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Things change. I'm no longer able to patrol the internet to get information about all the Christian-created comics out there, but, since I still buy them, this little ol' site will now be for reviews of Christian-created comics (CCCs)...plus, maybe some other stuff as well, but CCCs will be the focus, I promise. I no longer want to give you non-critical information about these items - I want to inform you about what works, what is done well, where they dropped the ball, and where they royally blew it. Hopefully not much of the latter, but I'm going to try to call them as I see them.

My focus is going to cover the following:

Audience: Are these comics for Christians? Are the evangelistic? Are they just created by Christians outside the first two options?
Content: Whichever type they are, do they accomplish the task?
Story: Is it good? Does it make sense?
Art: Is it consistent?
Inside Story: Since I know some of these creators, hopefully I can give an insider's view of some of these titles, maybe short interviews, conversations, Q&A sessions with the creators.

I may be doing a version of my listing, but it won't be as comprehensive as I have tried to keep it...maybe a favorites list or something. I'll take suggestions. For the time being I'll be phasing out the listings, substituting reviews for them as I go, if I have read them. I have bo real rating system right now, but maybe that will change. I think it will be pretty clear what I think, though. Any questions, just ask!

If you want to send your own review, please do. I can't guarantee that it will make it on the site, but it will be nice to dialogue with some of you out there to see if you see what I see. I'm not perfect, I miss things, and I can sometimes be a little too critical, but I think this will be fun, for me and for you as well. Let's see what else we can change while we're at it, okay?

GBY
Steve MacDonald (stevemmacdonaldATmsnDOTcom)

The listed items are correct AS OF OCTOBER 11th, 2006, as far as I know.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------FEATURED REVIEW----------------------------------------------------
ArmorQuest: Genesis is out in a paperback compilation of all six issues! Sherwin Schwartzrock's art has been stripped back to black and white, and the contrast is amazing! Add Ben Avery's cool story on top of that and slap a $3.50 price tag on it - you heard me, 6 issues worth of comics for $3.50 - and I think this might just be the best comics package of 2006! Get 5 for under $20!

I've been a big pusher of this series since it came out in comic form and ran for three issues. I got a couple of the TPBs and spread the love around. My 5-year old loves the story - it covers a young boy discovering the Armor of God - but the story can be appreciated by young adults or even older! Good metaphors and allegories concerning Christian truths are all over this book, and the characters are fully fleshed out. Shwartzrock's art is perfect for this, with fantastic layout and character design as well as a style that gives the feel of the mythic. These two guys are part of the brain trust that is Community Comics, and they are intent on creating professional-grade, entertaining, morally uplifting material for all ages and the hit the nail solidly on the head with this series.

This would probably be best for young Christians, to spur them on to a deeper realationship with the King, but the story is pretty sound, and could be enjoyed by almost anyone. The Christian elements are not heavy-handed at all, but are pretty clear if you know what you're looking for. The six issues are self-contained, but form a larger story if read together or in series. It does leave off on a "Let's see what else is out there" kind of vibe, obviously setting up for a potential continuing series (or second limited series) but there are no dropped plot elements or threads. The story and art compliment each other, losing just a little in the black-and-white format (the color of some of the antagonists has minor importance, which is not evident in the B/W version). A solid package.

ArmorQuest: Genesis TPB                                          www.CommunityComics.com

Please scroll to bottom of page for places to purchase some of these titles!


CHRISTIAN-CREATED COMICS for 2006/2007

  • Christian Comic Books---------Available Now!

Cyberlight Comics website::If we told you that there was a website where you could just jump on and read over 240 megabytes of awesome comics from a ton of different genres, free with no catches, you would probably think that we are trying to pull an April Fool's joke on you! Luckily for you, we aren't! Cyberlight Comics is your one stop location for that comic itch! www.cyberlightcomics.com

December Sun #2 20 pages - Black & White - Rob Marsh - Tri Amoeba $1.50 ::A super hero adventure with interesting characters, lots of action, a somewhat interesting storyline, and allegorical Christian themes as the story unfolds. Available online at ComixPress

Riddler's Fayre #1 (of 5) graphic novel, color - story by Steve Caroll, art by Jeff Anderson / USHARP::Set in the 12th Century at the the time of "Crusade Fever", this series tells the story of a band of outcasts from medieval Europe's paranoid society, who are on a quest to solve a riddle tattooed on the arm of Aeden, a young Saxon boy who has lost his memory. www.undercurrentcomics.com/shop.html

Serenity #6 (of 6) digest-sized (manga), full color -  Buzz Dixon / Barbour;; www.barbourbooks.com

Sunblayde and the Justice Legion X-Treme #2 (vol. 2), online comic, color, written by Mark Hair, art by David Brame - Twelve Comics:: Downloadable, with some free pages to tempt you. www.12comics.com

Tempest #1 One-shot Comic-sized, color - Ben Avery and Randy Green, Javier Saltares, Sherwin Schwartzrock, Sergio Cariello, Mike Worley, Tom Bancroft, Phil Hester, Mario Ruiz, Gary Shipman, Darren Brady, Jesse Hamm, Tim Kane, Nate Watson, and Gary Martin / Alias Enterprises and Community Comics::  He's just an artist, a normal man who writes stories of heroics and tragedy. But now, surrounded by news of tragedy and disaster, confronted with his own limitations, and facing the lifting veil of innocence, he is forced to ask some difficult questions, starting with, “What can I do . . . I'm just one man . . .”   TEMPEST is a story of hope in the face of pain; beauty in the face of evil; strength in the face of solitary weakness.  TEMPEST is a 24 page jam benefit comic.  Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Hurricane Relief efforts of the Salvation Army.   www.aliasenterprises.com and www.communitycomics.com

