Surprise Books (AWA Lesser Evils)
I write the new comic book day article each week, so I browse through all the new releases each week and try to highlight not just incentives, but also a few first appearances and any books that interest me. One publisher I have really liked has been AWA. I have gotten to interview a few of the creators and the founder so I am a little biased, but I try and read any AWA book that comes out. Not every series is great, but there have been more good series than bad; from their Resistance Super-hero Universe and all connecting stories to multiple horror-themed books, I have not been disappointed. I would like to think I am up on their releases. I follow them on Instagram and gett heir Newsletter.
This week I walked into a local shop to see a thick AWA magazine on the shelf, Lesser Evils. AWA has done these before, when they were first getting started they did Upshot Magazines which had black and white versions of all their stories. These Upshots (#0-5) came out before the regular issues, so be aware for spec purposes. Stores knew about the Upshots and they had a price of $9.99 on the cover. Lesser Evils had no price on it, not even on the barcode.
Talking to the owner of the shop he said he hadn’t ordered the book they showed up. He received 3-4 copies. I was intrigued so I picked it up. he gave me a good deal. Online they are going for $15-$20, but he sold it to me for $5. These say limited Edition and were released with/for the Tribeca Festival.
The opening pages of the book explain its purpose. The writer and artist are the same for all 4 comics (yep, inside the issue are 4 full-length color comics) the stories are set in New York. AWA is trying a different approach with the stories here. They are cutting out the middle-man for getting movies/shows made. Many times when you hear a comic has been optioned it only means some idea production company has bought the rights. They then go into the stack of other ideas that might eventually get pitched to a production company with money. By the time a movie or show makes it to the screen, there are usually 5-6 different production companies splitting the costs and profits. Then the show/movie is picked up by a streaming service or released in theatres.
AWA is going to try and start the production process for their comics. Chariot was the first comic this was mentioned for. All of the stories in the first Lesser Evils are set in New York and could be developed without much expense, some CGI, but no big locations needed.
The comics are written by Ian Grody, illustrated by Yishan Li, and (directed) by Justin Fair. Ian and Justin have experience in the entertainment industry so they bring an eye toward the screen with their comics.
Emmett is your traditional Golem story with a twist. It is a fun intro story that could spin out into something or just end like a Chucky movie.
Meet Lydia Loew, an artisan potter, who goes on a bender after a bad breakup. Then, in anguish and anger, she accidentally conjures up a golem from clay in her Bushwick studio.
Enter Emmett, a golem with benefits. He mixes a mean cocktail, is handy around the house, and will help Lydia exact revenge, with a vengeance.
A modern-day Genie story with AWA sensibilities. This was my favorite story in the book and it was two full-length issues.
It played on the idea of Dijinn and the Make a Wish foundation. One thing you will notice is multiple celebrities are drawn into the comic sometimes as a face but other times they are given a full panel or two interactions. (Pete Davidson, TechN9ne, and Drake)
After his master sets him free, a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed genie spirals into an existential crisis, until he falls for a human who works for the Make a Wish Foundation – and for once in eons – finds meaning. However, when his former master has a change of heart and threatens to put the hurt on Ginn’s girl unless Ginn recommits to serving him, our troubled genie must make an impossible choice.
Probably my least favorite story. Though none of the stories are unique, this one felt the most overdone, maybe because I liked Electric Black. There were good elements, but the idea of an evil knickknack in a store has made the rounds on TV Shows like Rick and Morty.
What happens when two NYU grads – one with an eye for design, the other with a brain for business – team up to take on the world of decor? The answer: Thriftr, a hoity-toity Greenpoint boutique with a carefully curated collection of secondhand treasures that’s sure to make Brooklynites drop dead. When an antique wooden sculpture appears in their inventory that no one recalls ordering, it begins to feed on their unreconciled co-owner animosity – and must be destroyed before it destroys them.
AWA is a good company. I have been impressed with the quality of writers and artists they have for being such a new company. Between Kickstarters and Substack it is getting hard to find quality stories in stores first. AWA has been putting out quality books for a couple of years. and I appreciate their willingness to take chances with new stories that are easy to access. Even their big world-building event In the resistance doesn’t require you to read them to understand the side stories. The side stories are some of their best, (Eratic, Telepaths, Joness) Lesser Evils imprint feels like it could be some of the same quality. Designing comics ready-made for multiple mediums. These stories are available in WebToon format too. I had read Emmett a while back.
If your store gets AWA books then I would stop by and see if they have a copy of Lesser Evils. AWA has big plans to make comics into shows so be ready.
Until Next Dig,
Want to see some of my interviews with AWA creators.