Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable decline in the mainline Comic Book Industry, and it’s been across the board. The storytelling has begun to favor political pandering over constructing a cohesive narrative, the art has become sloppy and uninspired, and the editing has been criminally bad. Recently, I have become fully introduced and engrossed in the indie scene of books, specifically crowdfunded books. At this point, I have gotten a chance to read a lot of books, and they have all been enjoyable reads, with a few standouts like David Brink’s Perfect 10, and Dream Girl (which I will be doing a review of here soon) or Paige Alfred’s Chess (which again, I will be providing a review for) and now I have another name to add to that list of standouts: Terralympus by Stephen Kok and Shaun Keenan.
Terralympus is a sci-fi adventure set in space years after the destruction of earth and honestly reminds me of a lot of the Mass Effect Franchise except without aliens (that we know of yet anyways). This first issue has a lot going for it. It introduces a really cool concept and the world, it has really interesting characters that even within just one issue you get really attached to, but most importantly, this book has some of the prettiest art that I have ever seen.
The first thing that you will notice about the interior art by Von Randal (other than just how gorgeous it is) is that it’s black and white. Most comics nowadays go for color, and so while going black and white was a risk, it was certainly a risk worth taking because honestly the black and white provide this brilliant atmosphere that defines this book. Honestly, the way that the inks provide the depth on the page is brilliant and honestly, I feel that there is no colorist in the world that could improve this artwork any more than what is presented here with color. If it weren’t enough that the artwork is fantastic, it also has some of the most dynamic paneling I have seen in a book in a long time. There is a sparring match between the main character and her superior officer very early in the book that really just set a new bar for me as to how hand to hand fighting should be done in comics.
While Terralympus vol 1 is probably one of the best reads I have had since starting my journey through crowd funded projects, there is one singular glaring issue I had with it. It’s really a shame because honestly I have no idea how I would have fixed this problem myself, but there is a 3 or 4 page exposition dump in this issue that really slows the pace of the issue. It’s completely necessary as it serves to world build, but I just feel that much exposition should be paced throughout an issue rather than lumped together in a single conversation. However, again it’s a minor nitpick that I have with the book that honestly doesn’t take away from the rest of the overall quality.
Terralympus Vol 1 has everything the current industry is lacking: style, substance, vision and passion. Between this and the other books I have read over the past week, I am not sure I will be returning to mainstream comics. Crowdfunding is more affordable and provides consistently good quality (and it has to in order to be successful). So while I may pick up an occasional issue of a favorite character, I think I am going to reserve my money for the books like this that have earned it. Stephen Kok is running a campaign on Kickstarter right now for both Vol 1 & 2 (which I will definitely be doing a follow up review on as soon as I have read it), so go on ahead and take a look at the perk tiers that they are offering. Be sure to show some support for this book and help promote these Indie creators. Crowdfunding very well may be the future of this industry, so be sure to do your part in keeping it around!