After the first four issues with “Triggergirl 6″ and “American Muscle,” the folks at COH are reloading. This comics magazine is finding new ways to engage comics readers thirsting for an entertaining, creator-owned oasis.
The two featured comics in this issue, “Killswitch” and “Black Sparrow,” are adequate. For “Killswitch,” the character looks closer to Charlie Sheen-with-a-cool-scar than the sharp-nosed heavy on the cover. Killswitch is a confident, charming assassin. He scores his hit and takes the target’s wife/widow with him. I’m more interested in Killswitch’s rivalry with Ferret, a man who targets wealthy women.
Assured assassin carving slivers of time to enjoy finer things in life: okay. Lady-killer versus literal lady killer: I’m sold!
Now, I address “Black Sparrow.” Sure, the dead main character was a mean guy to crush a sparrow with his bare hand and I believe that he died evil to the core. I never got how rotten he was. The next issue may have all the answers. May those answers be satisfying.
As always, what sets COH apart is its focus on the nuts & bolts of comic books. The interview with Amanda Conner is no fluff piece; it’s a look at her inspirations and her technique. If you want insider thoughts on writing comics, Steve Niles‘ “Writing Comics: Part One” and Justin Gray‘s “Scattered Thoughts” are there to deepen your appreciation of scripting element of graphical storytelling. Steve discusses his influences and tools he uses for writing. Justin asserts the importance of collaboration and reveals some personal background. His describing the duties of his former job at a fossil amber company is a nice segue into the 6-page preview for Retrovirus.
The sneak peek of Retrovirus, from the creative team of Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Noberto Fernandez, Paul Mounts, and Bill Tortolini, is the most interesting feature in the issue. It looks to take a fresh take on the horror genre. What’s shown is the opening where readers get to know the motley group of scientists observing an infected Neanderthal. I enjoyed the characterizations of the scientists. This project was funded on Kickstarter and I hope that this graphic novel delivers excellence.
Finally, “Listen2Jimmy” is a reader mail segment with questions from fans on Twitter. Congratulations on those Tweeps who’ve gotten a response from Jimmy!
The upcoming sixth issue of COH will have a contribution by Darwyn Cooke (Before Watchmen: Minutemen). I really, really want a lot of success from COH. Hopefully, potential readers aren’t turned off at the insider chats and the near-experimental magazine format. You can reach the people of Creator-Owned Heroes: