Vault Comics Pubwatch: Happy Holidays

Vault Comics Pubwatch: Happy Holidays

This month’s Vault Comics Pubwatch takes us into the holidays with a great gift idea that exemplifies the spirit of giving through Vault’s Pay-What-You-Want non-profit fundraiser sale. Until December 31, readers can check out several titles in Vault’s digital library for whatever price they want to pay, with 50% of the digital sales donated to

This month’s Vault Comics Pubwatch takes us into the holidays with a great gift idea that exemplifies the spirit of giving through Vault’s Pay-What-You-Want non-profit fundraiser sale. Until December 31, readers can check out several titles in Vault’s digital library for whatever price they want to pay, with 50% of the digital sales donated to the buyer’s choice of three non-profit organizations: National Alliance on Mental Illness, Family Promise, or Room to Read.

After the overwhelming response to their initial announcement, Vault took the special a step further by adding four genre-specific samplers to give readers a taste of what Vault Comics has to offer. Each sampler contains more than ten first and second issues of several titles.

“There are three seemingly unrelated problems that come up again and again in conversation at the Vault offices,” said Vault CEO and Publisher, Damian Wassel. “First, there is the problem of how to make comics cheaper and easier to purchase. Second, the problem of how to do more good with the books we make at Vault. Third, how to address rampant comics piracy. The other day, we had a simple idea that seemed like it could help with all three problems: Sell digital copies of our books directly to our fans, with no account sign ups, and no fussy DRM. Offer them for whatever the customer wants to pay. And give half the money away. Anyone can afford them. Anyone can buy them, anywhere in the world. And every purchase does real good.”

Rebecca “Tay” Taylor Joins the Vault Comics Team

Vault has hired veteran editor Rebecca Taylor to oversee the Myriad imprint which will publish science fiction and fantasy graphic novels for younger readers. As Managing Editor, Taylor will handle editorial and acquisitions for Myriad, and work with Vault’s designer, Tim Daniels, on the look and feel of the new line up.

“I am thrilled and honored to be joining the incredible team at Vault,” said Taylor. “Over the last few years, Vault has built a superlative reputation for making thoughtful and dynamic comics in the sci-fi and fantasy spaces. I cannot wait to expand that mission to young readers through Myriad and help grow the library of quality sci-fi and fantasy graphic novels for kids and young adults.”

More Vault Comics in 2020

Several series that debuted this year have been announced for continued runs beginning in February 2020. Joining ongoing series Heathen and Wasted Space are Sera and the Royal Stars, Money Shot, and The Plot.

Also out in February 2020 will be the new series Finger Guns #1, written by Justin Richards, drawn by Val Halvorson, colored by Rebecca Nalty, lettered by Taylor Esposito, and designed by Tim Daniel.

In Finger Guns, two troubled teenagers discover they can manipulate emotions by firing finger guns. There will be laughs. There will be tears. There will be uncomfortable teen feelings and angst. Oh yeah… And chaos. So much chaos.

Cover Lover

Can we just take a moment to admire the vibrant covers of Sera and the Royal Stars? Yes. Let’s do that.

Currently Reading

This month offers no new titles added to Vault Comics’ growing line up, but those that have already been introduced this year stay the course. Here are a few on my reading list.

Resonant #5
David Andry (writer), Alejandro Aragon (artist), Deron Bennett (letterer), Jason Wordie (colorist)

A strange mask with one eye and three thick metal bars on the other side

“Hope is hard. But it gets easier if we share it.”

This issue opens with a silent battle. Pax, still trapped on Honcho’s island, is forced to fight off invaders dressed in rags and warpaint in scenes that feel like a grown up Lord of the Flies. The battle wages for several pages, with brutal scenes of violence depicted with horrific intensity that is amplified by the fact that there are no words or sounds on the pages at all. The silence—in a book called Resonant—is palpable and deafening. The horror eases shortly after as Pax and his new friends recover in the aftermath. Pax breaks down, fearing for the children he’s left behind, but his friends bolster him with words of hope.

Meanwhile, the kids have splintered with Bec at the house trying to keep the sickly Stef alive while figuring out what to do with the bear that’s hanging out in the yard, and Ty being inducted into the faith by the new family he’s found. But Pax does indeed have little time because there’s even worse in store for the kids, with something dark lurking in the forest.

