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EARTH PRIME TIME: MONKEYBRAIN CREATOR-OWNED DIGITAL COMICS

Monkeybrain promo Dennis CulverMonkeybrain Comics is a new comic publisher from veteran Chris Roberson and his wife Allison Baker as an expansion of their 2001 company, Monkeybrain Books. The distribution model is the one fans have been looking forward to and big companies have been dreading for years. Single issues of creator-owned work debut on comixology, further increasing the momentum of the movement towards a digital marketplace. At $.99 for the first wave of issues, we take a tap and swipe at the Monkeybrain offerings and update you on the second tier of Monkeybrain titles announced this past week at San Diego Comic Con.

It is always exciting to keep up with the comic news, especially after a gigantic convention. Nothing particularly blew our minds this year from San Diego, though some of us are excited to see more Sandman from Neil Gaiman.

More important than any flashy headline is buzz about changes in the industry, and Monkeybrain’s panel announcements of top tier talent included a new book, “Wander” from Kevin Church (Agreeable Comics, twitterer) and Olive Hopkins, as well as “Intergalactic” from Joe Keatinge (Hell Yeah, Glory).

What does this all mean? Where is Superman, or Spider-Man? Why do I care if there are new comics coming out digitally?
Those are all fair questions, fake Deadpool voice in my head! An overstatement would be that this is as important as the Image Revolution in the ’90s.

A bunch of artists and writers straight up quit the big comic book companies to start their own company, retain creative control and, most importantly, creator rights.

Image has given us 20 years of the good vibes and is still true to the company mission statement. Founders like Erik Larsen (Chief Financial Officer) and Todd McFarlane (President) have kept their stories in Savage Dragon and Spawn going this whole time. Robert Kirkman of the juggernaut, The Walking Dead, is the current Chief Operating Officer.

An understatement would be to decry this launch of new books as having no impact on the market. With rising paper costs and the popularity of tablets upon which the comixology app is regularly available, we might find some consumers skipping the store on Wednesday to get these books.

In fact, in order to get these awesome new titles, you will need a computer, tablet or phone.

Roberson and Baker revealed on the John Siuntres’ Word Balloon podcast recently, in a pre-San Diego ‘Un Conventional Episode’ that the titles will be collected in print eventually, but fans will have to wait.

Here are some brief thoughts on “Wave 1″ of the Monkeybrain titles:

Edison Rex - Art by Dennis Culver

Edison Rex - Roberson / Culver "Hey, nice pad, mortal enemy! Do you have Kinect?"

Edison Rex #1 — Roberson / Culver
A superhero faces his greatest enemy and most formidable foe! Find out what happens to a super villain when forced to destroy his most valued possession!
Recommended if you like: Superman, Lex Luthor, Irredeemable, The Mighty, Incorruptible, Batman: The Brave and The Bold TV show.

Bandette - Art by Colleen Coover

"I had no idea you were in here, Mr. Draper!" Bandette - Art by Colleen Coover

Bandette #1 — Tobin / Coover
We don’t know much about the hero Bandette, except that she is cute, funny, could be a cat burglar and has a deliveryman boyfriend that scoots around for a restaurant called “Rad Thai”. Very cool looking book looking at a wise-cracking girl for once, flipping that tired Spider-Man trope on it’s ear!
Recommended if you like: Mad Men, Darwyn Cooke, Justice League: A New Frontier, pleated pants, berets, scarfs, Tex Avery Cartoons about the future.

Amelia Cole and the Unknown World - by Nick Brokenshire

"Oh Noes! Stupid birthday wand!" Amelia Cole and the Unknown World - by Nick Brokenshire

Amelia Cole and the Unknown World #1 — Knave, Kirkbride / Brokenshire / Deering
Amelia seeks help from her aunt with her spellbinding but puts Auntie in danger. What happens when the portal closes between worlds and Amelia has lost her wand? We love this already — Amelia is compelling young female lead that rivals the mystery of the good Dr. Strange!
Recommended if you like: Buffy, Dr. Strange, Memorial (Roberson), Smoke and Mirrors, magic, WoW, Twilight, Supergirl/Batgirl, Love and Rockets, Strangers in Paradise.

Aesop’s Ark - by Jennifer L. Meyer

Sad & Cute - Aesop’s Ark - by Jennifer L. Meyer

Aesop’s Ark #1 — J. Torres / Jennifer L. Meyer
Two by two, the animals are on the Ark. In this first book, a lion shares a parable of teamwork to make sure the boat isn’t sunk! This mash up of the comic medium with traditional children’s books is fun for everyone.
Recommended if you like: Fairy Tales, Fables, Dr. Seuss, Jack of Fables, children’s books, non-traditional comic book art, cute animals

October Girl - by Matthew Dow Smith

October Girl - by Matthew Dow Smith

October Girl #1 — Matthew Dow Smith
Matthew Dow Smith is known for having almost the same name of the actor playing Doctor Who as he is drawing the current series of Doctor Who books from IDW Publishing! This creator owned book is a passion project following the imagination of a barista discontent with her workaday life. Realistic acting and storytelling in the minimally colored book looks beautiful and the story captures you at the end of issue one. This book is a standout of the launch for sure. I most want to read issue 2 of this run after putting this one down.
Recommended if you like: Phonogram, Doctor Who, Darwyn Cooke, Tim Sale, Bruce Timm, Jeph Loeb, Batgirl: Year One, Strangers in Paradise, Coffee, Indie Music, DigBoston music coverage

Monkeybrain Comics can be found on Twitter. To follow the creators on twitter and read full bios, check out the Monkeybrain site. Also, you can follow ComiXology here.

If the new comics revolution will be tabletized, I’m on board!

EARTH PRIME TIME: MONKEYBRAIN CREATOR-OWNED DIGITAL COMICS by clay-fernald

BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE! CHECK OUT LEAGUEPODCAST.COM — BOSTON’S COMIC BOOK AND POP CULTURE PODCAST — “Thinking about Comics since 2009″!

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