Monkeybrain books was founded in 2001 by popular comic writer Chris Roberson and Allison Baker, an independent press company with a focus on science fiction and fantasy. In 2012, they branched out in out into a creator-owned digital-only (for now) comics line, distributed through Comixology. With books like Edison Rex, The October Girl, and Bandette, they’ve enjoyed a fair amount of success, with critical and fan acclaim and (from what I’ve heard) pretty decent sales. With a price point of 99 cents an issue, their comics are designed for the digital medium and priced to sell and, at least from this particular blogger, HIGHLY recommended.
Anthology series in general are a hard sell, but I decided to pick up Masks & Mobsters issue one a while back and FINALLY got around to reading it last week. After the last page was done, I immediately purchased the following four issues and read them in one sitting. Masks & Mobsters captured my interest from its basic title (I like both masks AND mobsters – combining the two doesn’t happen often nowadays). I figured at worst I would waste 99 cents. At best? I’d have something comparable to Brubaker and Phillips’ stellar Incognito series.
While it’s still a little early to compare Masks and Mobsters to Incognito, the series has turned into a must-read for me, and I am anxiously awaiting the 6th issue. Written by Joshua Williamson (Uncharted for DC, Dear Dracula for Image), Masks and Mobsters is an anthology series where you can pick up any issue (though the 2nd issue ties with the 1st) and instantly get pulled into this black and white world of the battle between mobsters and the desperate things they do to take on the superheroes that are making their lives a living hell. And as great as the writing is, the art my Mike Henderson is what grabbed me at first. This guy can draw the hell out of some mobsters and superheroes in a noir setting, and the mood of the book is sold by him from page 1.
The stories are all short (you’re only paying 99 cents, after all), but they’re all fulfilling and all fit into the overall arc. This is definitely building towards something, and I for one can’t wait to see where it goes.
Though the art may give the impression otherwise, this is a mature readers story due to language and violence, but damn…if you love noir and you love superheroes, pick up Masks and Mobsters on Comixology as soon as you possibly can.