Welcome to, like the song says, something like a phenomenon. Today saw the official unveiling of MonkeyBrain Comics, a new comic publisher featuring some of the most interesting and exciting independent creators in the medium coming up with new characters, concepts and series that will make their debut digitally – and within hours of the press conference that announced the publisher’s existence, “MonkeyBrain” was one of the most popular trending topics of the day on Twitter, leading to the company’s first five titles being released two days earlier than planned to meet the demand.
Pretty impressive stuff for its first few hours of existence, really.
MonkeyBrain Comics is an offshoot of MonkeyBrain Books, an independent press owned and operated by Allison Baker and former Superman, Star Trek and iZombie writer Chris Roberson. “MonkeyBrain Comics was born out of a desire to directly explore what opportunities there were in the newly expanding digital marketplace for creator owned material,” Roberson says in the company’s launch literature. “We knew from the get go that we’d want to work exclusively with comiXology, who have become the undisputed leader in the digital comics field with their platforms’ unparalleled reading and shopping experience. And we’re pleased to have so many of our close creator friends along for the ride.”
Amongst those creators are Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, who have worked on Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man, X-Men and The Avengers separately as well as collaborated on critically acclaimed independent projects Gingerbread Girl and Banana Sunday; Matthew Dow Smith, who past work includes a stint illustrating the adventures of Doctor Who for IDW Publishing; and award-winning editor and writer Adam P. Knave, all of whom have work in the first “wave” of releases rushed to market today (Future creators who’ll be publishing through MonkeyBrain include Heavy Metal‘s Axel Medellin; upcoming creator of Hell Yeah! and writer of Glory Joe Keatinge; and Bill Willingham, whose DC Comics series Fables is one of the most popular series for the publisher’s Vertigo imprint since Neil Gaiman’s groundbreaking Sandman).
The first wave consists of the first issue of six different series –
Aesop’s Ark by J. Torres and Jennifer L. Meyer
Amelia Cole and the Unknown World by Adam P. Knave, DJ Kirkbride and Nick Brokenshire
Bandette by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover
Edison Rex by Chris Roberson and Dennis Culver
October Girl by Matthew Dow Smith
Wander by Kevin Church and Grace Allison
– four of which are available for just 99 cents right here (Amelia Cole is $1.99, and is well worth it; Wander is curiously unavailable at time of writing, but I suspect that may be fixed by the time you’re reading this).
With the comic industry in seeming permanent flux – both in terms of a rising awareness of and demand for new ideas owned and controlled by their creators, and also a shift towards a digital format – seeing this kind of immediate success for an independent venture filled with lots of new (ideas, stories, characters) bodes well for the future. Apparently, monkeying around can really pay off.