The Gene Day Award is given out by the Joe Shuster Awards committee honouring Canadian comic book creators who brave the world of self-publishing and exhibit excellence that meets and at times rivals comics published by the big publishers. I love looking at the yearly nominees for this award to find some fantastic storytelling. This year I managed to have already read three of the six nominated comics.
One of this year’s nominees that is new to me is Songs for the Dead Issue #1 from Necromancer Press. Created by Michael Christopher Heron and Andrea Fort, Songs tells the story of Necromancers living in the Kingdom of Alavesh. Necromancers in this far off realm have a reputation of violence, conquest and evil deeds which make the average person in Alavesh view these necromancers as second-class citizens.
Issue #1 introduces Bethany, described as a youth from far away with the ability to raise the dead. Homeless and drifting, Bethany is on a quest to reverse the stigma attached to Necromancers. This one fine day Bethany embarks on finding a missing boy named Emory, and find him she does. Dead in the forest with an arrow in his head. Using her powers to revive, she brings Emory back to life and the two set about to find those responsible for Emory’s death.
The art in Songs for the Dead is well done with a very approachable style that should not only appeal to most fans of comics but also attract the young readers graduating from some of the Scholastic graphic novels that seem to dominate the book store shelves these days. Artist Sam Beck does a great job as she handles pencils, inks, and colours giving the book a very professional and polished look. Nick Robles provides a really fantastic cover for the issue.
Overall this was a really good comic with a nice single issue story which also builds a greater world that most readers will definitely want more of. Fortunately, issues #2 and #3 are available right away with a fourth issue just around the corner. My understanding is that some of the creators will be available at this year’s FanExpo Canada and I’ll be doing my best to stop in and maybe picking up a physical copy of the series.
Available on Comixology at https://www.comixology.com/Songs-for-the-Dead/comics-series/82649
Issue: Songs for the Dead #1 | Publisher: Necromancer Press
Written by: Michael Christopher Heron & Andrea Fort | Art by: Sam Beck
Letters by: AndWorld Design | Cover Art by: Nick Robles
Price: $2.99 – 36 pages