Some new comics I found out at the Baltimore Comiccon

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While at the con, I tried to keep an eye out for those new writers who embody the diversity that so many of us craze, particularly in the area of own voices. I know I missed some how new voices out there of every kind, but these are the ones that grabbed my attention.

First of all, there’s Youneek Studios, which has brought us E.X.O. – The Legend of Wale Williams Part One: A Superhero Graphic Novel (Wale is pronouned Wah-leh), available at their home store or Amazon, just follow the title links. Here’s the back cover info:

Featured on CNN, FORBES, BBC and more, E.X.O. The Legend of Wale Williams Part 1 is a science fiction superhero story about redemption, set in a futuristic, 2025 Africa! The 136 page graphic novel follows the journey of Wale Williams, an impetuous young adult who inherits a suit with super powers after his father goes missing. Tricked into returning home to Lagoon City, Nigeria following a five year absence, Wale embarks on a journey to investigate his father s mysterious disappearance. As he comes to understand the suit s powers, Wale realizes he must restore hope to his city by preventing catastrophic attacks from the sociopathic, Oniku, leader of an extremist group called The CREED.

That’s right, a new set of superheroes based out of Africa. If you go to their website (linked above), you’ll see the author, Roye Okupe, was born in Nigeria. He lives in the US now, but sources his the rest of his team from Nigeria (editing, different kinds of design, stuff you need to make a finished product). I saw him at the booth, but didn’t get a chance to talk. Okay, I’m way too much of an introvert to have actually spoken to any of the artist or writers, but I can share their work anyway. It looks like an interesting book and it’s going on my TBR.

Plume grabbed my attention becuase it is woman-written (by K Lynn Smith) and it had an interesting asthetic. Here’s the back cover info:

Plume is a western webcomic about Vesper Grey and her supernatural (and reluctant) guardian Corrick. On their way to recover some stolen artifacts, they start to uncover the gritty truth about their pasts and learn that the West is anything but tame.

Recipes for the Dead also looked cool. It was created by Greentea Publishing, which was founded by Vera Greentea. She actually has a few books that she’s published, all of which look interesting and can be found on the publishing house’s site, linked above. They will also be on my TBR.

There is The Exiled Seven, which is a new book series by Blake Renworth that takes a different kind of twist on the Snow White series. It goes beyond reimagining and changes around the dynamics of some of the characters. Here’s the back cover info:

When Alariq is exiled from his home city-state for a crime he did not commit, only six stand by his side, convinced of his innocence and steadfast in their loyalty.

The seven dwarfs must set out from Ishtara to look for a new place to call home, but in doing so, they make a discovery that puts them all in danger. They are rescued and taken in by a mysterious and beautiful outsider, who lives alone in the depths of Loraheem Forest. What follows is Alariq’s struggle to come to terms with his exile, as those around him seek to make a place for themselves in this new life. Soon, however, it becomes clear their situation is more complex than they initially realized, and they begin to wonder if there is more behind Alariq’s exile than simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Told in a unique storyteller voice, this reversal and reimagining of the classic fairy tale explores the themes of shattering betrayal, the subsequent struggle to trust again, and the basic desire to take control of one’s own destiny.
My favorite thing about Renworth’s advertisement of her work was that she had the first page printed and folded into sealed letters that she was giving away. I was going to pick it up later anyway, but I read through that first page and it looks like it’s going to be plenty of fun.
Little Wolf is written by Jesse Cowan, who did have his own booth and I did speak to for a few seconds. He had a video trailer of his comic series and it engrossed my son for long enough that it would have been impolite to not say hi. Native American is one of those hertiages where I have a hard time speculating on, since there a myriad of experiences and appeareances and one should not diminish their appeareances or behavior to just one story, but that leaves me with an uncertainty of whether this is an “own voices”story. Nevertheless, it is historical fiction, set in a time before English and Spanish settlers. We went ahead and bought the first chapter, which was pretty cute.
It’s essentially about a boy who wants to grow up way too fast. He wants all the respect and benefits of being an adult but doesn’t yet understand the price they pay for it. The website has relatively little and there’s even less to find about the author online, but I enjoyed the story, as did my son, who is closer to the age group it is aimed at. It’s kind of a pre-teen story. Okay, he’s five years old, but that’s still way closer to pre-teen than I am. He’s also had an obsession with wolves lately and is not yet ready to learn about the Native American heritage he has on his father’s side. That said, we’ll probably continue with the story.

And then there’s Phillip H. Screwdriver, Last of the Real Men Private Investigators, also available at Amazon at the title link. This one caught my attention (for blog purposes) due solely to the back of the card in the picture where it says that this hero is transgender. Unfortunately, I can’t find anything that substantiates that online. There is absolutely no indication of how well this is handled by the comic or if the author identifies as transgender, so there’s no way to know if it’s an “own voices” type of superhero comic either.

This is all it has for back cover info online:

You want a plot summary? Ok. It’s the story of Thor (not that dreamy Chris Hemsworth) or the love child of Elvis and Mickey Spillane or the Godfather’s son in witness protection. It’s a satirical view of society from the hooded eyes of the Last of the Real Men Private Investigators! A parody of the hard-boiled, film noir detective genre, it murderizes pop icons and trends past and present that really need murderizing.

I’d like to take a chance on it and be pleasantly surprised after all the horrible ways I’ve seen trans characters treated over the years, but it’s a little out of my “give it a chance” price range for now. I try my chances at the library most often, or for under $5. This one starts at $20ish. Call me cheap, but I’d rather spend $20 on a sure thing.

If anyone else reads it or has read it already, let me know if it’s worth it.

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