show cases this dichotomy so well, and the less detailed art holds up really well on the newsprint making this a great buy for the price I paid.
Last but by no means least is Adam Wreck a sci-fi story that features an interstellar family travelling past the known reaches of space. This is a very classic Earthling-meets-Alien style story that has the added benefit of Adam constantly griping about the lack of earthly amenities (this may sound like a gripe of my own, but it’s written in a way that you can’t help but laugh at, or empathize with, the space bound teenager). Artistically, the comic doesn’t suffer from the newsprint at all, and has a brilliant use of colour within the story. If you’re even half curious, this is worth checking out.
I’ll be completely honest with you; these are absolutely worth a buck and a half, but if they were printed on the typical comic paper rather than newsprint then I assume that they’d be a bit more expensive, likely between $3 and $4 or so, they’d still be worth the more inflated price. However I probably wouldn’t have been drawn in as much at the higher pricing point, so I’m happy with the newsprint comics.
The large cup of tea I had made myself was finished by this point, and after having read three pretty great comics, I realized that I forgot to take a photo of the tea and comics… so I made another cup of tea. Just for the photo, of course. Sooner or later I’ll sit down for more Tea & Comics.
Writer: Cody Andrew Sousa Artist: Francesco Iaquinta
Colourist: Chris O’Halloran Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Amazing Age #1
Writer: Matthew D. Smith Artist: Jeremy Massie Colourist: Christine Brunson
Adam Wreck #1
Writer/Artist: Michael S. Bracco