November 2, 2013


Special thanks to Ron Fortier for sending along a review copy. My opinions are my own

One of the joys of independent comics is that there are usually no preconceived notions about what it should be. Unlike, say, DC's New 52, independent comics don't have to rely on being "hip" or modern, but sometimes can focus on being nostalgic and solid without the resultant hype. Grafix Chronicles # 1, published by Warren Montgomery's Will Lill Comics, is such a book - it may be very old school in its approach, but quite honestly, it's a pretty good read.

Grafix's cover - itself a pastiche of an Incredible Hulk cover - sets the tone: we're definitely heading into an anthology of stories. Writing a strong done-in-one issue is rare; having three solid stories in the same issue is an accomplishment. Thankfully, the stories encompass a variety of styles, leading off with Jonathan A. Gilbert's The Man Under the Microscope. Although it has a very Silver Age feel to the story, it never seems excessively derivative or out of date. (David Owen's art style masterfully echoes both Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, and never feels artificial).

The second story, Solomon Wyrd, is a horror/sorcery tale (think Dr. Strange), and is probably....well, it's not my favorite of the three. It's not bad - I have just never been a fan of magical/mystical horror, so I am probably not the target audience for this tale. (It doesn't help that my review copy had page 13 printed twice).

Don't Touch Me ends the book - a tale seemingly told Marvel style via Ron Stewart's art and Ron Fortier's words. It's a Twilight Zone-esque story that has the appropriate amount of zing in the ending. Although such a story might seem "hokey" in an age of multi-issue arcs and crossover extravangas....well, sometimes I like a little "hokey" in my comics.

(I also like a little hokey in my hash browns as well, but that's another blog post altogether).

Grafix Chronicles # 1 is not the big, high-stakes comic debut that many other web sites will promote....but it's a cool, great little comic that's worth hunting down and purchasing.

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