Six (+1) of our favorite Monkeybrain titles

by  in Comic News Comment
Six (+1) of our favorite Monkeybrain titles

It was about a year ago that Monkeybrain Comics, the all-digital, creator-owned comics publisher headed up by Chris Roberson and Allison Baker, burst onto the scene. A year later, they’ve published roughly two dozen titles, many of which have found print homes and one of which, Bandette, brought home a few Eisner nominations.

In celebration of their big year, we thought we’d list six of our favorite Monkeybrain titles, but we couldn’t quite narrow the list down that far, so you’re getting one bonus selection as well.


by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover

I remember when I first saw Colleen Coover’s work in X-Men: First Class. She would do these short stories – usually featuring Jean Grey, Scarlet Witch, and other female characters – and I foolishly thought how awesome it would be to see her do something longer for Marvel. It was foolish because what I really wanted (I just didn’t know it) was Bandette. Written by Coover’s husband, Paul Tobin – whose work I loved so much in the dearly missed Marvel Adventures line – Bandette is a beautiful mash-up of many amazing, awesome things. It’s a world of heists, detectives, and spies all set in France with a European adventure comics feel and a perfectly adorable lead character who pulls it all together. There’s a reason Bandette was nominated for four Eisners, but it deserves many more than that. —Michael May

Edison Rex

by Chris Roberson, Dennis Culver, Stephen Downer, John J. Hill and Dylan Todd

Reading this series, I am reminded a little bit of Alan Moore’s run on Supreme. The creative team uses the Edison Rex universe to make homages to other comics series, story devices and even ads. Rex is the reluctant hero. Roberson delivers a script with a load of action and a dash of whimsy/wit. Both Roberson and Culver channel the old Marvel Universe Handbook material for some of the back pages material. For all the fun infused in these pages, Roberson also gives us villains who struggle (when not superpowered) with diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The latest issue (Edison Rex 7) came out last week and dives headfirst into the origin of Edison Rex. Longtime readers of Robot 6 will not be surprised to learn this is my favorite title of all the Monkeybrain line. —Tim O’Shea

High Crimes

by Christopher Sebela and Ibrahim Moustafa

Zan Jensen had a great Olympic career ahead of her until she wiped out at the wrong moment; now she’s hiding from her demons in Kathmandu, working for a cheesy climbing service and on the side, helping her friend Haskell Price strip the bodies of those who perished on the slopes of their valuables and their right hands, using the fingerprints to track down their relatives and offer to bring the remains back—for a fee. That works fine until Price comes down the mountain with the right hand of a Special Ops agent who went rogue 20 years ago. Now his colleagues want him back, and they have an arsenal of ruthless techniques to get what they want. This is a great action story, and Sebela and Moustafa make the most of their setting, with plenty of telling details and interesting bits of storytelling. It’s great escape reading for the dog days of summer. —Brigid Alverson


by Gabriel Hardman

I’m mostly familiar with Gabriel Hardman’s work from Boom!’s Planet of the Apes comics, but I couldn’t tell from that what I should expect from Kinski. Whatever I should have expected, Kinski would have defied it anyway. Hardman’s creating a story that’s impossible to predict because it’s about a person’s deep affection for an animal. People will always do crazy things for someone they love, but Hardman takes Kinski beyond that by layering on additional complications. The dog Kinski doesn’t legally belong to the main character, a man named Joe whose ability to concentrate on his career already seems to be suffering. Joe feels lost and Hardman makes sure I feel it too, so I understand when Joe emotionally latches on to the puppy for dear life. It’s a set up for disaster, especially when Joe makes an unexpected connection with a woman who also turns out to be connected to the dog. There are a thousand things that could go wrong in this situation and though Hardman makes me feel right there with Joe the whole time, I don’t know what’s going to happen or even what I want to happen. I’m just along for the ride and that’s a wonderful feeling to have in a serialized story. —Michael May

Masks & Mobsters: A Crime Anthology

by Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson, Jason Copland, Justin Greenwood, Ryan Cody and Seth Damoose

The gritty pulp/noir to this anthology makes it standout in comparison to many of the other Monkeybrain properties. Last week saw the release of the first trade collection (published by Image), that reveals a variety of artists (mainly Henderson) working together to document the early days of heroes that don masks and take on the mob. Told mainly from the perspective of the mobsters, the narrative point of view adds another element that makes these stories such a unque read. As much as I typically love four-color stories, I relish the heights that the artists take these black and white crime stories. —Tim O’Shea


by Curt Pires, Dalton Rose and Ryan Ferrier

There’s been an influx of great “super science” comics over the last couple years, with Theremin joining the ranks of books like Manhattan Projects and Nowhere Men. Like the former, Theremin uses historical characters and puts them in very messed up situations in the name of science, discovery and world domination. Pires and Rose’s story revolves around time travel in Russia circa the early 1900s, as a young scientist discovers the possibilities of using it to further Lenin’s ambitions. Things, of course, go wrong along the way. Despite the heavy science focus, the story moves rather quickly, as our super scientist turns super assassin and does things like fight the United States’ Satanic Chimp Death Cult. Yes, this comic had me at Satanic Chimp Death Cult. —JK Parkin

Thoughts on a Winter Morning

by Kurt Busiek, Steve Lieber and Dylan Todd

One of the unexpected surprises of Monkeybrain’s first year was this resurrected and remastered story. There’s something exhilarating about seeing two master craftsmen like Busiek and Lieber work in a genre not often associated with them. This autobiographical tale is a sincere and humble meditation on memory, childhood perception and nostalgia. Lieber is in full service of the story. He presents a detached accuracy and precision in the telling, so as not to overwhelm the narrative with sappy sentimentality, but he’s not a robot about it – despite the cold winter setting, there’s a soft warmth that helps make the whole thing a pleasure to read. They captured a beautiful moment of a new father’s discoveries. —Corey Blake