Humble Bundle is a great way to add some bulk to your digital comics (and games) collection while also doing some good in the world. They offer pay-what-you-want deals that let you divert however much of your purchase you want to charity, and if you spend at certain levels, you get more stuff. Since its inception, they’ve had bundles covering everything from G.I. Joe and Transformers comics to kids books or Top Shelf art books.
The latest bundle covers almost $1600 worth of collected editions from Image Comics, with proceeds being sent to two outstanding charities: the BINC Foundation, the nonprofit helping independent bookstores weather the COVID-related economic downturn; and the Hero Initiative, a nonprofit that helps provide a safety net to comic creators in need. But the question that might jump to mind for an overwhelmed reader is “Is this bundle actually a deal?”
The answer is undoubtedly yes, at every level. Setting aside, for a moment, the fact that your donation is doing real good (as of writing, this bundle has raised over $120k), there are some ridiculously good comics in this package. Here are the highlights.
$1 – Copra
Michel Fiffe’s Copra only just moved to Image from Bergen Street Press (or maybe they moved several years ago – time moves different now), but most of the back catalogue is somewhere in this bundle. Copra started as Fiffe’s hard-indie love letter to ’80s Suicide Squad comics, but it very quickly moved from pastiche to loving tribute to its own entity entirely. Fiffe’s art is very atypical for the kind of superhero comics you’d normally read – it looks like extremely talented notepad doodling, but eventually you get sucked into the art and the characters, and don’t look up until four volumes later. It’s an excellent series.
There are other highlights at the lowest level – Jordie Bellaire is one of the best colorists around, and Redlands proves she can write, too. And the first package gives you a way in on Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley’s Invincible, a mash up of Superman and Spider-Man tropes that turned out to be a monstrous epic story.
$8 – My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips collaborations have always been special, going all the way back to Wildstorm’s Sleeper, but one of the best has to be their Criminal book from 2018, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies. It’s melancholy all the way through, beautifully illustrated and colored to enhance that wistful sadness. And the twists are, as always, worth all of your emotional investment.
God Country, from Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, will have you wracking your brain by the end, wondering why Shaw isn’t a superstar artist. This level also finishes off Copra‘s pre-Image days; gives you the first two volumes of Kirkman’s secret best horror book, Outcast; and has Plutona, a Jeff Lemire special about some kids that see a dead body. Emi Lenox’s art is the perfect mood for that story.
$15 – Pretty Deadly
There is nobody working in comics right now quite like Emma Rios. Her layouts are extraordinary, her linework impeccable, and her characters all expressive and stylish. You will absolutely disappear into the entire first story from Pretty Deadly, a weird, beautiful, magical western comic from Rios, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, and colorist Bellaire.
You’ll also probably have a good time reading the first 20 issues of Sex Criminals from artist and pervert Chip Zdarsky, and DeConnick’s husband Matt Fraction. Low has some beautiful underwater art and colors from Greg Tocchini and some interesting high concept from writer Rick Remender. And both Nailbiter by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson and Ice Cream Man from W. Maxwell Prince are supposed to be excellent (and are two of the three main reasons I’m buying this when I already own half of what’s in this bundle).
$18 – Monstress
The detail work in Sana Takeda’s art on Monstress is incredible. There are a staggering number of lines in every panel, but there’s an effortlessness and ease to her storytelling that is infuriating. It’s so easy to get lost in the backgrounds that you miss facial expressions and body language of some of the background characters until second and third read throughs, which makes this deal – four of the five volumes of the whole story from Takeda and Marjorie Liu – the best value in the entire package.
This level is where several other home runs live, including most of the rest of Brubaker and Phillips’ Criminal series; half of Remender, Matteo Scalera and Moreno Dinisio’s gorgeous sad dad classic, Black Science; and the third main reason I’m buying this high, Darcy Van Poelgeest and Ian Bertrom’s Pretty Bird.