- Posted by Johanna on April 22, 2006 at 10:54 pm
- Category: Comic News, Indy Comic Reviews
- PUBLISHER: Boom! Studios
I’m rather impressed by Boom! Studios‘ success. They’ve developed a couple of clearly understandable niches — more on that later — and they’re not aiming for more growth than they can handle. When they launch titles, they do so with focus, one at a time, instead of scatter-gunning the market. Their books have recognizable names doing good work and are well-reviewed (and they support the press nicely). Boom! books have been selling out as word spreads, but they don’t crow about disappointing customers (because that’s what sellouts ultimately mean).
So what are the books like?
One of their popular lines is Zombie Tales, 48 pages of horror stories published in color Prestige Format-like books for $7. Three one-shot anthologies collect work by writers such as Mark Waid, Keith Giffen, and several folks labeled TV writers. (With the company headquartered in Los Angeles, that’s not surprising.)
I don’t much care for zombie comics, but it’s certainly a timely subject and a hot genre. Given my taste, I was surprised that the first story in Zombie Tales: Oblivion, about zombies in the Arctic, was so thought-provoking. John Rogers writes a fresh take on the subject, and Tom Fowler’s art is clear, easy-to-read, and not overly gory. It uses detail instead of overkill to build horror.
Mike Nelson and Andy Kuhn put together an action piece with a killer punchline I could really get behind, while Mark Waid and Mark Badger contribute a story that uses mass apocalypse as background for a greeting-card-style reminder about what’s really important in life. The rest weren’t as memorable, with a reliance on the black humor that’s so common in the genre. Keith Giffen writes something set in Washington, DC, for Ron Lim to draw, and then Giffen draws something overwritten by Johanna Stokes.
There’s also a two-issue miniseries called Death Valley, which reads like a combination of Night of the Comet, Cujo, and Dawn of the Dead if populated by the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In other words, it all feels familiar, but I was still rooting for the characters, even through the increasingly more unbelievable final chapter. The art by Rhoald Marcellus has a lot to do with keeping me interested, as does the longer length, which allowed me to get to know the characters.
I’m going to cover their other titles in a later post. Their website appears to be a work in progress, since several of the navigation links (including Contact) don’t work yet. If you’d like to find out more, though, they have a blog and a message board.