This year’s return to LA Comic Con’s Artist Alley provides a plethora of the greatest, weirdest superheroes and horrors ever to grace comic pages.
You Are Reading :LA Comic Con 2021 10 Best Indie Titles You Can Find
After 2 years, Comic Conventions are back in full swing. Comic-Con International: San Diego returned with its special edition and the Los Angeles Comic-Con, commonly called Stan Lee’s Comic-Con, is coming back to full swing at the end of 2021. With hundreds of Disney+ inspired cosplays like Loki and Scarlet Witch taking over these returns, that means more indie comics, books, and other forms of media entering readers’ hands.
In 2019, CBR looked at 10 indie titles that could be found at LA Comic-Con, and this year marks a return to Artist Alley to look at indie titles that should be checked out. As a note, entries from the 2019 list will not be revisited, though those titles still hold up.
10 Minion Shows A New Side Of Crime
Shortly in the future of a world where Superheroes exist, supervillains and crime enthusiasts put out their call for minions. Written by Mason Mendoza and Christopher Reda, with art by Leandro Rizzo, the four-issue miniseries, Minion, follows newcomer Double Zero as he tries to stake his claim in the seedy underworld of New Manhattan, and the rest of the futuristic world, while serving under the big bad.
Instead of following the traditional hero or villain route, Minion presents a somewhat sympathetic figure in Double Zero, who is just trying to make a living. This series is published by Critical Entertainment.
9 Out Of Order Tackles Schizophrenia With Heart
Out Of Order, written and illustrated by married team Seol Young Lee and Mike Ahn, follows a man named Paul as he is diagnosed with schizophrenia and attempts to deal with his changing world with the love of his life, Gene. As the name implies, the five-issue mini-series is made up of snapshots of Paul’s life placed out of any traditional order.
While the series is technically fictional, it is based on the real lives of Seol Young Lee, who is portrayed as Gene, and Mike Ahn, portrayed as Paul. It is a beautiful, poignant tale about what mental illness can do to a relationship and how they get through it. It can be bought here.
8 The Sunless Circus Allows Fans To Feel For A Robot
Written and illustrated by Chris Kawagiwa, The Sunless Circus follows the story of Ardee the Robot who performs for the titular circus while dreaming of being an accountant. The story is done as a homage to silent films, so there is no dialogue, but the characters say plenty through Kawagiwa’s art.
While the first issue doesn’t have dialogue, the series continues with stories from around the circus, including its founding, Ardee’s creation, and several smaller adventures for the lovable robot. Even without dialogue, The Sunless Circus makes for a great read.
7 Jalisco Kicks Off The Universe Of Latina Superheroes
The first book of the A La Brava Universe, which focuses on Latina heroes named of Jalisco, Santa, Loquita, Ruca, and Bandita, Jalisco follows the titular girl as she uses her culture to fight against the villains that plague her. The specific cultural artifact she uses is Folklorico dancing, which she weaponizes.
Written by Kayden Phoenix and her Latina team, Jalisco features a story that tackles the real-life story of Mexico’s femicide with hope and by honoring culture and traditions. Phoenix’s Universe of Latina Superheroes starts strong with Jalisco.
6 Immortal Era Shows Why Immortality Would Suck
Set 200 years in the future, Immortal Era by Edward Davis, Cezar Oliveira, Viviana Spinelli, and Manny Hernandez, sees a world where death doesn’t exist, and humankind is immortal. With people not dying, the streets are overpopulated, leaving just the ragtag group of survivors to take on the ultimate quest, the death of humans.
Following Ari, Miguel, Father, the bodiless Dr. Mann, and Kimberly as they attempt to procure the end of humanity, they have to face off against the police and wild underground dwellers. The series is published by Finish Line Comics.
5 Nightfall Brings Collaborative Superheroes To A New Field
A collaboration between the two independent teams at Wingless Comics and Constant Hustle Comics, Nightfall follows 7 superheroes as they team up to fight a great threat to the world. Justice, an angel and recurring character from his own series, faces off against his past while Prime, the hero of Earth, becomes enthralled by the powers of the villain.
Created by Brian Bats Lambert, Fábio Simão, and Nestor Redulla, Nightfall also features a team full of heroes of color, adding needed representation to a solid story.
4 Numb Details The Emotional Journey Of A Young Artist
Written and illustrated by Joshua Kemble, Numb is his first comic. It centers on Seymour, who is struggling to write and dealing with the break-up that ruined his life. As the comic progresses Seymour begins to write about his time with his ex-girlfriend Leah and the pain of his lost love.
Having finally found his muse, he learns that Leah has already done the same thing and published her book about him. You can read the whole comic here. Kemble has created several comics since, including his latest release, Two Stories, which follows the emotional journey of his struggles with mental illness.
3 The Phantom Forest Is A Dark YA Novel That Needs Reading
The only novel on this list, but well worth the read, Liz Kerin’s The Phantom Forest tells a darker young adult tale. Following Seycia as she journeys through the underworld, after being sacrificed to a demon, to find and destroy her father’s killer’s soul tree.
This YA novel develops its characters and setting brilliantly, and never feels like a chore to read. Kerin’s descriptions of her fantasy world are dark and perfectly suit the atmosphere of the book. There is plenty to love in this novel and a sequel, Darkest Death, on the way.
2 Digital Lizards of Doom Trades Conventional Style For Uniqueness
Taking inspiration from video games, 90s cartoons, and psychedelic color schemes, Gabriel Valentin and Ernie Najera created Digital Lizards of Doom as a comedic and uniquely stylized comic that follows Dizzy Doom through the video game he is living in. Notably, the game is being played by Pineapple Pete, who makes frequent appearances throughout.
The book’s unique style is a split between a dialogue-heavy left page, styled after a conversation in a messaging app, and a splash page on the right depicting the scene being discussed. It’s a fresh, stylish story for comic readers and can be picked up here.
1 Nightmare Theater Brings Horror Home With Dozens of Indie Creators
Nightmare Theater is a massive horror anthology book consisting of over 35 stories across 272 pages. With works written by a myriad of authors, including some featured on this list, brought together by editors Clay Adams and D.E. Schrader, this anthology has a taste of everything horror and comic fans want.
From science fiction trips and Frankenstein-inspired works to body horror and slasher homages, Nightmare Theatre tackles every corner of horror. The anthology is bookended and interspersed by the tales of and introductions from the “Trio of Terror,” who have created the titular theater to feed their dark entity, lending the anthology an overarching narrative.
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