10 Best New Indie Comics of 2021


2021 has been a banner year for the independent comics scene, despite the challenges facing the industry as a whole. Publishers like Image Comics and Dark Horse were joined by newcomers like Scout Comics, Artists Writers & Artisans (AWA), Vault Comics, and others in the independent scene.

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The past year has also seen several established creators step away from their work on major publications to create their own characters in an independent comic. While many of these comics were well received by readers, some books stood out among the rest.

ten Not all Mark Russell and Mike Deodato Jr’s robots are entertaining and challenging

Mark Russell had a great year – not only writing stellar works for DC and Marvel – but also a few creator-owned titles that gave readers more than their bang for their buck. Russell has finished Second Coming: Only Son for AHOY, but it launched the limited series dead box from Vault Comics and My fault by AHOY Comics.

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The top creator-owned series he launched in 2021 was Not all robots from Artists Writers & Artisans (AWA) with artist Mike Deodato Jr. The story, set in the year 2056, finds human labor replaced by robots. It explores the difficult coexistence between intelligent robots and the ten billion humans living on Earth. Like his other works, Russell’s story is both entertaining and filled with thought-provoking social commentary.

9 A post-apocalyptic world and music come together in adulthood What’s the farthest place from here?

What is the farthest place from here? is the post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story from creative team Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Banks and Image Comics. Beginning with the end of the world, this coming-of-age story is about survival and serves as a love letter to music and the importance of vinyl records. The series goes one step further for readers by offering fantastic story and art as well as a limited edition 7-inch disc, which is limited to 3,000 copies and features indie, punk and hardcore bands who not only provide the original strip, but serve as inspiration for the comic strip. The first disc contains a haunting Lionel Richie cover All night (all night) by Blake Schwarzenbach and OMD’s heartbreaking version of Joyce Manor Memory.

8 In the world of Scouting honor, being always prepared is just the beginning

Scout’s Honor – by David Pepose, artist Luca Casalanguida and Aftershock Comics – tells the story of a cult in a post-nuclear war world that bases its survival on an old Boy Scout playbook. Part madmax meets Mulane with nuggets of The hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Taleand Planet of the Apes combine to provide readers with a non-stop story.

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Launching in January 2021, the series follows the protagonist, Kit, who concealed her identity as a woman to join the Ranger Scouts. The secret she learns could destroy what’s left of society. Peposed (Spencer & Locke, going to the chapel) expertly constructs a story that forces Kit to survive both his fellow Ranger Scouts and the horrors that await him in the Colorado Badlands.

seven Crimson Flower mixes Russian folk tales, government conspiracies and one woman’s quest for revenge

Crimson Flower is a creative mix of blending folk lore and reality

crimson flower from Dark Horse Comics, written by Matt Kindt, is a harrowing journey through Russian folk tales, but with trained assassins and government conspiracy. As she tracks down the man responsible for her family’s death, Rodion discovers that the government is plotting to weaponize folk tales and use them to turn children into super-assassins. Consequently, the boundaries between reality and fantasy become more difficult to discern. Not only is Kindt’s writing top notch, but Matt Lesniewski’s art styles add another level to the story – an incredible journey unlike anything in the comics.

6 Red Room is Fantagraphics’ dark take on the web’s darker pursuits

Red Room tells tales of the dark side of the internet

Ed Piskor, the creator behind Hip-hop family tree and X-Men: Grand Designpresented to readers Red room: the antisocial network, which is an adult cyberpunk, outlaw, splatterpunk masterpiece from Fantagraphics. This monthly comic book series follows the stories of a subculture of criminals who livestream and frequent murders via webcam for entertainment. They do this via the dark web and using an almost untraceable cryptocurrency.

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Each issue of the twelve-part series tells a self-contained story that takes place in the universe of the book and is loosely connected, while taking no hits when it comes to actions and depictions. Piskor’s writing and characters give the series just enough grit and edginess to shock readers, but keep them coming back for more.

5 Jeff Lemire’s Labyrinth Continues the Creators’ Exploration of the Human Condition on the Illustrated Page

Labyrinth is the story of a lonely building inspector who mourns the loss of his puzzle-loving daughter. He receives a mysterious phone call from someone claiming his daughter is trapped in the middle of a maze. Written, drawn and colored by creator Jeff Lemire, this Dark Horse Comics series is an ambitious and haunting series that tackles themes such as family, grief and reality. Not only does the narration measure up to Lemire’s other works, such as Essex County and sweet tooth, Labyrinth also features his unique and organic art style, adding another layer to this already haunting five-issue series. Labyrinth is a must-read for fans of Lemire’s previous works and for newcomers to indie comics.

4 We Don’t Kill Spiders is a murder/mystery story set in the Viking Age

Scout Comics, which began publishing comics in 2019, has become one of the fastest growing and fastest growing independent comic book publishers in the industry. This rapid growth, even during the ongoing pandemic, is mainly due to comics like Joseph Schmalke’s. We don’t kill spiders. Set in the early Viking Age, the series tells the story of a faithless Norse detective investigating a series of murders in a Scandinavian hamlet. The detective must team up with a local necromantic witch (a community outcast) to solve this mystery. Not only does the story eschew the usual tropes, but it’s an exciting spin on both Viking Age history and murder/mystery stories.

3 Scott Snyder continues to develop his independent comic book work in Image Comics’ Nocterra

Scott Snyder's Nocterra will have you scared of the dark

Fresh out of his time as the architect of the DC Universe, Scott Snyder continues his creative work by launching Nocterra (with artist Tony Danial) following a successful Kickstarter campaign for the series, which was later picked up by Image Comics. The story takes place ten years after a world is plunged into eternal night. Living creatures risk being turned into monstrous shadows, and the only way to survive is to rely on artificial light.

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Skilled smuggler Valentina “Val” Riggs must navigate the wastelands in her brightly lit eighteen-wheeler as she transports people and goods along deadly unlit roads in search of sanctuary. The series is the perfect blend of horror, sci-fi, post-apocalypse, and superhero elements, all of which combine to tell an unforgettable story.

2 Stray Dogs is a horror story told from the perspective of man’s best friend

Image Comic's Stray Dogs Will Ask You If Humans Are Really A Dog's Best Friend

Take a touch of Disney The Lady and the Tramp, a pinch of Illumination Entertainment Secret Life Of Pets, a slice of Sevenand a good portion of Thesilenceofthelambs, and Stray dogs from Image Comics would be the result. From the twisted minds of Tony Fleece and Trish Forstner, this five-issue limited series mimics the styles of Don Bluth’s All Dogs Go To Heaven (minus the good feelings).

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When dog Sophie finds herself in a new home without her previous owner, she realizes something terrible has happened but can’t remember any specific details. The story is told from the perspective of the dogs as they try to find out what is going on in the master’s forbidden room.

1 Radiant Black has the potential to be Image Comics’ next big property

Brilliant black by Kyle Higgins and Marcelo Costa is a reimagining of the superhero genre. It combines elements of iconic characters to create a modern hero. Protagonist Nathan Burnett – a struggling writer – hits rock bottom. In debt and living with his parents, he discovers the cosmic RADIANT. After unlocking it, it has the power to change his life. However, celestial beings who have lost the cosmic RADIANT want it back and are not afraid to use any means necessary to do so. With excellent storytelling, character development, and exceptional art, this sentai-inspired hero is sure to be Image Comics’ next big property.

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