By Kelly Harrass
I would like to use this blog to bring two comics to your attention that you might not know about. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve seen me talk about these books before, but never as in-depth as I’m going to here. Without further ado, here are Elephantmen and The Lil Depressed Boy.
What’s it about: Elephantmen is a comic that follows the lives of the elephantmen; a group of human/animal hybrids that were created to be the perfect soldiers. They have the mind and body of a human with the size, strength, and ruthlessness of an animal. They were bloodthirsty killers who were raised only to fight, but then the war ended and their side lost. Instead of being slaughtered, the elephantmen were rehabilitated and allowed to live normal (as normal as they can be) lives alongside the rest of us. The story follows several key elephantmen, with the two main characters being Hip Flask, a trench coat wearing hippo-detective, and Ebony Hide, an elephant who works with Hip. Elephantmen manages to perfectly blend together several genres, but at its core I’d call it Sci-fi-Noir. Many times the genre of the comic will change from issue to issue. One issue might be an action packed adventure, the next might read as a horror story, and then the next might be a Conan inspired swords and sandals story. Through a concept that might be regarded as goofy by some, issues like racism, war, genocide, and sexuality are examined.
Who makes it: Elephantmen is written by Richard Starkings with art by many talented artists. It is published by Image comics. For more info go to http://www.hipflask.com/index.html
Where to start reading: I’d strongly suggest starting from the beginning, but that isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Some of the trades of this book aren’t the easiest to track down. If you’d like a good jumping on point that happened recently, I would recommend that you track down the Elephantmen: Man and Elephantman one shot that was released in March. This one shot was made to bring in new readers and explains the story well. The Man and Elephantman story continues into Elephantmen issues 31, 32, and 33, which was just released this Wednesday.
The Li’l Depressed Boy
What’s it about: The Li’l Depressed Boy is about the adventures of a sackboy (man made of fabric, yet nobody seems to notice or care) in his mid-twenties, who goes by the name LBD. LDB doesn’t seem to have a job, he seems to just be drifting along. In walks a cute and interesting girl into his life. Her entrance sets this story in motion. For a lack of a better category, I’d say that this is a romantic comedy. This isn’t really a high concept comic, but sometimes a book like this is exactly what you need. It’s fun, it’s relaxed, but it can also pack an emotional punch right in the gut. I believe that everybody can relate to LDB in one way or another while they’re reading this and that’s what makes it so great. This isn’t a superhero book; this is just a comic about normal people doing normal things.
Who makes it: The Li’l Depressed Boy is written by S. Steven Struble with art by Sina Grace. It is published by Image Comics. For more info go to http://www.lildepressedboy.com/
Where to start: This is still a fairly new series so you can jump on from the beginning. The first trade, collecting the first four issues, was released recently and can be bought for the low price of $10. When you pick up the trade, grab issue five and you’ll have the entire series in your hands. Get ready to fall in love with this book!