Comichaus is an online comic book marketplace, and is also a store for indie creatives to sell their work. This inaugural issue of what will be a monthly anthology pulls together new works from several of them, featuring the initial instalments of several new ongoing stories.
Things begin strong with Karyn Shade, featuring its eponymous protagonist become stranded somewhere in the untamed wilds of eastern Scotland. Like a hybrid of Lisbeth Salander and Buffy Summers in a really bad mood, Karyn is a barely contained storm of irate fury. While it’s entirely possible she’s a carefree and agreeable young woman outwith the context of being marooned in the arse end of nowhere, it seems unlikely. The story is clearly soon to head down the gothic horror route, but with a foul-tempered, genre savvy and eternally snarky heroine at the fore who strides towards “a really big creepy looking house” in full acknowledgment of how ill-advised an idea that is, we’re sure to be in for a few surprises.
In Feather, a new strain of avian flu has begun ravaging the planet, which if the apparent flash forward of the first page is anything to go by, will not end well. Meanwhile, we follow Doug, a police officer in a small town somewhere in rural America going about his evening in an easygoing way as the epidemic slowly finds its way to the isolated settlement. The story is heavy in dialogue, allowing us to get to know the few characters introduced and get a feel for the slow pace of the lives they lead. Tantalisingly vague clues are dropped about the direction in which it’s heading, but offers nothing definitive yet.
Suited and Booted is a sci-fi tale relating humanity’s colonisation of Mars and its subsequent fall and enslavement by ruthless and pitiless alien invaders christened the Breakers. The reminiscence takes us past the domed settlements and heavy industry of Mars’ initial terraforming, then the twinkling lights of futuristic urban utopia, before finally the cuboid pits of a strip-mined hellscape. It’s entirely backstory and only reveals its protagonist in the final panel, but sets things up nicely for a saga of bloodthirsty vengeance.
With an intriguing hybrid setting of Western mixed with fantasy, The Troubleshooters follows a pair of gunslingers crossing a stretch of desert badlands on their dragon mounts. Who they are, where they came from, what they want and even their names are all still unknown, but it’s precisely that mystery that ensures you want more of the story. The monochrome watercolour of the artwork reflects the setting, as though the pages, seemingly stained with the arid dust of the lawless frontier, are as old as the tale itself.
In Mortality, a simple pick up for one of the Grim Reaper’s assistants becomes complicated by his charge Morton refusing to accept the situation as presented to him. It soon becomes clear something unusual is going on, but exactly what remains to be seen. The jet-black backgrounds create a suitably sinister atmosphere; contrasting nicely with the ethereal glow of otherworldly conjurations and the bright light of flames you can practically hear crackling.
Ending with the sole one-shot of the issue, Mum & Dad is a nightmarish horror told from the perspective of a small child. Playing on kids’ suspicions that their parents aren’t entirely truthful to them, it pulls you along with the shock of little Jimmy’s discovery, ending on a revelation that manages to be both poignant and tragic, while at the same time also grimly humorous.
akin to an indie 2000 AD, Comichaus has the breadth of writing and artistic talent
at its disposal to go the distance of its renowned forebear. While each of the
tales are still properly finding themselves, the engaging openings promise
greater things to come.
COMICHAUS #1 / AUTHOR AND ARTIST: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: COMICHAUS / RELEASE DATE: 1ST SEPTEMBER