It's another hell week at work, so I thought I might save some time at home by giving the next four days an overall theme. While mainstream comics continue to get a lot of play in the media (both niche and mainstream), independents shouldn't be neglected, especially since there are a LOT of excellent creator-owned indie comics out there. The market is really exploding with them, and they're putting a lot of the Big Two's output to shame. Every day until we reach the long weekend, I'll be whole-heartedly recommending one such book, to which I hope you'll give a try. Ground rules: All are continuing series, not minis. None feature licensed properties. And none are further along than their fifth issues, with a better than average chance to go back and find the published issues, or not so long to wait for a trade if one is coming. Clear? Without further ado...
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Publisher: Image Comics (Skybound imprint)
Currently on: Issue 4
Clone is a no-holds barred action techno-thriller about cloning. In the first issue, Dr. Luke Taylor comes face to face with his own clone, wounded in his kitchen, there to warn him that yet another genetic copy of him is after him, his wife and unborn child. It's all part of a massive conspiracy that features not just those three, but dozens of Luke Taylors more (under different names, obviously). Is he the original? Unknown. Why has he been able to procreate when clones don't have viable sperm? And with so many versions of the same character about, are any of them safe? There's also a running subplot about a Republican vice-president who is to vote nay on a stem cell bill, but has an ill daughter who might benefit from the research, though obviously, that research is well advanced in secret. What role will he play beyond bringing a healthy dose of real politics about cloning into the book?
Writer David Shulner comes from television writing (The Event) and brings a fast pace to his story that just won't let up. Questions, plots, yes, but also lots of violence and action. Ryp's intricate angst-ridden artwork gives the book a strong, cinematic look that fits the tone perfectly. Clone is so high concept, it feels like a mini-series, but Image has announced up to #7 with no end in sight. That's great news because up 'til now, the book has been pretty prediction-proof. I could definitely see this get developed as a movie down the line (Skybound's mission statement is conducive to it), and I've seen a lot of SF thrillers that fit its aesthetic in theaters lately. But don't wait for the movie! The comic is such a wild ride, you'll think the images are really moving!