The Outhouse reviews Nix Comics Quarterly, a Columbus, Ohio small press anthology.
At every comic convention, there are a bevy of independent comics waiting to be looked at. From the standard superhero fare to the truly bizarre, it can be hard to pick out the good from the bad. Luckily, Nix Comics, a small press publisher operating out of Columbus, Ohio, has published the first quarterly anthology that's sure to please everyone.
Ken Eppstein, the publisher-in-chief at Nix, has put together an impressive collection of interesting tales that appeal particularly to the horror crowd. Most of his longer pieces involve a horror element of some kind, while his one-page stories serve as humorous spacers between his longer stories. Eppstein also provides an extensive letters page and brief synopses of all his stories at the end of the book. It's a fascinating look into the creative process and creates a more intimate read than the average comic book.
Eppstein's opening piece in the anthology, "The Devil and Ellis Church", is easily his strongest. With quality art by Ryan Brinkerhoff, "The Devil and Ellis Church" touches upon the comparisons between a creator signing a record deal and selling his soul to the devil. It's an interesting analogy that resonates strongly when reading an anthology that prides itself in only borrowing the rights to a story for a modest period of time instead of owning them outright. Another one of Eppstein's stronger tales is a political piece called "Man Kills, God Kills". Eppstein and artist Darren Merinuk craft a Poe-esque end to a hate-filled protester at a soldier's funeral. This story resonated strongly with me in light of the recent tragedy in Arizona and news that various fringe organizations were looking to exploit the tragedy for their own gain. Eppstein covers a remarkable range of story ideas, ranging from humorous looks at the mundane or encounters with the paranormal in everyday life. Each story succinctly drives its point home, wasting little panel space. While most comics give only a sixth of a story in twenty-two pages, Nix Comics Quarterly provides six.
Nix Comics is one of hundreds of fascinating small press publishers etching out unique and wonderful stories that only a select few will get to enjoy. It was a great gateway into the world of small press and proof that creators don't need a big publisher to succeed. I look forward to many more enjoyable stories from Nix Comics in the future.
Nix Comics Quarterly can be purchased online at www.nixcomics.com or at several locations around Columbus. Nix Comics is also looking for submissions for its next publication. Both artists and writers are encouraged to apply. See www.nixcomics for more detail.
Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer