Small Press Sunday: Broken Icon Comics
Fearless readers, I bring to you a small publisher on the brink of blowing up. It almost feels like I’m lying, saying they are small, when they have titles represented in five different countries and are available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles online. Broken Icon Comics is an independent publisher with an in house studio based out of Marietta, Ohio in the United States. Amongst their titles they have creator owned: HunterPrey, Sevara, the Calamitous Black Devils, Stuck, and G-Raver. Their studio produces some quality company owned comics like Nightmare Unknown and Chosen.
While Broken Icon Comics only operates in a handful of states and operates primarily in the Ohio Valley, they are expanding by the end of the year. Add to that four more series starting in May, and five more before the end of 2015, and you have some explosive potential.
Want some proof? Well here are some brief reviews of some of their charter comics.
The Horror Show is a tried and true story of a man with a curse with an interesting framing and a slightly more developed twist. When two friends escape for some rest and relaxation in, of all things, a cabin in the woods, undead horros begin to rise. The zombies are just part of a “Scared Stupid” style television show, but the protagonists reaction is anything but funny. The first issue is entertaining and fresh, especially if you are a fan of the horror genre.
Grocery Assassin: Maddox, Watkins, Kelly
Grocery Assassin had me laughing from the first page. For those of you who enjoy playing video games such as Hitman, or find yourselves daydreaming about comics in the most unlikely of places, this comic is totally for you. Witty visual jokes, fun one-liners and creative, movie-like splatter kills make this comic a must read for anyone who wants to really enjoy smiling.
HunterPrey: KJM, Pineda
This book is most certainly a more serious title with a little less elegance than the Horror Show. By no means does this diminish the book itself. With a story focused around inmates being trapped in a prison with something far worse than any of them, you get the satisfying drama of a prison story as well as the horror aspects you’d expect from nowhere-to-run tale of terror. This title also showcases a more adult side to Broken Icon’s current line up.
Nightmare Unknown: Maddox, Dumo, Popov
For those of you who enjoy noir stories, this series is for you. With a suitable mystery, you find yourself trying to puzzle out not only his current troubles, but his enigmatic and supernatural backstory. With a dash of action and a cliff hanger ending, any fan of Sin City will be hooked for the long haul.
No doubt about it, zombies are in and are here to stay. No self respecting publisher would be complete without at least one zombie survival story and Broken Icon is no different. As the book states early on, this story is about the survivors, and judging by some of the cover art, the story may be more involved that your typical scavenge and stay-alive tale. For flesh-eater aficionados, this title won’t disappoint.
G-Raver: Watkins, Wentland, Graver
It’s always nice to have a story based on reality. I’m not saying this story about a wrestler traveling down the road of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer is rooted in reality, but the main character IS based on Brandon Graver. If you like stories about the lone wolf surviving a higher purpose, or if you just like Whedon-esque writing, this comic is for you.
I had the opportunity to interview the Director of Operations at Broken Icon Comics, Eric Watkins. With such great comics on the way, I decided to see what exactly they were aiming to achieve.
CB: So Eric, I was wondering if you could tell me what Broken Icon is trying to bring to the table, your mission statement, and what you think sets you apart from the other small publishers out there?
Watkins: Our mission statement is simple: bring gripping comics that are visually appetizing and have edge to the market. With that goal we have grown from doing a few studio titles to searching out quality creator owned titles and developing a series of short stories as well. What separates us from other independent publishers is two things. One, we have a very involved editing system that few independent labels have. Editing is a multi-staged process carried out at various stages of the creation process by various editors. And two, we don’t put all our eggs into one basket. We strive to bring graphic novels, singles and shorts to our readers every year in either print or digital forms.
CB:I’ve had the priveledge of reading both the Horror Show and Grocery Assassin. These are some pretty great stories, but I’ve got to ask, are they just one shot short stories, or ongoing titles?
Watkins: Grocery Assassin was a one and done book. It was something that was supposed to be fun and entertaining. The same should have been said for The Horror Show but the sheer popularity and stellar reviews have led us to extend the series to an ongoing title.
CB: You have a comic that involves some local celebrities there in Ohio. Could you tell me a little it about that?
Watkins: The celebrities are a little bit more spread out. I came up with a title, G-Raver, that has a professional wrestler using his trade to cover up him hunting anomalies in our world. The title features Brandon Graver, a professional wrestler from Philadelphia, Pa. Brandon is insane in the ring and has an incredible skill set that made him the perfect hero for this book. But a great story and wrestler is nothing without an artist to match. For this I brought in the incredible, Nicholas “Iowa” Wentland of Iowa obviously. He is a former bass player for a signed metal band, Facecage. We are bringing hardcore to a whole new level with this book.
CB: In your emails, you mention you have some comics coming out in may, and more coming out next year. Do you have a little taste of what we can expect, or what your goal is with the line ups you’ve chosen?
Watkins: May will be the release of the first of many creator owned titles; The Calamitous Black Devils by Joseph Schmalke and Stuck by Jordan Lowe and Ansley McDaniel. As for titles in our stable already, The Horror Show #2 by James Maddox and Todd Beistel will be released. We are also aiming for an entire volume of G-Raver every year. On the short story side, those will start being released under our short story series, Broken Archives. The first of these stories will be Alone by veteran writer, KJ Mendenhall and Venezuelan artist, Edixon Rodriguez. 2015 will see even more releases as Damian Wampler’s Sevara and The Cowboy Gauntlet featuring Patrick Mulholland will lead the way. We have very high expectations for the product we are putting in reader’s hands.
So there you have it. With the briefest look, Broken Icon has created some high expectations. So keep an eye out for their logo, so you don’t miss out on some strong storytelling this May and into next year.