MonkeyBrain Roundtable Review Round 1


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Luke, Ziah, Arielle, Jon and Niel sat down at their respective computers for a round of booze free discussion about the first round of MonkeyBrain Comics! Check it out after the jump!

Ziah Okay cool, order of books?

Luke How about Aesop, Edison, Bandette, Amelia October?

Z: Do we need a review final thingy? Like a blank out of blank?

L: Nah. Or I’ll just make it up.

Z: Okee dokee. Who wants to start?

Aesop's Ark Cover #1. Art by Jennifer L. Meyer.

Arielle: Who reviewed Aesop?

Jon: Me.

L: And I also read it.

A: I read it too.

Z: Didn’t we all?

L: Niel didn’t I don’t believe

Niel: I did not because I am tight on cash.

L: I think Aesop’s Ark might have been the weakest of the bunch.

A: I think it tied with October Girl.

Z: Agreed.

J: I actually liked Aesop more than October.

L: Like for everything it did well, it was a children’s comic instead of an all ages one.

Z: It suffers in not having a clear mission statement.

A: I agree that it felt too childish. It was pretty, but it was everything it appeared to be at face value. Like “wow, that’s really it?”

Z: Is it just animals telling stories? No real advancing plot?

J: I think it is meant for kids.

L: I think there can be a time for having “just for kids stories” that but that was a while ago.

A: But even a good children’s story should be enjoyable for adults.

L: Exactly Nowadays the best media is all ages. Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Regular Show – all ages stuff.

Z: I thought the coloring was nice, in the middle section

A: Yeah, the art was good. The lettering was pretty wonky though.

L:Yeah, I think the contrast could use a bump up on the series.

Z: Yeah, a lot of the details were lost on me with the full sepia wash.

J: They need to clear up the balloons and captions.

Z: I would like to see more plot in the framing section, if the stories are going to be one-off fables.

J: The turtle was the plot. I think. Or maybe just the lion relaying stories.

A: But is it going to do more with that do you think? Or is it just straight up Aesop’s Fables.

L: I was unfamiliar with that story.

A: The donkey and the mule?

L: Yeah

A: I think it was made up, but I’m not sure.

Z: I want to see more of a comic in future installments, rather than a story book.

J: It seems like just them on the Ark, using fables to resolve problems.

Z: I don’t really see the point of buying it issue to issue if there’s no ongoing plot


Consensus: Thumbs down.

Edison Rex #1 Cover Art By Dennis Culver and Stephen Downer

Z: Edison Rex. Worth the price, good first issue?

N: I reviewed that, and I really liked it.

J: I appreciate the art, but it’s unrefined and not for me.

L: I thought Edison was great.

Z: I really liked Edison

L: I like Roberson writing Superman and so this was right up my alley. And I honestly like that it had the least cliched opening of any book besides Bandette.

Z: Roberson’s love of Superman made this a little more interesting than usual genre twists.

J: Despite liking the story, I’m kind of burned out on Superman analogues.

A: I liked it, but I can’t really see further issues exploring anything that hasn’t already been done in what was it, Incorruptable?

L:20 PM
I think putting a villain up to his promise that he’d save the world is interesting.

Z: I’m curious to see where it goes, and the twist felt fine.

J: It’s kind of like Incorruptible, though. Not as bleak.

A: Oh, definitely not.

Z: It’s different enough that I’d give it a chance.

A: I think what made Edison interesting was the little twist, but again, I can’t see it being exciting from there.
Like it pulled its ace too fast.

L: I think it worked fine pulling the ace out – that is the idea of the series. If you hold it till the sixth issue you are Ultimate Spider-man.

Z: I agree. Otherwise it’s Roberson writing a Lex Luthor series.

J: I do think it could be something great. Just the look and the approach to Edison’s equipment.

Z:To be fair, even if Edison is just Doc Savage meets Luthor, I want to read that.

N: I thought it was a really clever introduction, and after reading the second volume of Grounded, I totally get what Luke meant about it being what he wanted out of Roberson on Superman.

L: Chris Roberson got me to like Superman as a person more than Morrison’s All Star Superman did.

J: You like Grounded more than All Star?

Z: Guys no! We’re not doing this right now.

L: So thumbs up or down? Thumbs up for me.

N: Thumbs up.

A: Thumbs up.

Z: Thumbs up.

J: I shall check it out. It was a really weird twist. I want to see how he follows up.

Consensus Thumbs up!

Bandette #1 Cover Art By Colleen Coover

L: Next up – Bandette.

Z: OH!I got this one

L: Hot dang the series made me smile!

A: So charming and cute

Z: So, this is clearly Tobin righting Fantomette And that’s great.

A: Wow, yeah totally. He did a good job.

L: Yeah, I read his female character blog pieces and totally got what he was doing in the comic.

J: I think it was the best of the five.

A: I would agree.

Z: It’s cute, funny, and despite being the shortest comic, I think it was the best. Second shortest?

A: It set itself up well without exhausting itself.

L: I like that we finally have a kickass young girl who isn’t Hit Girl.

A: Ugh, yes please.

