This past weekend was Cincy Comic Con, which is a great convention if you ever find yourself in the Midwest. It is the one show which gives you very easy access to creators not just to sign books, but to ask questions and have a conversation.
On top of my normal duties of podcast bumps and creator interviews, I had the time to sit down and really talk with some smaller publishers who came out to the show. I had a great conversation with the guys over at Broken Icon Press.
No matter how great they seemed after our conversation, a great conversation does not always mean great comic books. I had planned on highlighting a couple of the indie publishers this week, but **spoiler** I was so blown away with Frank #1 that, without much thought, I realized this was the only book I really wanted to talk about.
Frank #1 (Broken Icon)
You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks. Well in the case of Frank #1, you can teach an old zombie some new tricks.
The zombie genre has gone beyond the point of saturation and seems to be on the decline.
That is not to say The Walking Dead is not as popular as it once was, but the constant bombardment of zombie stories across comics and most media, is beginning to get tired and worn out.
Occasionally, something new and interesting has come along. The New Deadwardians was an interesting take by placing zombies and vampires into separate classes and throwing them into Victorian England. Even Action Lab’s Ghoul Scouts felt fresh because it was a toned down, PG-rated version of kids dealing with zombies. I am happy to put Frank by Broken Icon into taking that genre and turning it on its head.
We meet the titular character, he is not only a brainless zombie, but also as a ghost who haunts himself. The only problem is that the ghost side of Frank is not mindless like his undead counterpart, but instead a fully functioning, speaking ghost. Ghost Frank has to learn to control his zombie counterpart and figure out why Ghost Frank still remains on this plane of existence.
When we first meet Frank the ghost, we as an audience begin to feel a bit sympathetic towards our hero, but as the issue goes on, we realize that Frank is not a sad sack, but a more layered character.
We have a great premise and great character development, but we do not get there without some top notch dialogue. Many true indie books that I have read get bogged down in explanation and text boxes. Not here. Writer Eric Watkins belongs in the conversation with any larger company stable of writers.
The art by Todd Beistel is great as well. It certainly has the feel of an independent comic with heavy blacks and lots of scratchiness to the art. That is not necessarily a bad thing. If you look at any issue of The Walking Dead, it still has the very same feel throughout the entire series.
Ratings: 5 out of 5
Do yourself a favor and head over to Broken Icon Comics for Frank #1. $2.00 for a digital version or $10 for a hard copy with an original sketch on every copy.