Rogue City's Title of 2023
What a whirlwind of a holiday season! It feels like summer just ended and here we are in a new year. Last year was a great ride, with the ups and downs of life unfolding as they do. We had some personal heart ache, joys, and celebrated Steven's firecracker mom's success through some medical challenges. As we share life with you, we know many of you had a similar type of year. Some of you also faced trials you wouldn't have chosen and some are still fighting the battles, against cancer and other dragons. One of our subscribers recently told us that his "to read" stack saved him during weeks spent at a loved one's side in the hospital.
It's why we love comics. Earth NEEDS comics, because sometimes life is just really hard. We need the reprieve a good comic offers. Normally I list the candidates for our pick for title of the year, but not this time. There is a lot of good storytelling happening in comics. There are many titles that have offered some fun escape from the sometimes-harsh realities or just the daily grind. There are even comics that make us laugh out loud, although for me, they are rare. Too rare.
If you've been a "Rogue Citizen" for long, you know our picks of the year are examples of high caliber writing and believable dialog. They have something special, that maybe doesn't quite achieve enough mainstream status to "trend" or become a top seller. We don't make our picks based on how many of the books we hope to sell in the future. Our picks come from the heart. They come from the comic-loving little kid, still alive inside us. They MUST build a fantastic world that is seamlessly written, drawn, and colored. Usually, they are a story that has been told with sincere love from the heart of the writer for their project, like the Miranda brothers did with "We Live". These aren't titles someone is commissioned to create, they often are part of the creators, born onto pages.
The easy winner for 2023, is a book that simply brought palpable happiness upon reading. Four of the 5 published issues made me laugh, for real. It's a title that I've looked forward to, savoring (coffee cup in hand) each issue, and saving for a day when I needed a lift. I knew I could count on it. It's absolutely a personal pick, because no comic in about 2 years has made me happier. Maybe I'm just a goofball with a sense of humor perfectly aligned to the author. So be it. It's everything I want in a comic book:
BELIEVABLE DIALOG WITH WELL MATCHED LETTERS (witty enough to not need the peppering of expletives)
EXCELLENT WORLD BUILDING
ART I WANT TO APPRECIATE
COLORS THAT DON'T DIMINISH THE PENCILS
NO PREACHING, GRANDSTANDING, OR AGENDAS
MAKES ME VERY THANKFUL FOR COMICS AND THAT THE CREATORS TOOK THE PAINS TO CREATE IT
HAS SURPRISES & RESPECTS THE READER (not lowered to a 7th grade reading level, or "explainy")
OVERALL ENJOYABLE, COHESIVE PACKAGE
We don't mean to be harsh, but our bar is high. I recently shared on Sam Moore's IG, in a time when some stories feel unpolished or with a "barely there" hook (the thing that makes you care before you even get to the staples), The Traveller's Guide to Flogoria shines incandescently. It's packed full of goodness, with no ads that aren't Flogorian in nature. It's a book that I believe earns every bit of its $6.99 cover price.
The author, Sam Moore, should be on a writing team for TV or movies. His wit is what a lot of streaming movies and shows are lacking lately. I hope he receives writing gigs from additional publishers in the future. The artist, Sam Moore, clearly drew the world the writer intended and meshed the story and words perfectly. The colorist, Sam Moore, did not maim the weirdly and wonderfully drawn world and its inhabitants, but brought them to life in colorful perfections. The Copic marker artistry created scenes and landscapes that made me take time and to study. It was a style I didn't initially love in issue 1, but by issue 3, captured my respect and full appreciation.
I love projects that are successful when the creator has control of all elements of their story. When it works, it's brilliant. When it doesn't, you feel bad for the control freak who couldn't let anyone else touch their story...because maybe if the book had had a talented artist the comic could have come alive.
There is such a wide combination of creators out there and sometimes they work...like in the screen world and the gloriousness of the right cast, story, and worldbuilding. I always refer to Firefly when discussing that kind of magic. It's too rare these days, in entertainment, with so many publishers and so many avenues of streaming. Maybe quality can get watered down. There's so much to choose from and maybe Steven and I are getting old and persnickety, but there are fewer and fewer gems out there.
This year's pick is a gem, a vividly entertaining gem, that literally takes you away to another world. A world that would be dangerously fun to actually visit and one, I have yet to learn, whether the main character, Harry, will ever return home from. The final issue, number 6, will arrive any day now. I'll be saving it for a special moment and will savor it with a good cup of Sumatra coffee and my dog, by the fire.
In 2024 we wish you MANY good reads and titles you look forward to the next issue of like a little kid at Christmas. Thank you, to our shop family for being on the ride of life with us. Thank you, Creators, for making this the best hobby/pastime one could have. Earth will always need comics!