Topic: Comic Books - New
I met several creators this year at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con International, (SDCCI), whose work was new to me, either at Artists Alley, Small Press Area, or at their Publisher Booths.
This will be the first blog of a series about those publications with a photo of the creator as seen at the SDCCI .
Robert Roach of Hometown Productions has a 4 issue mini series on a character called 'The Roach' that has been published and is for sale. Although the enigmatic anti-hero, who is a detective/assassin in this mini-series carries the same name as his own surname, this is not an 'auto-biographical' work!
The Roach's storyline takes place during the era when Chicago was a prohibition battleground. In the series both the cops and gangsters clashed with each other and with the man named 'The Roach'. The Roach is a vigilante who acts as his own judge, jury, and executioner in this somewhat violent but true to the era's violent times.
The Roach is more of a crimefighter in the pulp books vein, like the Green Hornet or the Spirit, but he is different enough from the others to have him stand out in any comparisons to those other characters.
Robert's storyline is one that kept my interest from the very beginning all the way through the final double-sized issue. Yes, he uses sex, money, and violence as ingredients to tell his story, but it all jells together to present a story with plenty of attitude!
Yes, there are racial overtones told in this story arc. The N-word is used in different variations. The white vs. black culture is shown for all of its pluses and minuses and is not used just for shock value.
The consortium of white crime lords posing as a cult of do-gooders is not new, but Robert mixes it up with bringing in a black minister who sells out his people for some portion of the white man's cash and power.
There have been other creators that have explored this era, both in comics and pulps, but I found Robert's mini-series to be the best series I have read in this genre. And no, I didn't mean to just say the 'best independent comics series'. This body of work is darn good and worthy of more exposure to the reading public!
Why? I've just mentioned the storyline so far, which kept my attention and made me want to continue into the next issue. Roach's artwork was an immediately likeable style, and 'improved' over the additional months that it took to bring each of the following issues out to publication.
The front covers are the only thing that are not his. Those color covers are by J.H. Williams III, which really bring out the fact that the interior pages are black and white. Yes, readers expect a color cover, but the black and white reality shown inside the comics lends a credibility to the story arc. I for one liked the fact that the pages were shown via black and white printing instead of color!
So now I've told you of this creation that I found at the SDCCI. That 'The Roach' is a four-issue mini-series that is best described as a black & white comic book mini series that pushes “crime noir” to a new extreme. All that is left now is to tell you how to get it! Because sometimes 'independent publishers publications' are just a little hard to obtain you know due to distribution!
I asked Robert Roach how others can obtain his series. The following is what he messaged back to me:
"Yes, all 4 are available. But the 1st print of issue #1 is down to 25 left (print run of 1,000). I may run a 2nd print in the future, after all are gone. However, I have a limited advance printing of issue #1, with my embossed seal of authenticity, available after the others are gone. This run was limited to 500 & I think we have 150 of these left. There WON'T BE a 2nd printing of this particular book.
Retailers are able to order back issues thru Haven Distributors. Fans can order thru their shops or directly from us at our website. Just hit the 2nd "gargoyle" from the right on the Home Page or scroll down to the shopping cart."
Robert is referring to his Hometown Productions web site that can be found at: http://www.hometownprods.com
Again, this is one series that I enjoyed from beginning to end within each issue. That is saying something in today's world because quite often the 'floppies' single issues are just one big story arc meant to be immediately published into a trade paperback compilation format.
Which to answer your immediate question now that I brought it up... Robert added this about a possible TPB when I asked him if there was already one or if he was thinking about printing one right away:
"No, I haven't. But when I do:
That about wraps it up for this review. One of the highlights from the San Diego Comic Con International that I have been pleased to read at home for my 'fun' reading!
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