Bergen Street Press $19.99
Every so often a book hits the stands and comics internet blows up. It’s impossible to find in print, so you usually have to either hit up Comixology or wait for the trade and get it that way. See Saga, Sex Criminals, the Walking Dead, basically any “IT” Marvel, DC or Image book that’s dropped over the last 2 years. It’s convient and helps put the book in people’s hands.
But that’s not the case today. Not every book has that sort of corporate backing. Some dudes are so DYI you can only buy it at one retailer, or in this case, one retailer and Etsy, because everything from the writing to the actual assembling of the book is handled by one dude.
That book is Copra, by Michel Fiffe. You may remember Fiffe’s name from Marvel’s crazy good All New Ultimates title, but Copra is the book that got everything started for the creator. It’s a parody/homage of the John Ostrander-era Suicide Squad book from DC, where no character was safe and anything could happen. It’s a “Super Hero Revenge” story that was nearly impossible to get your hands on over the last few years, unless you were willing to drop $36 dollars on reprinted compendiums from Bergen Street Comic‘s website, Fiffe’s Etsy store, and if you here on the right day, Forbidden Planet NYC.
At first, Copra may not sound like anything special. The elevator pitch makes the book sound like a cross between the Andy Diggle/Jock reimagining of The Losers and the aforementioned Suicide Squad. And while yes, it does feel very similar to those books (intentionally) as well as several other Marvel and DC characters both popular and obscure, it’s still a VERY good story, and arguably one of the best comics to come out in recent history.
While the plot is very by the numbers (team of government sponsored bad guys are betrayed by one of their own, now they’re wanted and seek revenge), the execution is everything but not. Fiffe channels some very early Frank Miller with his art, which is impressive considering Miller had some very talented people backing him up. Again, Fiffe handles everything by himself, and does some really neat things with layouts, coloring and inks, resulting is some cool 3d effects and ink-washed explosions. Copra has a very cool old school vibe to it, and it a very impressive tribute to the 80s comic scene.
And because it’s a dedicated letter to one of the best runs of a DC comics, there’s plenty of cool nods that fans of the Suicide Squad will pick up on. There’s some obvious homages to big-name characters like Deadshot and Amanda Waller, but then you have some more obscure ones like Dr. Light and Duchess. And in true Suicide Squad fashion, the lot of them get murdered within the 6 issues collected here, so don’t get too attached to any of them.
As someone who’s loved both the classic Suicide Squad run, as well as it’s spiritual sequel in the form of Gail Simone‘s Secret Six, I can’t recommend Copra enough to anyone who digs ultra violent action comics. It’s so indie it hurts, but in a good way. Everything from the binding to the paper choice is charming, and it’s really something special, and completely trippy. It’s easily the best 20 bucks you can spend at the store, assuming you can find a copy.