So I don’t usually like to tell you guys what to do with your money. It’s your money. Who the hell am I to tell you how to spend it? If I come across something cool – an awesome new Kickstarter campaign or a particularly cool book or piece of art that a friend of mine made – I might point it out to you, just so you know it exists and let you make your own purchasing decisions. Hell, a couple of weeks ago, when an anthology came out with one of my stories in it, I was even like “Hey, this exists. You can buy it. If you want. Or not. Whatever. I’m not gonna force you.”
But this? This is something different.
Earlier this week, we saw the launch of MonkeyBrain Comics; a creator-owned digital comics line, founded by Chris Roberson and Allison Baker, and distributed through Comixology. Five books were announced and released, with more titles to be revealed next week at the San Diego Comic Con. While each of those books are amazing in their own way, I’m only want to talk about one of them.
Meet Amelia Cole.
“Amelia Cole lives in two worlds — literally. One runs on magic, the other built on technology. When the barriers between those worlds start to break down, Amelia and her aunt Dani must take extreme action. It’s the start of whole new world in adventure, magic, and excitement as Amelia Cole steps forward to do what she knows it right, even when the consequences might be wrong.”
Amelia Cole and the Unknown World is one of those rare and special gems of comicdom.
The first issue hits the ground running, tossing you right into the action, and manages to stay quick-paced and action-packed, interesting and suspenseful, and – most importantly, I think – fun to the end. Like the titular character, you’re never really sure what’s going on or what could possibly come next and, by the time you get to the end, you’re practically begging for that second issue, because the first so beautiful sets up a world where anything can happen that you just can’t wait until everything does.
Here’s where I’m going to stop talking about plot, because I don’t want to spoil a single panel for you – just know that the story is magical in every sense of the word – and instead talk about character.
Amelia Cole is not a “strong female character.” She is a strong character. Period. Her gender has little [re: nothing] to do with what the book is about or anything that happens within it. She is smart and capable, with an inner strength that she herself may not be fully aware of.
But she is not without her flaws. She can be rash and headstrong, reacting without thinking about the consequences of her actions. She makes mistakes. Which land her in some sticky situations. Yet, as strong as she is, she still has moments of doubt, there are cracks in her self-confidence.
Amelia Cole is an attractive young woman, but not “sexy” by the standard “cheesecake” views of women in pop culture. She’s not a waif. She’s also not super buff, either. She doesn’t have six-pack abs, “legs that go all the way up,” a non-existent waist, or breasts that double as floatation devices. She has weight. She has hips. She has a backbone – both figuratively and literally – that conforms to the physics of how the human body can and should move.
She also wears these odd things seldom seen in mainstream comic books: clothes. Like real clothes. That a person would wear. Amelia dresses in jeans, a tank top, a slightly over-sized flannel shirt, and – gasp! – comfortable shoes. This is a girl who knows the value having to move and run quickly. There’s no spandex or form-fitting leather and all of her clothes survive the issue without being torn up and/or off. “Scantily clad” is not a phrase that exists in this world. How original!
Amelia Cole feels like more than a three dimensional character. She is a thinking, feeling human being.
And then there’s the magic. Oh, the magic.
Wands. Energy blasts. Persuasion demons. Ancient runes. Portals. Magic doors. Alternative worlds. Other realms. Bouncy teleportation balls. (Omigod, if and when they start releasing Amelia Cole merchandise, you guys are all gonna want an official “Amelia Cole” Bouncy Teleportation Ball ™! I’m telling you. They’re fun.)
And that’s just in the first issue.
I think one of the best things about Amelia Cole and the Unknown World, though, is that it has a little something for everyone, appealing to a wide and diverse demographic, and it’s rated 12+ so just about anyone can read and enjoy it!
Do you like Harry Potter? Then you’d probably like Amelia Cole. Do you read comics like Phonogram, Runaways, The Immortal Iron Fist, Y: The Last Man, or Atomic Robo? Do you watch TV shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra? Do you enjoy the works of Miyazaki or even Joss Whedon? Then, your probably dig Amelia Cole, too.
Amelia Cole and the Unknown World is written by Adam P. Knave and D.J. Kirkbride, two award-winning writers who show their love of comics and story on every page; drawn by Nick Brokenshire, a master of illustration and color who breathes brilliant life into this magical new world; expertly lettered by Rachel Deering; and is available now on Comixology for only $1.99 for 28 pages. (You can can read an eight-page preview of the first issue here.)
With almost a third more content than your average mainstream book, and at half the cost, I urge you to take a chance, pick up the book, and get to know Amelia Cole and her unknown world with her.
You’ll be really glad you did.