June 3, 2011

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Digging Into Digital: Exploring Free Comics at Comixology (Days Missing, Devil's Wake, Dogs of Mars)

Welcome to the first Digging into Digital post! Digging into Digital is where I talk about comics from an online perspective. Today I'm going to look at three issues that are available for free at Comixology. Once of the nice things about the digital comics world is that creators can opt to give out some of their material for free, in the hopes that you might be interested in more.

I am exactly the type of person this approach appeals to. Give me a chance to see if I like what you do, and I guarantee you that if I do, I'll start handing you money. I have had a great time reading these and picking which ones I want to keep reading. (Hint: 99 cents is a big incentive to keep me reading.) Without further ado, here are three that I sampled, and my thoughts.

Days Missing 1 (of 5). Written by Phil Hester, Illustrated by Frazier Irving. Archaia. From what I understand, this is Archaia's first Comixology offering. The premise is that a being of power watches over the earth, making subtle changes over the course of a day, but leaving no trace of his existence. In this issue, our mysterious stranger helps find a cure for a deadly pandemic and learns that even those with great power must deal with loss. It's a cool concept, but Hester over-writes the story, being needlessly morose and placing entirely too many monologues into almost every panel. Will I keep reading? Probably not. Just a bit too heavy-handed for me, despite the neat idea.

Devil's Wake 1 (of 3). Written and Illustrated by Dean Hsieh. Zuda. It looks like a lot of Zuda comics (and Zuda pitches) ended up on Comixology, which makes perfect sense. Omaha is a monster bounty hunter in a world that's gone to hell. She's just trying to eek out an existence, but in this kill or be killed world, no one can be trusted. Will she find help or harm? Can even her sword-swinging skills save her when it seems monsters aren't the one ones without humanity? This would normally not be my cup of tea, but Hsieh's artwork is quite good, and I like the main character Omaha enough that I care about how she fares in this bleak world where no one seems to have retained any sense of dignity. It helps a lot that the series is both short and finished. Will I keep reading? I'm willing to pay to finish Omaha's story.

Dogs of Mars 1 (ongoing). Written by Tony Trov, Christian Weiser, and Johnny Zito. Illustrated by Paul Maybury. Self-Published. Why do people keep trying to explore Mars in comic books? Don't they know by now it's only going to lead to danger? This sci-fi horror comic from the prolific Trov and Zito team is mostly set-up for a larger plot, as we meet characters, realize something's not right, and disaster strikes. The story itself is not the most original, but I liked the dialog, the way the characters are not meant to be inherently good, and the fact that there's a good chance the monsters are going to win. Will I keep reading? I wish I knew what the end point was on this, but yeah, I'll be back for more.

Read any good free samples I should try? Have some thoughts on these after reading them? Drop me a comment!