Reviews

Comic Review – Comichaus #1

  • Writers: James Mcculloch, Dave Cook, Jon Laight, Aaron Walther, Luke Cooper, Tom Ward
  • Artists: Jessica L. Byrne, Norrie Millar, Dan Butcher, Ed Bickford, Peter Simeti, Luke Cooper, Iain Laurie
  • Cover Artist: Glenn Fabry
  • Cover Colorist: Ada Brown
  • Letterer: Colin Bell
  • Publisher: Comichaus
  • Release Date: September 1,2016

Comichaus #1 is the first issue a British anthology series that is full of stories from different indie creators from around the world. After launching a successful Kickstarter campaign, British comic distributor Comichaus – which distributes indie titles like Snowbound and Magpie — released the very first issue of their self-titled anthology series that provides serialized comic stories spread out across issues alongside one one-shot story per issue.

And unsurprisingly, I thought it was pretty good aside from a few stories that just weren’t my thing.

Comic Haus 1 cover by Glenn Fabry Comichaus
Comic Haus 1 cover by Glenn Fabry

Brief Synopsis of Comichaus #1

The first story in the anthology is “Karyn Shade” with a script by James McCulloch and art by Jessica L. Byrne. Let me get this off my chest immediately: Karyn is hilarious and I love her. I mean, the way that Byrne draws her facial expressions and the fact that spends almost as much time cussing as I do makes her endearing. In the first pages of the serial comic, we see our intrepid heroine kick the shit out of her busted car, curse strongly enough to strip paint, and then takes off into the night towards a shady house in the middle of nowhere.

A house that we know is full of child-murdering cultists who I’m assuming are going to get their asses kicked (if I’m reading Karyn correctly as an ass-kicker).

Seriously, I love this story already and I need to know what happens next. For this comic alone I can’t wait for Comichaus #2.

The second story, “Feather” was written by Dave Cook and has art by Norrie Millar and has a serious Twilight Zone kind of vibe. The world of “Feather’ is one where a new strain of bird flu – one that manifests in human beings growing feathers from their backs on top of terrible pain – is sweeping across the world. What’s even more terrifying is that while no one has died from it, there is no cure.

The main character, Doug, is a small town sheriff looking out for his own. If you know anything about law enforcement in small town, know that when they’re not corrupt they seem to do double duty as therapists. Setting Doug up as a sympathetic but stern officer of the law goes a long way to making readers want to continue the comic.

The pages where Doug consoles Darren, a man still hurting from the death of his wife and drinking to forget it, are like a literal blow to the head. It’s so difficult to read because of the emotion in the dialogue and the way that Norrie Millar’s art captures the heart-rending loss on Darren’s face and the pain on Doug’s.

And know now that the cliffhanger on the last page of this first installment of “Feather” will absolutely leave you reaching for your wallet in order to grab the next issue. All of the stories are fantastic mind you, but the cliffhanger here is so intense that it makes you crave the continuation immediately.

Comichaus #1’s third comic, “Suited and Booted” sees artist Dan Butcher working with writer John Laight on a story that’s set on a terraformed Mars. In its first installment, “Suited and Booted” sketches out the back story of the comic’s main character Moses Michaels, one of the few children to be born on Mars after an alien species called the Breakers sends humanity back several centuries in order to enslave them.

This story is not one of my favorites despite the sci-fi theme, futuristic setting, and revenge narrative. Maybe it’s because there were a lot of narration boxes for expanding on the universe’s history and they were pretty difficult to read. Maybe it’s because I’m just not interested in narratives about any kind of slavery.

I’m not sure. Either way, I’m not super excited about this story. I’m hoping that future installments will be much better because “Suited and Booted” is so close to being my kind of series and I want to enjoy it.

The fourth story, “The Troubleshooters” has one of Aaron Walther’s scripts brought to life by artist Ed Bickford. The main thing you need to know about this story is that the main characters are riding what I’m pretty sure are dragons and that they live in a world that’s partially populated by dragonmen.

Look, westerns are one of my favorite things in the world. And genre-crossing stories that incorporate all the fun of Westerns but without the old timey racism and misogyny? Those are even better. The art style in “The Troubleshooters” is fun and it accompanies a world that I want to learn more about. I have so many questions about the world-building and the characters.

I also want a dragon of my own now, but that’s a personal problem. There’s also a nifty “The Troubleshooters” pin-up by Peter Simenti if you’re into that sort of thing.

Next up, we have Luke Cooper’s “Mortality” which is a story about loss and what comes after life. After he and his daughter Dizzy are killed, Morton Blunt straight up rejects the idea that he should “go gentle into that good night”.

And that’s before the comic’s final page switches to Dizzy in another part of the afterlife, so frustrated with the lack of answers that Death themselves comes to talk her down.

The second I realized that this story probably isn’t going to be about Morton pulling a “Taken” in the search to avenge his daughter for the sake of man pain, I decided that it was my thing. Here’s hoping that future installments of “Mortality” don’t let me down.

The last comic in Comichaus #1 is “Mum and Dad” a one-shot with art by Tom Ward, art by Iain Laurie, and letters by Colin Bell.

Straight up, nothing about this story is my cup of tea. I’m not a huge fan of gore or pointless horror and that’s kind of what bookended this story – aside from a “haha, our kid’s adopted” punchline that I really couldn’t even find it in myself to snicker at. If you’ve got a stronger stomach and a different sense of humor, it might be your thing.

Sadly, “Mum and Dad” wasn’t mine.

 

Overall Impression of Comichaus #1

I liked most of the stories in Comichaus #1 and I thought that as a whole, they were interesting in their own way. My favorite stories in this issue of the series are “Karyn Shade” and “Feather” because of how much they remind me of the great Vertigo Comics horror that I love. But “The Troubleshooters” is the next runner-up because there’s a dragon eating someone’s arm and you all know that this is 100% on brand for me. Honestly, there’s only a single story that straight up didn’t like and it was a one-shot so we’re good.

Comichaus #1 was a great first issue and I honestly can’t wait to see what Comichaus brings to the table with the second issue of their anthology series. If the idea of a monthly indie comics anthology series with some pretty interesting stories appeals to you, consider checking Comichaus #1 out!


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About the author

Zina Hutton

writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories.

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