It has been said that 2012 was the year of the creator-owned comic. I’d like to offer an addendum to that statement. While “Walking Dead #100” might have been the best selling issue of the year and books like Saga are sweeping in (completely warranted) rave reviews, I move that 2012 was merely the initial explosion of creator-owned comics.
Enter The Accelerators, the first effort of fledgling company Blue Juice Comics. A little over a year ago, these guys sat down and said let’s make a comic; now their effort can be seen in this March’s Previews issue.
The Accelerators is the story of two time travelers: Alexa, a research scientist who is the only living member of a team studying time travel. The other, Bertram, a soldier determined to wipe out any trace of their research in hopes of preventing a future decimated by the effects of time travel. They pursue each other through decades in an action packed cat-and-mouse chase. The story is extremely original, hinging on the balance of scientific progress vs. personal responsibility while blending classic time-travel tropes with their own unique hook. The characters are engaging, with hints to a deeper backstory that promises to be a driving force to the plot. The art is detailed and consistent while employing a cinematic array of perspective, lighting, and silhouette. Crisp digital coloring adds as much style as the distinctive art; and the layout makes great use of space and pacing.
Long story short, this does NOT feel like the first issue of an independent company’s first book.
The quality is on par with the offerings of the Big Two, and though Image seems a perfect home for a creator-owned original mini-series, Blue Juice is taking the independent spirit a step further by taking on their own publication as well. While the book certainly stands on its own, their story is as interesting as what is on the printed page. Call it Blue Juice Comics: Year One. In a truly inspiring blend of self reliance and transparency through social media, fans could follow The Accelerators creation from a working script to finished comic. Weekly updates on the creative team’s roadblocks and successes could be followed on the I Sell Comics Podcast (weekly comic ‘cast of Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash crew). The art could be followed from pencils through to a finished colored and lettered page. There were WordPress blog updates and Facebook posts ranging from t-shirt giveaways to polls inquiring on a fair price point for an independent book. Every step of the process was on display, and the result is a beautiful essay in Making Comics 101. If you have a good story and great passion, no amount of distance or hardship or 16 hour work days should keep you from your goal.
However, now is when the true test begins. The book is done and now hinges on the love of the fans. I urge you to check out this free Accelerators Preview and decide if this is a story worth investing your time and money in for yourself. If so, and you want to see it in your local store, mention it to them, because that’s the only way it’s going to get there! I for one want to see the story of The Accelerators and Blue Juice Comics have a happy ending.