BY JEN VAUGHN – If you are one of the last souls who has yet to buy WANDER or DRACULA THE UNCONQUERED #2, allow me to convince you. Put away that latte money for I have something better for you to enjoy.

In WANDER, Writer Kevin Church, along with artist Grace Allison, follows about Olive Hopkins, your typical grad-school-esque malcontent who can tell her Master’s degree is only going to permanently cement her job behind the barista counter. Be it magic or some heavy, regrettable drinking, Olive wakes up in a land beyond, full of swords, sorcery and adroit companions such as an elf and Dwarf. Olive, it seems, can shift through dimensions but unholy havoc could this bring to both worlds? Church is oh-so clever and delivers at least two, wait THREE, hints disguised in the full Wander package.

The team of creators spin such a yarn that the $2 price is almost maddening. The clean, sharp linework and cool coloring of Grace Allison often nicely contrast the nasty and funny ideas of Church’s story, instead of playing along. Below, even though jonesing for a slice of ‘za, Olive attempts to be open to new experiences.

I’m a sucker for anyone who follows the add a dog for more cuteness rule.

Luwhil the Dwarf is probably the favorite character so far, being ugly, sweaty AND a drunkard who calls people on their bullshit, compared to the acerbic and reluctant Olive or beautiful Monet of an elf (looks great far, obsessive close up), Shalwyn. Future issues will hopefully play up all their flaws.

WANDER is part of the amazing Monkeybrain Comics line-up bringing the world unique and fun digital comics, which leads up to Chris Sims (of Comics Alliance) and his independently published digital comic, Dracula the Unconquered #2. Sims is even hosting a contest to win a ohh-laa-la print edition of Drac #1 (WANT!) if you buy a digital copy of #2 by FRIDAY.

The second issue of Dracula the Unconquered by Sims, drawn by Steve Downer and lettered by YES, the same Josh Krach. When we last met Dracula, he had just woken up all sorts of grumpy but gained a very powerful assistant, Thalia. In #2, Dracula’s former assistant Renfield is more than a bit peeved that his job was taken and enacts some very personal revenge.

Downer plays with the panels in beautiful action-adventure sequences that have nothing to do with punching or kicking but outsmarting the environment. It appeals to the detail-oriented child inside us all but I cannot even show you the best page because it might spoil the story! Downer is masterful with color so that it is not merely perfunctory but composed like well-organized flash mob.

Ha! Dracula almost became Sims’ mouthpiece there

The element common in both these comics, aside from the letterer, is the writers’ senses of humor. Both Church and Sims are terribly funny writers (yes, in person AND on Twitter) and in a long-running series like WANDER and DRACULA THE UNCONQUERED, the well-timed jokes and snappy dialogue will continue to compound until you are left weeping but hopefully not over your electronic digi-reading device of choice. I look forward to getting to that spot in these comics and I hope you’ll be there too.

Jen Vaughn loves, loves, loves reading comics. They could be projected on the side of a damn dirigible for all she cares.


  1. I found both Sims and Church’s writing on these books to be fannish and sub-standard. I expected better from MonkeyBrain.

  2. One of the things I’ve always liked about the Beat are the reccomendations. Thanks for this post.
    Please do more like this.