Yes, it seems that we only just caught up with the little powerhouse indie comics publisher that is Lucky Comics, but at this moment in time, the Lucky Crew is pumping out prodigious piles of prolific product, so it’s already time to catch up….again!
There’s a lot of fun stuff to check out, here, folks, so…let’s get right to it!
Aquarius Defense Force 5 #1: Here we have the debut of a brand new creator-owned series about Giant “Kaiju” Monsters and the elite teams of human heroes trained to defend civilization! One team in particular, of course is the eponymous “Aquarius Defense Force 5!” This is issue is brought to you by these fine folks featured in the credits box seen below:
In Gene Hoyle’s introductory page, he relates a history with Giant Monster (or “Kaiju” as we both learned later on in life) TV shows and movies that very much mirrors my own; although I believe I savored my servings of the genre on TV-38 out of Boston up in the tree-laden wilds of upstate NY in the mid to late 1970s. Gene’s goal with this series is to send us readers back to those Saturday mornings of fun and excitement, and let me tell you: he and his creative team do just that, in my opinion.
Readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of indie artists Jim Gullett’s frenetic and energetic work, and his efforts here do nothing but deepen that fandom. Jim is a great match for this genre, keeping the action moving between shifting scales of size and location with ease. His characters all have distinct looks from one another as well, which is crucial in a team book, and it’s not something that comic book readers can often take for granted.
I don’t want to spoil much, but this debut was an absolute delight for me. Everything, from the members of the team, the nature of “Inferno Lizard” the team opposes, to the excellent “tip of the hat” (or shell!) implied by the very headquarters of the team itself was in turns interesting, entertaining, and charming. I’m looking very much forward to the next issue of this one, folks!
And, hey: check out “Cover B” to this fine issue, eh?
This cover is brought to you by Eric Douthitt, Todd Higgins, and Michael Waggoner, while “Cover A” (up at the top, there) was created by the dynamic duo of Jim Gullett and Ken Bouthillier. Which cover should you get? Why, at these prices…why not both?
Speaking of “both,” how about we take a look at an issue featuring two of Lucky Comics’ foremost super-heroines…right now!
Beetle Girl #33: It’s the latest issue of Beetle Girl! Three years in the making! Yes, there’s a story behind this one, which Writer and Lucky Comics Founder John Michael Helmer explains on the inside cover page. Basically, the plot for this one was written back in the earlier days of Lucky, but didn’t get fully illustrated until much more recently. Was it worth the wait? Well, let’s check the credits box out below and see who brought the issue into being first, eh?
Now, some of you may recall Josh Holley’s name from my previous Lucky Comics spotlight, and if you do, you know that I’m a fan of his work as well. Once again, nothing that’s laid down on these pages (or on that cover!) changes my mind about that here. In fact, this issue is an excellent showcase of the breadth of Josh’s stylistic range and storytelling capabilities: adult superheroes, monstrous villains, enraged animals, and even children at play all look right at home in their varied environments and engagements that these eight pages put them through!
This story in particular details a possible “first meeting” of Beetle Girl and Flame Girl (I’m pretty sure they’ve had a first meeting “before” in Lucky Comics, but tight continuity is not a paramount concern in this line), but in this one, Flame Girl needs help rescuing her partner in crimefighting from the vile villain known as…the Octopus!
This issue is a perfect example of Lucky (and Helmer’s) “8-Page Ethos” (a term I coined myself! So don’t blame JMH!): You get an introduction to Beetle Girl’s life, a meeting of heroes, and an encounter with a bad guy all in this one story, and never does the reader feel rushed or cheated. In fact, I might say that I’d recommend this issue as the quintessential “starter book” to get someone into Beetle Girl, or into Lucky Comics in general!
Also: if you want to get in on the ground floor with Beetle Girl by starting where it all began, Lucky Comics has put the first volume of the series up on Amazon, of all places! Check it out here:
And now…on to the next book!
Blue Flame #2: This second issue featuring the public domain hero known as the Blue Flame jumps right into the action, with our hero helping some firefighters manage a blaze that seems to have been set by a fallen celestial object. An alien encounter ensues, followed by a confrontation with a mad scientist and his robotic minions! All in eight pages, friends! And did I mention that this issue features even more art by Jim Gullett? No? Well, just check the credits box below if you don’t believe me!
Readers of this blog may notice Ken Bouthillier’s name up there, creator of a definite favorite series here on the MRC known as “Zindagi,” a cosmic epic for the ages if there ever was one! Ken also operates his own publishing imprint, Zindagi Comix, which publishes not only Ken’s work, but Jim Gullett’s creator owned series and artist/writer Ed Stover’s creations, to boot! There’s a lot going on out there in Indie Comics Land, folks! You might even say the scene is moving at….break neck speed?
