Oni Watch: Oni Press Reminds Us It’s Not All Bad

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Times are pretty rough, my friends. So far, most of us are navigating 2017 like it’s a racist uncle trying to burn down your house at Thanksgiving. Throughout all this, it’s nice to know that Oni Press has our backs when it comes to finding a couple of things to smile about in the world. And not just through their potentially awesome brand new tabletop games imprint.

Between August 2nd and August 9th, I tore through Dead of Winter #1 by Kyle Starks and Gabo, Invader Zim #22 by Eric Trueheart and Warren Wucinich, the nostalgia-fueled Brobots Volume 2 by J. Torres and Sean Dove, and Night’s Dominion Season 2: #1 by Ted Naifeh.

And here’s the thing: I had a roaring good time with all of them. Although the ratio of male to female creators again appears to be relatively non-existent for this batch (I’ve now reviewed a full month of Oni Press and find myself disappointed by this), the ethnic diversity among its male creators coupled by Oni’s conscious push for inclusion is certainly trickling down into the casts of some delightful stories.

Here are four great moments that made me smile from the newest offerings.

1) When the Brobots Apologized For The Delicious Mess They Made (and Then Fixed It)– Brobots Volume 2

A beautiful example of how to be a true bro – Brobots Volume 2

With at least two puns per page (I started counting at one point) and a cute style reminiscent of your favorite Saturday morning cartoons, Brobots is a love letter to the mecha genre that has a gooey warm heart and a great lesson even for the most adultiest of adults: when you mess up, own up and make it amends. These are the kind of bros every bro should aspire to be.

2) When Zim Was Told Off For Being a Jerk – Invader Zim #22

The order of priorities here is pretty heart-warming. – Invader Zim #22

Zim is still up to his old hijinks, trying to destroy all those pesky humans through a plan that involves some “cheezo powder” and masquerading as an engineer. He’s generally terrible to his trusty assistant, Gir, belittling his intelligence and smacking him around, much to the disapproval of the chief of security of the Cheezo factory they’re infiltrating. It’s not at all surprising that Gir spends the entire issue trying to kill him, though evidently that’s not the full cause of it. Nevertheless, it was gratifying to see Zim figure out by the end of the issue that he needs to be a little nicer to his friends.

3) When the Old Guy Argued that City Vigilante “The Night” Couldn’t Possibly Be a Woman, Before She Saved His Butt Roughly Nine Pages Later– Night’s Dominion Season 2: #1

Friend, I’ve got some news for you. — Night’s Dominion Season 2: #1 

His sole argument was something akin to, “I met The Night once and he pulled me up off a ledge with one hand. No woman could possibly be that strong.” He quickly learns otherwise when she arrives in civilian clothes to keep him from becoming another casualty on the streets. This medieval fantasy superhero-esque highly diverse series is quite possibly one of my favorite new discoveries of the year.

4) Sparky, the Zombie-Wrecking Dog – Dead of Winter #1

Sparky is a very good boy. – Dead of Winter #1 

Zombies have oversaturated the market for a decade and a half now, and Oni Press was frankly brilliant to focus their new series, which is based on the hit tabletop game of the same name by PlaidHat Games, largely around an adorable dog that really hates zombies. It also features a cast chock full of people of color, and the beginnings of a story that promises to be a good ride. If the zombie apocalypse does ever arrive, it’s nice to think there’ll be people like Gabriel and good boys like Sparky out there looking out for the people.

Let me know in the comments what your own favorite story moments from Oni Press are!

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When not teaching, traveling, or sleeping, I write. Find me at @writethenoise on Twitter, or Writethenoise.tumblr.com

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