Welcome to the first installment of Indie Friday, a segment in which I review awesome self-published/independent comics and graphic novels. This week’s pick is Very Near Mint, Volume 1. In the creator’s words, it’s a “comic book about comic books” – and a great one at that!
VNM is the brainchild of Justin Peterson, a talented writer-slash-artist whose style has a flair on the side of Scott Pilgrim, yet is deliciously unique. The first few pages suck you into a world inhabited by characters you’ve never seen before, but know very well. There’s Colin, the grumpy but loveable owner of a comic shop– he’s that friend you have that shows his affection by abusing sarcasm. There’s Sam, co-owner of the shop and voice of reason– he’s that buddy that acts as the moral compass when you’re a little too drunk. There’s a herd of comic-hungry customers, band geeks, stereotypical “nerds” and mythical females, vengeful villains… all in all, a refreshingly well-developed cast that manages to make the mundane routine of retail services mind-blowingly interesting, and the fantasy of a comic book relateable and believable.
Did that make any sense? If it doesn’t, keep reading anyway.
The artwork is dynamic, with Justin putting white space to some very creative uses and packing hyper-expressive faces into every panel. The plot will have you both laughing and holding your breath, and the near infinite number of subtle (and not-so-subtle) geeky references will have you re-reading the book just to find each little golden nugget (hint: keep an eye on everyone’s shirt). Plus, you will stop at some point, lean back and mouth “I know someone like this!”
Sound interesting? Of course it does. This first volume was funded by a fantastic Kickstarter effort, so let’s make things a bit easier for Justin and Volume 2: order your copy of Very Near Mint direct from the website and show your support. A digital copy is only $5!
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