I came back from Emerald City Comic Con in love with comics again.
Well, maybe not comics as a whole. While all of the women and about half of the men I passed who noticed my casual Captain Marvel cosplay gave me the, “aw yeah,” nod, I got a fair number of glares from the remaining dude bros. Until I glared back, at which point they made solid eye contact with the floor but that’s another post altogether…
DC and Marvel never have a huge presence at this particular con, which I don’t mind as it gives smaller publishers a chance to shine and me a chance to explore what they have to offer. Image, Dark Horse, and Valiant (who, fair enough, aren’t that much smaller at this point) were accounted for, as was the smaller but increasingly prolific Oni, but, for whatever reason, mid-range indies Boom!, Aftershock, and Black Mask were either absent or so well hidden I didn’t see them in four days of walking the floor.
I missed those guys. They’ve done some of my favorite stuff in the last couple of years and Boom! has a brand new series (Ronin Island) I wanted to pick up to share with the kids so their absence was particularly disappointing. That said, not having those three booths to wander meant I had the opportunity to visit some new-to me publishers and talk to them about their books.
One of the folks I chatted with was Kim McLean, Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Vault Comics. Founded in 2016 by Adrien Wassel, Damien Wassel, Nathan Gooden, and Damien Wassel Sr, Vault is, literally, a family affair, dedicated to “telling different kinds of stories, the ones that weren’t getting a lot of attention or the ones that weren’t getting the push they could… we’ve built a company around that opportunity, around the ability to let creators tell those stories that show representation we haven’t seen in comics.”
Vault specializes in sci-fi and fantasy titles such as: These Savage Shores by Ram V, Sumit Kumar, Vitorio Astone, and Aditya Bidikar, about a new world demon setting sail aboard a Dutch East India company ship to find a home along the Indus River valley only to find it already inhabited; “Star Wars directed by the Cohen Brothers” epic Vagrant Queen by Magdelene Vissago, Henry Saxon, Jason Smith, and Zaak Saam; Deep Roots, a tale of vegetable homunculi fighting back against the pollution of humanity by Dan Watters, Val Rodrigues, Triona Farrell, and Aditya Bidikar; and Heathen by Natasha Alterici and Rachel Deering, the story of a Adys, a Viking warrior sentenced to death for daring to love another woman, freed by her father who gives zero f*&^% what the village elders thing, and Adys’ quest to free the Valkyrie Brynhild from her fiery prison to prove that worth is determined by who a person is. Oh and that who she loves is no one’s damn business but her own.
Vault releases its adult titles in monthly issues and then collects them as trades. “We love the monthly, ‘go to your comics store and get the next issue,’ McLean said. Though, “… starting at the end of this year… we’re launching a middle grade and young adult line… it’ll be all graphic novels… in a 6×9 format, a little bit smaller but easier to handle for you readers.” The Though the Myriad imprint won’t be strictly sci-fi/fantasy, in order to have wider appeal and introduce more kids to the graphic novel format, Vault’s intention is still to bring voices that haven’t been heard before to readers. “Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, who did Bandette , are working on one of the Myriad titles and we also have Matthew Ermine … doing Bonding, a new voice, a new story.” McLean said the team is excited to have both new and established authors building the brand.
Since I couldn’t bring home the whole line (I mean, challenge accepted but I had cosplay that actually held together and I’d like to wear again) I asked McLean which two books she would recommend as an entreé to Vault’s offerings:
“I’m so glad you let me have two because I think there are two different styles people might like as an introduction. The first one would be Heathen… it’s been our flagship… the first thing we did as a group… People can find that as a fabulous entry point because it is LGBT friendly but also a fantasy about Vikings and Norse gods… The other is Wasted Space by Michael Moreci, Hayden Sherman, Jason Wordie, and Jim Campbell. The book is so neat and funny and has action and it’s this quick paced sci-fi space drama and he touches on so many things we don’t get in regular comics.”
If you’re looking for new comics, Vault is definitely a great place to go digging. This is good stuff, people. Gorgeous stuff, new stuff, different stuff. Especially if you love the medium of comics but capes and tights aren’t your bag but sci-fi and fantasy are. They’ve recently been added to FOC so it should be much easier to find both single issues and trades at your LOC or for the staff to order either for you. Vault also has books available on their website and a quick survey suggests that most of the larger online retailers have them as well.