J: It put you into the world and without tons of exposition.

L: It is an efficient story.

A: And Colleen Coover nailed the art, it made me super nostalgic for Paris.

Z: How great is her signal watch? And that scene where all the neighborhood people are rushing to her aide was great.

A: It was perfect, and it could’ve come off as cheesy.

L: Yeah, it is a story I can buy.

J: Being called in to help by the police was pretty cool.

Z: “This is called justice. Or larceny. One of the two”, is when I knew I’d be buying all of the issues.

L: Haha. It is done innocently while being real.

Z: And there’s a genuine excitement in the issue

A: Justice is a buzzword for me. Also the whole “noble thief” thing.

Z: Gambit-lover.

A:I am not a Gambit lover! That was my brother.

J: Gambit is cool. -Ish. When done by certain people.

L: That is why I should be able to do my Gambit -mummy pitch.

A: Bandette though, yes, the innocence is what sold it.


N: Honestly, the only part I didn’t enjoy was that the mysterious book-thief guy is named “Monsieur”, as it just seemed a little doofy to name yourself after an honorific. Daps on the whole, though.

Z: Didn’t bother me

A: I thought it fit the tone.

L: Me neither.

J: It is like having someone just call you Mister.

L: Or The Baron.

A: Yeah, but it’s a pseudonym! It works well that way.
It creates a tone of anonymity.

Z: Yeah, it was all great. And I liked that watercolors, those were great too.

A: So Parisian it hurt.

L: So daps or no daps?

J: Daps?

A: I’m lost.

Z: Superdaps

L: I agree – Superdaps.

J: This is a buy.

Z: This was the best, no question

A:The best!

Consensus Super Daps!

Amelia Cole #1 Cover Art By Nick Brokenshire

N: I didn’t read either of the final 2, so to keep my computer from melting, I will leave.

L: Next – Amelia Cole and the Unknown World!

N: Yeah, it’s minor, but it’s the only thing I had a problem with. Art was amazing.

Z: As far as establishing a forward moving plot, this was probably the best

L: I disagree – it used like 3 times the pages October Girl did

Z: It’s also the closest to a regular comic book issue, rather than a preview or short.

A: It leaves a lot of room for development.

J: It took forever to setup.

A: I felt it spent too much time setting up the world we probably aren’t going to see for a while now.

L: I think it could have been cut down on. It had some heroes journey stuff that was predictable. You expected it to zig when it zagged.

Z: I thought the status quo shift was interesting and a nice way to throw a reader of balance.

J: She spent too much time guilt tripping herself.

L: I found it pretty predictable and I wish we started in the other world. There could have been a lot of shorthand for what happened.

A: I liked the very beginning, and the very end, but yeah the middle dragged on a bit.

J: I thought the art was really good. Like really great sequential artwork.

Z:4 Yeah, the motion was good.

L: Oh definitely – there were a few small things that bugged me but I liked it overall.

Z: Very clear storytelling, which nowadays is rarer than I’d like.

J: I was hoping for at least a bit more of what was causing the creatures to show up. Also when her aunt got stoned and she mentioned letting the shield down, I really wondered whether she’d blame herself for everything for the rest of the series.

A: I didn’t really get the sense that she was totally self-blaming

J: She mentions twice how she wished she could time travel and stop that monster before it killed people. To herself.

A: But then she gets over it.

Z: In 2 panels!

A: I think it’s fair to mention how she feels guilty over something she’s ultimately responsible for. Well, sorta responsible for.

Z: It’s explicitly saying that she’s not going to mope about it

J: She mentions it on two separate pages.

A: It makes her human, that she’s not desensitized to death. Especially death she could have prevented. I mean, that’s why she’s a vigilante, right? But we know she’s committed enough to go against the police.

J: She didn’t cause that thing to show up and while it makes sense to mourn those who died

A: Didn’t they say that her world shifting rusting the door let the thing slip through?

Z: Yep.

J: It seemed like that had her blaming herself to show some kind of superhero trait.

Z: So, she’s directly responsible.
Dude, she fought off the police when they tried to arrest a vigilante. That is some Batman shit right there.

A: I wouldn’t go that far……. But I think she shows that she’s pretty headstrong rather than mopey.

Z: Well, that’s just arguing over one point

L: How are we gonna proceed with the series – Green, Yellow or Red? I’m going Yellow – I want to see how weird the world is before I make a choice to stay.

A: Yellow, for me.

J: Red.

A: It didn’t hook me, but I did like it.

Z: Green. 1.99 for 31 pages is a solid deal.

Consensus Yellow – proceed slowly.

The October Girl cover #1 by Matthew Dow Smith

L: And on a similar note – The October Girl.

Z: Whew. This one…

J: No.

Z: This was straight up a preview of a more interesting comic.

A: I liked the art.

Z: It’s the most predictable.

A: The writing was unbearable.

L: Yeah, the writing didn’t feel real. I think once they get to the world it will be better.

Z: You know the end of the issue from the very first page, and the middle pages aren’t interesting enough to pull it together

A: It relied entirely on the internal monologue of a mostly unlikable, whiny character with visuals that would be uninteresting without the good art.

