Back in the 1960s, there were quite a number of amateur comic books being published and sold through the mail. Some of them were surprisingly good and had artwork by folks who went on to be professionals. In the past decade or so, there has been a resurgence of small press comic books, but these days they are much more sophisticated and professionally done. Mimeographed covers and black and white insides have been replaced with computer-colored slick paper pages and the derivative fanboy tales have given way to some highly original premises and stories.
I’ve reviewed a number of these comics on FORCES OF GEEK and yet they remain largely under the radar.
Last time I checked, few if any of these new comic books are listed in Overstreet or online price guides and that’s a shame because they tend to be more original than anything from Marvel or DC has been in years.
Today’s case in point is Double Cross. Double Crosscomes from Warden Comics and is written by Ludie Sexton with art by Ken Krekeler. It’s the first issue of a planned alternative history epic that postulates what might have happened had aliens made first contact in Nazi Germany at the Berlin Olympics of 1936.
Krekeler’s artwork is stark and violent and reminds me at times of the best work of Frank Miller or Tim Sale. His layouts are impressive and the inspired use of abstract color in splatters and splashes here—one of my favorite talking points in many recent reviews—works to create many stylish effects including the rain in the opening scene.
Sexton’s plot has the alien Prometheus—so named by Adolf Hitler—giving powers to the winners of the various Olympic events. Thus American Jesse Owens (unnamed but clearly him) becomes a super speedster. But Hitler makes sure his athletes win overall, with the idea of making them super soldiers for his impending war.
This, we find, is actually all being relayed to a therapist in modern day by our hero, an ex-German spy who was present that day and intercepted the powers meant for the final winner, after which he could not be killed. That hasn’t prevented other super-powered characters from attempting to do so over the years, though. He takes the name of Aesir.
The dialogue in Double Crossis well-written and reasonably realistic and both the writer and artist mesh nicely to create that elusive cinematic effect that comics artists always seem to strive for. The highly visual scenes such as the alien ship’s arrival, Prometheus revealing his true self, Hitler murdering the hero’s wife, and Aesir standing proudly at the end, are all straight off a movie screen.
Like many first issues, Double Cross# 1 is all set up, but if the goal of such first issues is to make one want to come back for more, Sexton and Krekeler have succeeded admirably.
As I said, there are a LOT of these new comic books that fly under the radar. They look almost professional these days because they really ARE professional. See if you can find them. This one found me and I’m glad it did.
You can grab a copy here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wardencomics/double-cross-1?ref=project_link