Queen of Bad Dreams Volume One
Dearbhla Kelly (colorist), Danny Lore (writer), Kim McLean (letterer), Jordi Pérez (artist)

The shape of a woman raises over the silhouette of a city

When you’re dealing with dreams, you’re really dealing with people.

When figments of dreams escape into the real world, it’s judges like Daher Wei that must determine whether or not the figment has the right to continue in the real world, or if they must be reinserted into the psychic realm. But when she’s sent after a particular figment, one belonging to the son of a wealthy and powerful senator, her decision becomes a lot more difficult. This has elements of cop drama to it, but it takes a very personal turn from the start because it’s narrated by Daher’s ex-wife. The couple are separated because her job has too often come between then, but as the plot thickens, it becomes impossible to keep family and business apart.

Test: The Complete Series
Jen Hickman (artist), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (letterer), Harry Saxton (colorist), Christopher Sebela (writer)

Aleph wears a strange digital mask

“Laurelwood is going to fix me.”

If you haven’t been reading the enigmatic Test, then now is your chance to meet Aleph, the guinea pig who has subjected themself to being a corporate test subject but now must escape to find the city of Laurelwood and learn its technological secrets. A chosen one story that goes beyond the expected, Test questions identity and where we all fit in a world that is drowning in all that technology and corporations have to offer.

Money Shot #3
Sarah Beattie (co-scripter), Crank! (letterer), Rebekah Isaacs (artist), Kurt Michael Russell (colourist), Tim Seeley (writer)

A woman in glasses is seen from the shoulders up. She is naked and there’s an explosion surrounding her head. The expression on her face is one of ecstasy

Did something explode?
That… that was my vagina.

The third issue of Money Shot takes the time to explore relationships on a personal level. As part of Dr. Ocampo’s project, she’s ordered the team to get with each other to find out what makes each other tick in bed and to try to work through any issues that might hamper their performance for the masses. This means that we finally get to see something other than a heteronormative focus on sex, or queer sex being othered and alien. Ocampo’s plan mostly works in that the team, with some exceptions, start to get along better and are more open to the outrageous concept of heading off into space to broadcast alien porn for cash to fund science. But Ocampo’s dream to use sex to make the universe a more peaceful place doesn’t account for the political machinations of the current warlord they are dealing with.

Heist, or How to Steal a Planet #2
Vittorio Astone (colourist), Tim Daniel (designer), Paul Tobin (writer), Arjuna Susini (artist), Saida Temofonte (letterer)

A female presenting person leans against a wall, dressed for a nightclub. She is framed by a pair of long legs wearing high heels

He’s like a dog that doesn’t bother barking before he bites.

Glane’s past actions brought down a planet and its leader, who happens to have been the mother of the man Glane now hopes to recruit for his plans to steal back the planet. Eddy Lets is willing to listen, but judging by the fact that one of the targets in Lets’ shooting range is an effigy of Glane, the arrangements are still a bit touch and go. The rest of the issue focuses on the recruitment drive Glane began in the first issue, with another person on the list showing up in a unique way. Meanwhile, being framed and imprisoned for the murder of Lets’ mother and serving his time wasn’t enough for the powers that be. There are still those who want to see the past repeated, though, while amusingly depicted in childlike drawings, that plan hasn’t exactly worked out this time.

Black Stars Above #2
Jenna Cha (artist), Tim Daniel (designer), Lonnie Nadler (writer), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (letterer), Brad Simpson (colourist)

Cover of Black Stars Above #2 (Vault Comics, December 2019)

By then it’s always too late.

The storm grows wilder and Eulalie must decide whether to return home, where her life has been sold to another man; or continue on a perilous journey to deliver a mysterious package that keeps calling her name and speaking dark words. Of course she continues on, or else we wouldn’t have much of a story, would we? The journey depicted in Cha’s haunting art is filled with ghostly terrors and the very real dangers of the great outdoors. Eulalie has every reason to turn back, but as we see in Nadler’s carefully scripted words, Eulalie is determined to follow where the path will lead her, even as she discovers what is inside the box.

That’s it for this month’s Vault Comics Pubwatch. See you next year!

Wendy Browne

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