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(Hopefully) There is Penance for us all!

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Back in 2000, Dave Ryan launched his Independent comicbook company, Red Anvil, with Penance (which he wrote and illustrated, and was inked by Peter Palmiotti) a comic that asked the question, what would happen when an average Joe or a petty criminal became a god or a demon? For the storyline, Ryan scattered 24 magical gemstones throughout the world in an attempt to find worthy bearers of their eldritch power. Each gem was a conduit of the local mythos in which it was hidden and served as a gateway to the realm of the supernatural world. Whoever was (un)lucky enough to locate one of the ancient gemstones was endowed with unlimited mystical power.

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That first issue launched with a bang, wasting no time launching directly into the action as a group of the gem-stone-powered individuals staged an attack on one of the other gem holders, only to be thwarted by a competing group of stone-holders. This massive assault not only proved to be flashy but equally devastating for the medieval village that it all but decimated in the process of the story.

As it turned out, both good and evil men and women uncovered the gemstones and began a race for omnipotence over all mankind. It was his concept that with limitless power, and no idea how to use it, how would the heroes and villains of Penance react. Unfortunately Penance only lasted one issue but fortunately, Red Anvil lasted longer. Ryan went on to launch the Eagle Award nominated comicbook, The War of the Independents which features dozens of Indie creator-owned heroes such as Too Much Coffee Man, The Maxx, The Tick, and more.

In addition to his comics He has worked on other comic titles including Hercules, Judge Dredd, Xenya and is currently inking Unbearable for Crucial Comics. Dave is also working on other creator-owned, Red Anvil titles, Owlgirls and Bye BiPolar. In 2013, Ryan teamed up with Joe Martino (Shadowflame, Ripperman and The Mighty Titan) who was publishing under his own logo of JGM Comics, to form Red Anvil Comics incorporating the books from both houses and adding new ones as well. Between the two of them they not only have a combined experience of over 35 years of producing comics and publishing experience for a wide audience, but have run five successful Kickstarter campaigns to crowd-fund their publications.

One of Red Anvil Comics major goals is to produce not just “great comics” but to produce great comics that either one of the founders would spend their own money to purchase in stores if they weren’t already the creators. Thus it is with this goal in mind, the company’s initial line up consists of Owlgirls, The Mighty Titan, War of the Independents and Cyberine Corps, with additional titles in production and expected to be released early in 2014, that will be announced as they each near their completion dates. One of those “new” titles that is under consideration is a re-launching of Penance, that will (hopefully) now last past that first issue.


Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.


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