For every Marvel or DC book that you plunk down your hard earned money for weekly, please remember that there are smaller companies producing excellent material as well. Some of those companies like Boom and Dynamite, have slowly grown into contenders for a bigger portion of the comic book market share,by putting out quality original material,and supplementing by securing licensed properties. ComixTribe is a smaller fish in a bigger pond, but they have started the journey to up and coming small publisher by doing several things. Tyler James the publisher and EIC Steve Forbes have smartly built up a solid website (comixtribe.com), a strong presence at local and larger conventions,and a talented stable of creators. This article is about the book written by Mr. James himself called The Red Ten.
Tyler much like many writers coming up in the comic industry, wondered what it must be like to write a book like The Justice League. Knowing that he may not get the chance, he decided to do the next best thing: create his own version of a premier super team and center an original story around them. Working with Connecticut based artist Caesar Feliciano, the two crafted a story that borrows from comics and literature history while being quite unique as well.This story is The Red Ten.
The action begins with Red, a female Batman analog being murdered brutally. The suspect in the killing is Oxymoron who is a vicious lunatic modeled partially on the Joker. Dan Lawrence is not only the District Attorney on the case but also the ex costumed partner and child ward of Red’s. The Alliance is a corporate funded super team, which counted Red amongst their members. The team begin their own investigation into the case and learn that Oxymoron has a hidden island base in the South Pacific. Despite his obviously strained relationship with his ex partner, Dan once again dons his crime fighting garb as Crimson and joins the other 9 members of the Alliance to avenge her death. Once they reach the island, they find an apparently murdered Oxymoron and a cryptic poem counting down how each of the 10 heroes will die. Images of Agatha Christie and her Indians rear their ugly head as the story kicks into high gear. Thus the first issue ends and the first hero dies. As each issue progresses there are more characters dying, more secrets are revealed and the only thing for sure is nothing is for sure.
Feliciano is a talented artist, has a great sense of visual storytelling using panel layouts deftly on each page to control the pacing of the book. James’ dialogue works well in the classic comic book “superhero” mold, he also uses gritty language to give it a more real less homogenized feel. The story is set to wrap after 10 issues and so far 6 have been released. ComixTribe has made it easy for readers to get their hands on this book. Check out the previously mentioned website to order or ask your local comic shop to get it for you through Diamond. Issue 7 is currently being put together and should see release early in 2015. Also, Oxymoron, The Red Ten’s villain and breakout character has starred in a few books also available through ComixTribe so if you’re the completionist, check it out.
On a personal note, I have had the pleasure of meeting the ComixTribe guys at shows through the last couple of years and can honestly say they are doing the small publishing thing right. They always engage passers by and work their hardest to get you interested in their products. Of course that is their job,but I go to a lot of Cons, and see way more tiny publishers who would rather finish their sandwich than try to get you to buy what they have to offer. Tyler actually hosts a series of videos on the website giving free advice on how to deal with customers at cons and how to pitch your product. That level of industriousness is a testament to ComixTribe’s eventual rise to becoming a much larger publisher. So next time you start thinking about that certain Big 2 series that has been dragging, put it down and start looking through the smaller house books, you may be pleasantly surprised.