It would be fair to say that one of favorite little Indie comicbook companies is New York City’s own Pronto Comics. The reason for this is that since the company’s inception some five years ago it has published something like 40 comics. The company’s self-proclaimed mission to help burgeoning creators self-publish their own work, and thus start their careers. For its part, Pronto Comics is an independent non-for-profit publishing company that works to pair up writers with artists to work on self-published projects. The business model is that everybody works to get everybody published, with artists, writers, letterers and editors all pitching in to help each other achieve a level of proficiency that will get their comics published and (hopefully) get each aspiring creator to the next level of their respective careers.
We recently came into possession of three of Pronto’s comics, Hackers of Fate, Stray, and Manga Nation. Both Hackers and Stray are stand-alone, full-length comics, while Manga Nation is an ongoing anthology (Stray is also an on-going Manga-style comic). Each of the three comics proved to be not only interesting, and well made, but show off a very different aspect of the group. Hackers is a 36-page sci-fi tale, Both Manga Nation and Stray are 24-page stories (with Nation having two 12-page stories, Ninja Express and another Stray tale. All three books are in B&W, and sell for between $2.50 and $3.00.
In the full-issue Stray, much to the dismay of her older, more practical (mature) sister, while shopping for clothes, the young, anime- and Manga-obsessed Megan purchases a jacket that turns out to be imbued wit magical powers, that leads her on an amazing adventure. Written by David Rondinelli and illustrated by Cathy Lau and Amelie Young this delightful story is straightforward, simple and fanciful all at the same time, engaging the reader as they move deeper into this very entertaining story.
In the Stray one-shot that appears in the pages of Pronto’s manga magazine Manga Nation #4, our heroine must contend with a posse of mean-girl bullies on Halloween night as they gang up on her during Trick or Treat. The lead-off tale young lad must prove his worth in his attempt to join the school’s Ninja Club. While Stray has the same creative team as the stand-alone comic, Ninja Club is written by D.M. Charles and illustrated by Drake Tinta.
Hackers of Fate (by: Simon Petersen and Agnete Hjerl) is about a dystopian future (1999). The comic is a rainy, dark cyber punk homage, which (according to Petersen) is inspired by films like Blade Runner, Hackers , and Johnny Mnemonic; as well as role playing games such as Shadowrun. Get ready for an engaging adventure with a nameless cyber surfer and his mysterious femme fatale, as they begin hacking for freedom against the dictatorial mega corporation New Sun. Join them in this noir-tale set in the neon-lit back alleys and on the information superhighway. Meet the street samurai, the corporate cops as well as the rebel hackers. Oh, and wear a trench coat, because it is totally gonna rain. The future of 1999…is now! Hackers of Fate is available on Indyplanet!
Pronto has a general meeting regularly on the first Thursday of each month in NYC. The meeting is open to everyone and anyone who is interested in making comics. The group also sponsors regular social and artistic mixers as well as events like Phrases to Pages, as well as sets up and runs tables at a number of comic cons that are local to New York.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comicbook articles and reviews.