Advance Review: Creator-Owned Heroes #1

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Creator-Owned Heroes is a magazine that is also a comic book. There are two monthly comics in this jam-packed first issue. First up there is American Muscle by Steve Niles with Kevin Mellon on art and Trigger Girl 6 by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray with Phil Noto on art. The magazines design and lettering is handled by Bill Tortolini.

First, let’s look at the two comics. American Muscle is a post-apocalyptic tale of Chloe, Gil, and their gang leaving the human safe zone/stronghold to look for paradise on the coast. This story is a pretty solid introduction tale. I really liked the way the panel was laid out introducing us to the gang of 7. The story is pretty straight forward. We find out who these people are, a little about why they are where they are, get told the apocalypse happened (but not how just yet) and then we get the cliffhanger ending. The trip from beginning to end was a great ride. American Muscle has a very promising start and I can’t wait for next month. The art is just as good, you have a great full page panel that shows off the wasteland that has become…well where they were heading to, no spoilers. Plus the last page looks very promising.

Trigger Girl 6 is another great story. You have a sci-fi thriller, action movie type of story. From what we see, a genetically modified assassin is activated and sent off on a mission to take on a plane. The action scenes are great and handled very well by the artist and colorist. The story feels a lot like the pre-credits scene in an action movie. This is how it starts, next month we find out more I’m sure. The art is stunning in the beginning where we get a look at Trigger Girl 6 and then it gets even better with the fight in the air, though it isn’t much of a fight for our main character.

These two comics would make great issues on their own, but together you really get the bang for your comics buying buck. After the two comics you have your regular magazine type articles, but they aren’t your run of the mill boring articles. You have an introduction to the book and what the overall goal is, and then you have Justin Gray with a brilliant write up on the comics industry. He writes about the lack of creativity that leads to reboots and rehashing of old ideas, but then contrasts that with the freshness creator-owned projects bring to the stage. He claims his ideas are all over the place, but he lays out a connected, good argument and gets some great points across.

There is also an interview with Neil Gaiman which is fantastic, although brief. I’m a Gaiman fan so of course I’ll think it was too brief.

I don’t want to just go through and give you the blow by blow of each article, but I do want to touch on two more sections. Steve Bunche writes a brief history on comics and creator-owned enterprises which is very well done. There is also a cosplay section where the outfit from Trigger Girl 6 is recreated. The interview with the cosplayer is a nice addition. It’s good to know there’s more to a cosplayer than just a pretty face.

Bottom Line: Creator-Owned Heroes is a great magazine. It does feature two fantastic comics, but at its heart it feels like a magazine. The two comics are well worth the $3.99 but to have the articles, interviews, cosplay feature, and con photos, it really make sure you get your money’s worth and then some. For something that costs no more than a single issue of a mainstream comic, this is a must get.  I give this first issue a score of 5/5.

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