This post originally appeared on Panels, which is now Book Riot Comics
The folks at Humble Bundle Inc. are at it again. The latest installment of the Comics Humble Bundle is live, stuffed with comics from Oni Press and just begging for your donations towards Direct Relief, a non-profit that provides medical services to those affected by poverty, natural disasters and civil unrest. For those unfamiliar with the Humble Bundle, it’s a pay-what-you-want system where you’re rewarded with goodies depending on your donation. The quick and dirty downlow: 15 clams or more and you’ve got yourself $360 of quality digital comics in whatever format you choose. What not to like about that? If that’s not enough to sweeten the deal, here’s a couple of the titles to keep an eye on that aren’t the first two color versions of Scott Pilgrim. (Yes, they’re good. They’re very good. We just know you already want those.)
The Sixth Gun Volume 1
Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurt’s supernatural western is galloping its way to its final issue, so it’s kind of the perfect time to start at the beginning. The Sixth Gun tells the tale of a set of mystical handguns that are tied to a doomsday conspiracy that is posed to throw not only post-Civil War America, but the entire world, into chaos. This series is brimming with bizarre ideas that almost make it feel like it’s what is happening on Earth while John Carter was hopping around on Mars. Westerns are pretty rare nowadays, so it’s nice to see one that feels so alive and original. As fantastic as the protagonists of the series are (an ex-Pinkerton with blood on his hands and a preacher’s daughter with one hell of a vendetta) the villains are really the reason to pick this one up. The wicked undead General Hume is fascinating as are his cohorts who wield a handful of the titular guns. Missy Hume is one of the more terrifying villains in comics with her icy demeanor and sinister machinations. Saddle up something a little weird and a little different. It’s a hell of a ride.
Down Set Fight
If “a dude has to fight football mascots in increasingly ridiculous circumstances” doesn’t sell you on a comic, I’m not 100 percent sure what to tell you. Down Set Fight by co-writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers with art by Scott Kowalchuk is a football comic that’s not really a football comic written by two guys who claim to barely know anything about football. It’s funny. Incredibly funny, really. Although it had me laughing out loud at multiple points, the real strenght of Down Set Fight is its incredible amount of heart. You wouldn’t expect a story that starts with ex-professional football player Chuck Fairlane getting jumped by a costumed mascot that he fights off with pro-wrestling grapples and suplexes would turn out to have a layered father-son relationship story at its core, but that’s what we’re dealing with here. Down Set Fight caught me off guard when it came out. It plays with narrative in a way that most lighthearted comics don’t attempt and demands to be read in one sitting. Every single part of the creative team is on fire here.
Stumptown Volume 1
Portland, Oregon. The City of Roses. Home of Oni Press. Private Detective Dex Parios has got debts to pay and a missing girl to find. Oh, and she just survived getting shot and dumped in a river. It’d be easy to write it off as a bad day, but reading Stumptown has convinced me that Dex doesn’t really have good days. Writer Greg Rucka and artist Matthew Southworth weave a gritty, brutal crime story that plunges readers into a lovingly rendered and realized version of Portland. It’s masterful and will suck you in until the back cover is closed. It’s the perfect time to get a hold of volume 1 as the ongoing Stumptown series just started a few weeks back. You could definitely start with the new series, but skipping this chance to check in on one of Dex’s earlier cases would be a mistake that even she wouldn’t make. A lot of times, when I see words like gritty and realistic thrown around, it’s a huge red flag. Stumptown dodges those bullets and Rucka and Southworth make the best of them. Rucka has made a career out of building believable protagonists who face what feel like real struggles and crushing odds. Dex is no different and may even just be one of his best.
While those are just some personal favorites from the bundle, there’s a ton more to look forward to. The Bunker and Letter 44 are both cerebral sci-fi stories worth reading. I’m stoked to get to to take a crack at Buzz!, which tackles the world of high stakes, no-holds barred spelling bees. There’s early work from Bryan Lee O’Malley as well as the first issues of two of the more unique books on the stands right now, The Auteur and I Was the Cat. Oni has a diverse publishing line. It’s nice to see this Humble Bundle casting a wide net and covering as much of it as they feasibly can while helping people out.