Kelly Bender is one of my favorite indie writers, his books are fun and well written, and he always finds a fantastic crew of artists whose art compliment the storylines. Kelly is enthusiastic about writing and creating, collaborating with a variety of indie artists, and sharing with fans through social media and appearances at cons. In short, Kelly is a great guy with some wonderful ideas and creations that he is more than proud of. This is just a quick rundown of four of Kelly’s creations from the indie comic publisher Insane Comics.
First book I read was “Convoy of Corpses” illustrations by Van Choran, inks by Ivan Miranda colored by Amitabha Naskar, and lettered by Nic J Shaw. Convoy of Corpses is a gritty, realistic, and an eye opening look at a group of soldiers trying to traverse the most dangerous highway in Afghanistan. The thing about this book is that I feel an immense amount of gratitude for soldiers and reading something so real like this only makes that feeling grow. I truly feel like any patriot that appreciates what our armed service men and women go through should read something like this, and yes, it is that realistic. Very entertaining, and as I said, eye opening.
Second book I looked at was “Hang Low, Aim High” illustration and hand water colored by Crisuadi and lettered by Nic J Shaw. I have to say that the water colors are something to behold. The art is incredibly stunning and Myers is a top notch letterer that helps to make the water colors look like they fit in a comic book. Without Myers lettering I feel the water colors would look more like paintings but they compliment each other so well that it makes the feel of the book flow and fit the story. The writing, art, and letters come together in a perfect storm that captures the feel of the wild west like a dog on a leash and this creative team truly owned this book.
The third book I looked at was the one I was most interested to see, “Aqueous.” Aqueous is illustrated by Michy Kahuya, inked by Jeff Graham, colored by Matt James, and lettered by Micah Myers. Aqueous is about a water world that has three distinct species that control the water. I already trust Kelly and his writing but the art was what I was interested to see. I had questions about what the underwater art would look like but this art team killed any worry that I may have had with the first underwater panel. The open water panels have clear water ripples and air bubbles, all the little things that make an underwater comic conform to the eye of the beholder. It makes the feel of the idea come to life and make sense as far as the art and the team does a great job. I’ve already mentioned that lettering from Micah Myers is top notch but the reality brought in from the underwater talking and action lettering is absolutely fabulous. The dialog balloons are colored specifically for the species of underwater creature and I feel it really pulls the book together.
The final book I looked at was “Sadistic” illustrated by Bryant Yini, inked by John Dixon, colored by Kari Kaiju, and lettered by Alex Giles. What I found very intriguing about Sadistic is the fact that it gives equal time, and is centered on, the bad guy versus the good guys. There are superheroes and good guys to root for but the book is centered on Sadistic and mainly given from the bad guy perspective. I find this a nice and refreshing change from the mainstream. The art is unique but still comic book style, not like the watercolors, and the job they do making Sadistic look sadistic is magnificent. Sadistic lives up to his name in the art and the writing. I have to give another shout to letterer, Giles, he made a unique dialog balloon for Sadistic and has some seriously good action letters.
I would say that beyond his writing Kelly Bender is really good at sniffing out talented people to join on his projects. All the different names in the lists of artists have fit the project in a way that is almost serendipitous. It’s almost like they were all meant to come together on these and create something special. I also believe that Insane Comics is a great place for all of these projects. When I went to the Insane website and looked at all of the Insane books these projects fit in like perfect little puzzle pieces and certainly looked like they belong.
All of these projects can be found on Drive Thru Comics and Insane Comics website. Drive Thru has them digital for under two dollars, Insane has print for under five dollars, and digital for even cheaper than Drive Thru, so there is no excuse for you to not be reading these!