Breaknek #1: Now, this is not strictly a Lucky Comic, but this creator-owned debut does stem from the mind of a Lucky Comics regular contributor, and the title character herself also made her debut appearance in Girl Commandos #3 from Lucky. Just who is that “regular contributor,” you ask? Why, let’s see if the credits box can help us answer that question, eh?
Yes, Erik Franklin, whose work has appeared in several Lucky publications, is the mind behind this brand new “Erik on Paper” imprint! In this issue, Breaknek raids an enemy base, has a showdown with a dangerous madman, and delivers a mysterious experiment to her comrades in S.P.E.A.R. (An group that has also appeared in previous Lucky Comics issues). But all may not be what it seems! Once again: all in eight pages! Breaknek moves fast, and so does the action in these issues, eh? Let’s try to keep up and move on to the next book!
Crom the Barbarian #4: Is that another Jim Gullett I see up there? You bet it is! And before I get (too) distracted by it, here’s the credits box for this issue of Crom!
Yes, indeed, more Gullett-y Goodness awaits within! And this is some savage stuff, friends! This issue begins with Crom betrayed, leading him to face trials, traps, living terrors, and even more treason within…the Cave of Skulls! It bears repeating, folks: all of this in eight pages! And it’s got Jim Gullett drawing a barbarian fighting monsters! And it’s super cheap! And…so is this next book!
Crom the Barbarian #5: Why, would you look at that? It’s the next issue of the same series! Things move fast over at Lucky Comics, and they’d better, because the world of Crom is packed with danger and all manner of potentially lethal surprises!
That being said, I’d like to stop and take a moment here to share the excellent introductory page on this issue’s inside cover:
On the scroll atop the page, we have a great bit of text taken from “Out of the World Adventures,” the 1950 publication from which the character of Crom originally came. It sets tone nicely, and gets across the full concept of the series effectively.
Also of note is the “This Issue:” box, which gives you a full synopsis of this issue’s plot, so I don’t have to! I love it when a plan to keep me from having to do something comes together.
But the tale, as they say is in the telling, and this one is told very well indeed. It’s got the usual “Lucky Comics” compact punch, and it showcases Crom’s comrades in arms as well it does the titular barbarian himself.
Delivering that story this time around are the fine folks featured in the Credits Box you see below:
Intrigued? Well, by Odin’s Beard, what are you waiting for? A fire sale? Well, if so, you’ll really like this next book:
Flame Girl #2: That’s right, Flame Girl is back, for her second appearance in this post, and for the second issue of her ongoing title from Lucky Comics! This issue is brought to us by a very talented married couple, so let’s take a look at the credits box, shall we?
In this issue, Flame Girl rushes off to Comet Labs to investigate an out of control fire, and ends up meeting the Shrew (an original character created by Lizzie Martinez!). The two heroes face off against a monstrous menace, and a fun time is had by all (okay, maybe not by all, but certainly by the readers!). This was a fun, excellently executed 8-pager. I hope that Lizzie and Joey Martinez plan to stick around on Flame Girl, and I really hope to see more of the Shrew!
Okay, I’ve mentioned that Lucky Comics are cheap, right? Well, if that price is still too dear for ya…how’s free sound?
Lucky Comics Free Comic Book Day 2020: I’ve mentioned how Lucky Comics tend to stick to an eight page format, right? Well, there are two stories in this Free Comic Book Day Special, and…surprise! They are both four pages long! And they are still great stories! In these days of six-issue story-arcs at four bucks a pop, that’s nothing to sneeze at, eh? (Also, if you have to sneeze, don’t spray it all over the place, eh? We’re in the middle of worldwide pandemic, here!)
Our first story features the return of Crom the Barbarian, and it is brought to us by:
Eric Douthitt, by the way is one of the people who helped launch Lucky Comics, being the original artist on “Beetle Girl!”
In this tale, Crom finds the terms of a deal altered, faces a foe from beyond the grave, and grants an eternal boon to one of his enemies. All in four pages! And before Crom even has time to clean his blade, we’re off to the next story, rocketed onto the next four pages by:
In “Spacehawk: Deja Vu All Over Again,” our titular hero tries to take in a nice, relaxing ball game when an old enemy rears their ugly, gory head. (His name is Dr. Gore, folks) This version of Spacehawk has friends, though, much to the chagrin of the evil interloper. But is Gore actually gone? You know what you’ll have to do to find out, eh?
And yes, up there in that credits box is Editor Mark F. Davis, owner and operator of his own “Golden Era Comics” imprint, and founder of the Surprising Comics line over here at the Lucky Comics ranch!
So, there you have it folks! We’re all caught up with Lucky Comics….for now! At the speed this company is putting out books lately, I’m sure to be ten titles behind by the time this post is published!
And, as always, if any of you end up trying some of these comics, perhaps based on my (gasp!) blabbing here on the blog…come back and let me know what you thought of them, eh?
And oh yeah: if you ARE looking to pick up some Lucky Comics, you can head on over to this link:
Until then: you know who I am, and you know what I’ll be doing!