Alterna Comics, based in New Hampshire, specialises in publishing creator-owned comic books and graphic novels in print and digital formats since 2006. They did something a little risky by trying to bring back newsprint in comics. Most publishers moved away from newsprint and started printing on a glossy paper. The glossy stuff is supposed to last longer and it also allows artists/colourists to get a lot more creative with the way the art looks. Newsprint doesn't allow for glowy effects and gleaming white smiles. Yes, newsprint actually makes you put your imagination to work for that sort of thing. The glossy paper makes sense these days so why go back to newsprint? For a reader the answer to that is almost too hard to explain. It's something you have to experience for yourself.
Croak #1 story by Cody Andrew Sousa, art by Francesco Iaquinta, colors by Chris O'halloran, lettering and design by Dezi Sienty and edited by Dan Sheppard is a three issue limited series and it retails for only $1.50!!!! It's rated M for mature readers, it has language and violence that gives this horror story that rating. It's a story about three friends who decide to go camping. One friend couldn't make it because of his overbearing mother which would put them in the teenage/young adult age category. (one would hope anyway). It's fairly obvious that things are going to go wrong when one friend admits she's never been camping in her life, another admits he only agreed to go camping because the third friend really likes it. The dialogue is really well written, you definitely get the feel that they're young adults by the way they interact with each other. If you're an older reader you'll most likely feel a twinge of nostalgia, it really takes you back to the more innocent times when you had nothing better to do than to get lost in the woods. Like every horror story that involves young adults, things go wrong and arguments ensue. Someone forgot the tent and they got lost. Fortunately these three are friends so they decide to make the best of it and set up a fire and sleep under the stars. What could go wrong? When one of them starts telling a scary story, as someone must always do while sitting by a camp fire, things start to get strange. One of them hears a noise and decides to investigate. Of course it goes sideways from there, but with an unsuspecting twist that will most likely have you wanting to grab issues two and three. Issue two is out today, July 26, 2017.
The great thing about this story is that it would work on whatever kind of paper it's printed on. Being printed on newsprint does give it that little extra something though.
Personally, I'm not a fan of the glossy papered comic books. It's not because I'm a “purist” or a comic book snob, or whatever. After reading one of Alterna's titles printed on newsprint I think it's because the look and feel of the newsprint gives me the full comic book experience. The way it feels in my hands, the way the art looks printed on it. Again, it's something you have to experience for yourself. I'm not a very emotional person so it's hard for me to describe just exactly what this was like. The only thing I can tell you is that it feels right. This is how I want to feel every time I read a comic book.