Justice #7 (of 12)  Comic-book sized, color - story by Jim Krueger / DC Comics::  www.dccomics.com

Angeldreams #1, Color, CBS - Written by Mark Melton and Mark Jones, art by Mark Melton - Vision Land Comics::Spiritual warfare...it's more real than you believe! www.visionlandcomics.com

ArmorQuest TPB by Ben Avery and Sherwin Schwartzrock / Alias Enterprises and Community Comics::6 full issues. $3.50 www.aliasenterprises.com and www.communitycomics.com

Eye Witness: Acts of the Spirit (book two in the Eye Witness Graphic Novel Trilogy)-Robert James Luedke / Head Press Publishing::The tension builds, as the modern tale of mystery and political intrigue started in Book One, (A Fictional Tale of Absolute Truth), continues, while picking up Gospel story on the morning of the resurrection, through Saul's meeting with the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus.www.headpress.info

Spirit Warriors: A Graphic Novel , Stephen Baldwin - Broadman / Holman ::http://www.broadmanholman.com/productDetail.asp?isbn=0805443576

  • Christian Comic Books---------Autumn  2006

Code #1                                                                       www.TheGuardianLine.com

Fire from Heaven                                                          www.DustPress.com

Genesis 5 #1                                                                www.TheGuardianLine.com

The Hedge Knight hardcover                            www.Marvel.com

Joe and Max  #1                                                          www.TheGuardianLine.com

Justice #8 (of 12)                                                          www.DCComics.com

The Kidz of the King #13                                          www.TheKidzOfTheKing.com

Megazeen 12                                                                www.MegazeenOnline.com

Megazeen Presents: Peregrination of the Deliverer #1 www.MegazeenOnline.com

PowerMark #23                                                         www.PowerMarkComics.com

Shelter of Wings #1                                                      www.Brethren-et.com

*** GUEST REVIEW ***

I'd like to take the opportunity to comment on the 'Shelter of Wings' manga.  Hum, yes, well... I didn't like it.  The first bad impression it made was from my leafing through the book and coming across a horribly bad use of Japanese.  And not just bad, but utterly, utterly unnecessary, in such a way as to make me certain it was used for the sole sake of being pretentious.  Well, when I actually started the book I felt some confidence, since the author's note (wherein the author assures the reader that the book was not intended to glorify angels, but to glorify God) was very sincere and well-phrased.  I liked that, it made me feel confident this book was not going to, you know, be a cliched glorification of angels.  A few pages later the story starts, and its about semi-andorogynous, beautiful angels with super-powers, fighting dastardly evil, and using 'hip' teenage slang as they do...  Topped off by them using, no joke, the traditional battle choice of Sailor Moon, summoning up a jewelled rod with special powers and a really elaborate name...Urgh.  This was just a terrible second impression, and even though nothing after this made me grind my teeth, I just wasn't impressed.  The evil of the bad guys was banal, there was an irrelevant side-story detracting from the main story (in which the bad guys were actually comic relief), the hero was generally petty, none of the characters had much depth, the dialogue was flat and the humor terrible.  

Well, the art was good, but the creator seems to have a lot of trouble telling a story.  I was also a little offended that it was about someone who was not virtuous by virtue of upbringing or experience, but because she was one of God's "chosen".  I'm not in any position to argue about this, and I am aware there is biblical precedent (Paul for example), but as a reader I found this to be a cop-out in plot, as a philosopher I found this unsatisfying, and as a non-Christian (for future reference) I found the idea that God would be playing favorites to be unpleasant.  If you want to reach a wide audience of beliefs you want to instill in them the belief that God will reach everyone who has faith, not that God gives special passes to a select few. 

If I were to be more productive, the person is definitely doing a manga style, but missing a lot.  I would go with either a shonen (boys') style, or modernistic manga style, the shojo (girls') style has been used to present some serious issues, but is more often used for vanilla romances (as well as soft porn).  Also, having beautiful angels saving the day is, in my view, cheap, childish, and even a little disrespectful of the belief in a one almighty God.  As I see it, the heroine is characterized by two things, being a whiny teenager, and having survivor's guilt for surviving the accident that killed her mom.  That's... not much.  The main character should be complex.  One common tool in manga is to have a character be in the wrong, but move towards rehabilitation (it worked for Paul too!).  The story could probably work a lot better with two main characters, one of them a person with high ideals who sacrificed them for expedience, and is now regretting it.  The creator definitely has ambition and artistic talent, she just needs more work on character and depth. 

Well, not trying to start any fights, just giving my 20 or 30 cents. 

Smoke and Mirror (issues 7 and 8)                          www.Markosia.com

T-E-A #3                                                          www.original-tea.com

Welcome to Holsom Pack 6 (issues 16-18)                  www.WelcomeToHolsom.com


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Places to buy Christian comics or for more information:

CBD - Christian Book Distributors'
Sequential Art/Comics page
MEGAZEEN - Cheese-free comics at www.megazeenonline.com
Community Comics - For the community down the street and around the world.Christian Comics International - everything about Christian Comics!