L: It is like my sub-editor told me for Prison Spaceship – nobody wants to read through the pages of the character lounging at home before they go to get to space if that is the title of the book.

Z: Yep.

J: Someone would have to force the second issue in front of my eyes to go back to that.

Z: And gee whiz that girl is not making me like her. This should have made us relate to this girl.

L: Can we all agree that we’d be fine just being told that they got to an weird world instead of giving us 8 pages to get there?

Z: Or half/half. Do 4 pages in, 4 pages out, alternate each page.

A: Autumn was her name right? I think we were supposed to sympathize with her but ugh I wanted to kick her in the face. JEEZ!

Z: Yeah. She was insufferable.

L: We all want to punch teenagers supporting their mother! Make up your life choices without magical adventures!

A: Only the ones that complain about it while pretending to be understanding.

Z: There’s a fine line between dissatisfied and whiny, and this girl built an interstate highway over it.

J: I have a feeling the next issue will be her talking to the imaginary friend in her apartment.

L: What if it turns into Ted meets Cool World?

A: Oh Jesus.


A: My nightmare.

L: Hahahaha.

Z: And the characterization was half baked too.

A: Well, you can only get so far with cliche.

Z: Why does she want to work at a bookstore? Because she hates life? Does she even want to go to college?

A: “Weird teenage girl unsure of life decisions, in over her head with responsibilities before her time.”

Z: She just seemed wistful about nothing.


L: !!!

A: THE BOOKSTORE– She’s in a college town, and they only have ONE BOOKSTORE???

Z: Oh yeah, that was great

L: It could be a small town college.

A: WE’RE a relatively small town, and we have like six.

J: You know where the real money is? Bookstores.

L: I drove through some bible college towns that had no bookstores, only burning piles of evolutionists.

J: You only need the one book there.

A: It just felt like pushing way too hard for a specific character type, mentioning college kids and no bookstores on one page.

L: The AV Club said this was one of their favorites and their comics coverage got nominated for an Eisner instead of Comics Alliance. I don’t get it.

Z: It felt like about half a dozen people I know, except she didn’t mention the novel she’s “writing.”

A: I think the whole thing would’ve done better as a novel…

Z: Anyway. This was a preview to a story I don’t care to read

L: Final rating – Photocopy, Sword or Fire. Sword. Photocopy it. Sword ofinto it. Burn with fire. Sword of into it for me.

A: Recoil in disgust?

Z: What do those mean..Oh! Fire sword!

A: Is that an option?

Z: I disliked this. I regretted buying it

A: Fire. And scissors.

J: I didn’t buy it, so I still feel good.

Consensus: Burn with a fire.

L: Now overall how are we feeling about MonkeyBrain so far?

A: Pretty good overall, actually.

L: I like the pricing and the teams and the variety. If we get flops they at least aren’t Suicide Squad.

A: Ugh Suicide Squad why? That would be an effort…

J: Being strictly digital helps them.

A: The variety definitely, they were willing to try different things

J If I had to pay for a hard copy Aesop’s, I wouldn’t be here.

L: The books aren’t so expensive that I regret buying them since I’ve paid more for stuff I have no rights to at all. Oh god my Spiral Knights addiction…

J: Rights?

L: Well, technically we are only renting the comics indefinitely. Thanks Comixology!

J: Oh yeah.

Z: I am positive about the company. They have good writers and artists.

L: I think this is a strong argument for digital and cheaper pricing and I look forward to the future of comics.

Z: A couple mediocre ones, but an overall good launch

A: I think Bandette alone justifies the entire company.

L: So I’ll see you guys in two week for more MonkeyBrain – if we get more next week?

Z: Is there more? I thought the next one was Church’s on the 17th.

J: It’s another 47 books, right?

L: I have no idea.

A: Does their website mention anything?

(The next release is on the 17th)

Z: Overall this is an exciting thing. A bunch of good creators doing reasonably priced books is great.

L: Yeah. And he’s also getting webcomic creators involved. Which is relevant to my personal interests.

Z: Hah. I’m looking forward to seeing the next big batch of releases

J: I hope they succeed. They have the tools.

A: Me too… I think I need them to succeed.

Z: I think they will. This was a reasonably strong launch

A: The big two need more competition. I want them to get BIG.

L: Competition not just interested in movie rights.

A: Competition not grounded in a fanbase sixty years old.

Z: Definitely.

J: I think being digital only kind of hampers that a little. For now.

L: They’ll do trades in the physical and I think digital solo issues are a great idea. I mean I wouldn’t feel as bad buying some of these as trades as well if they were so cheap online, unlike buying trades for a lot of other books I have.

A: I think cheap digital issues is a good idea.

Z: I did not mind the digital for the price.

J: It’s a realistic price point for something you don’t really own.

L: And by recognizing and responding to that, you help the entire industry progress.

Luke Herr

Luke is a writer and an aspiring professional comic writer who is also the editor in chief of Nerdcenaries. He currently is working on a graphic novel called Prison Spaceship.

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