Robot 6

Robot Review | Creator-Owned Heroes #1-4

I have a confession to make: I didn’t understand at first what Creator-Owned Heroes is. It’s my fault, because it looks like a magazine, and Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Steve Niles say very clearly right there in the first issue that that’s what it is, but I stubbornly insisted on looking at it as an anthology comic with some text pieces in the back. I figured that I would wait on the eventual collections and read the comics in larger chunks.

This week, though, I realized that reading four issues back to back actually is reading in bigger chunks, so I bought the issues I’d missed and caught up. Doing that convinced me that Creator-Owned Heroes isn’t something that’s going to be replicated very well in a collected volume. Most obviously, you’d lose the timeliness of the text pieces. Each of the three writers has a monthly column, but there are also recommendations of movies, products, and other people’s comics. None of that would hold up very well in a permanent, collected form. It’s not designed to.

But more importantly, not even the comics are designed to be collected. Each issue has two, 11-page comics, one written by Palmiotti and Gray, the other by Niles. In the first four issues, Palmiotti and Gray teamed up with Phil Noto for “Triggergirl 6,” about the most recent in a line of assassins that have become famous for their relentless, exclusive targeting of the President of the United States. Niles partnered with Kevin Mellon for “American Muscle,” a post-apocalyptic drama about a group of young people driving muscle cars (while also fighting mutants) toward what they hope is the Promised Land.

American Muscle

The thing is, in Creator-Owned Heroes #5, the artists and stories will change. Palmiotti and Gray will collaborate with Jerry Lando and Paul Mounts on a story about a killer with a contract on his own head, while Niles will work with co-writer Jay Russell and artist Andrew Ritchie on a Western called “Black Sparrow.” What that means is there are only 44 pages of “Triggergirl 6” and “American Muscle.” I enjoyed both of those stories enough to hope that they return in future issues, but if the format continues the way it is, it’ll be a while before they cycle back and a really long time before they’re collected outside of the magazine format. And that’s the way it’s meant to be. I don’t lament that they’re being switched out for new stories, because I’m excited to see what’s coming next, especially with “Black Sparrow.”

Creator-Owned Heroes costs $3.99, no more than an issue of a regular comic book, but it’s a packed reading experience. It has as many pages of comics as a regular comic book, but the columns and interviews and how-to articles are as much a part of the package as the stories. More than anything else on the comic shelves, Creator-Owned Heroes is uniquely designed to be a monthly purchase and that’s how I’ll be buying it from now on.

Triggergirl 6

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Comments

6 Comments

If you ask me Creator Owned Comics is Clint done right. Well they both have terrible titles!

Triggergirl 6 was fantastic, the end really shouldn’t have worked, but it did and I loved it. This is a great comic and you should all buy it… NOW… go on…

Love the creators, and the stories look great, but there really is just no use for me with a monthly floppy. If they trade the stories when there’s enough as a series of short stories, great, if not, I’ll sadly miss out on this stuff. Support the industry you love in the format you want, and vote with your dollars right? Well, I gotta stick by and vote trade.

What’s not to like about this book?

The creators are amazing (Phil Noto got me to pick up the book, and the rest of the creative teams kept me firmly planted in my seat). The text pieces are (mostly) insightful and entertaining (one guy is unnecessarily verbose, and irritatingly & actively obscure in his word choices, thus making him a chore to read at times). And the stories have been very enjoyable to date. I am glad I grabbed the first 3 issues off the racks, and then added the title to my sub.

It’s easily the most satisfying $3.99 I spend every month (after DC’s “All-Star Western”).

I love this comic. Great concept (an anthology/magazine that focuses on the creative aspects of comics with commentary and advice and new material… brilliant), great creative teams, great essays. All-around good bang for your buck and if Palmiotti, Gray and Phil Noto are involved, I’ll pick it up for sure.

The only thing I would change is that I’d like to see each 11 page short be an ultra-compact done-in-one, rather than a chapter in a longer story. You’re right in that the pacing is a bit awkward – decompressed storytelling serialized in bitty pieces can be a drag to read, kind of like reading a novel one page per week. The trend lately seems to be toward webcomics and digital distribution so I think we’re due for a return of the “Slimline” format that everyone was talking about when Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith gave us with Fell and Matt Fraction with the first volume of Casanova. Not only is that my favorite comics format, it seems timely and like we should be moving in that direction anyway.

Other than that minor quibble with pacing, Creator-Owned is the perfect anthology comic. Thumbs up to Jimmy and everyone else.

I love this book/magazine. Noto’s art is so good… I love seeing him do interiors. I can’t wait for what’s coming.

Nice that you did this summary of the individual issues and not the “wait for trade” mentality. Strong to point out that it is designed for the single issue consumption. While the stories could be collected down the road on their own, the serial design and publication are the key.

Keep up the nice reviews!

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