Heroic Deals: Humble Comics Bundle: Image at 25

Image At 25

Over the past several years the little website at humblebundle.com has made a name for itself by packaging up excellent games and books for crazy prices, and the “Image at 25” bundle is their newest comics bundle.  If you are unfamiliar with Humble Bundle then I’ll do a quick explanation of how it works, but if you are a veteran bundler then you can skip straight to the options and some thoughts on them.

How It Works

The Humble Bundle system is pretty straightforward.  You may pay whatever price you want from $1 to as much as your bank balance will handle, and based on what you pay you get various items.  These items are helpfully bundled into tiers with clearly labelled prices.  Sometimes the prices can fluctuate based on how much people are paying, but most tiers are static.  The first tier is almost always $1, and if you pay at least that then you’ll get everything at that tier.  If you pay enough for the second tier you get all the items in both the first tier and the second tier.  Each tier costs more, and adds more.  Typically, though not always, these bundles run for two weeks and new items are added to one of the mid-tier levels halfway through the bundle cycle.

One thing to keep in mind is that you get to decide how the money gets distributed, to a degree.  The money you pay is split three ways: a fee to Humble Bundle for hosting it, a portion to the creators of the books or games, and lastly to a charity.  The creators will often choose a charity they want to donate to, but in many bundles you can designate a charity of your choice from a rather large list of options.  While selecting how much you want to pay you get to decide what percentage of your money goes to which section.

The Image at 25 bundle has a whopping seven tiers, and their value is a bit variable so let’s take a look at what we get.  Prices are in American dollars, but they tend to do straight conversions for other currencies based on current exchange rates.

The Base Bundle Tier (aka the $1 tier)

Horizon #1 in Image at 25 BundleFor the grand total of one dollar you get ten comics, which by itself is a pretty darn good deal.  The comics in question are these:

  • The Beauty #1
  • Cannibal #1
  • The Discipline #1
  • Horizon #1
  • Island #1
  • Plutona #1
  • Rockstars #1
  • She Wolf #1
  • Sons of the Devil #1
  • Surgeon X #1

I have read a grand total of zero of these, so I can’t give direct commentary on them.  With a few exceptions these come from lesser known creators, and there is not too much word of mouth on these.  Horizon is the one I primarily recognize as a book I wanted to check on, and for $1 even a single comic is worth it.  Plutona is written by Jeff Lemire, who has a solid history of comics so there is that, too.  Many of these books are billed as horror or psychological thrillers (She WolfSons of the DevilSurgeon X, and Cannibal, with The Beauty being debatable), and fans of the genre should definitely look into this tier.  If you really want to break down the math this tier gets you ten comics at ten cents a piece if you pay the minimum price.

The $5 Tier

Kill or Be Killed #1 in Image at 25 BundleThis tier unlocks an additional ten #1 issues from recent years.  The ones here are a bit more recognizable, and the creator names are more familiar.  These comics are:

  • The Black Monday Murders #1
  • Black Road #1
  • Demonic #1
  • The Fix #1
  • Kill or Be Killed #1
  • Moonshine #1
  • Romulus #1
  • Shutter #1
  • Southern Cross #1
  • Throwaways #1

There are some big creator names on this list including Brian Wood on Black Road, Nick Spencer on The Fix, Jonathan Hickman on The Black Monday Murders, Becky Cloonan on Southern Cross and Steve Azzarello on Moonshine.  The biggest hitter, at least for me, is Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips in Kill or Be Killed.  Issue 5 is also out today, and I plan to review it later this week.  This is the only book I have experience with so far, and it is excellent.  If you have read any of their previous work (and we’ll be talking about one of them in a few tiers) then this book alone is worth the tier cost.  You can get the book for cheaper on its own if there is literally nothing else on either the first or second tier that appeals to you, but I suspect you’ll find some other items worth your time for five dollars in the Image at 25 bundle.

To be fair the $5 tier is probably the worst value of the ones available in this bundle, and that’s saying something when you’re looking at twenty comics for that price.  At twenty-five cents per comic the value isn’t quite as great as the first tier, but it is also hardly anything to scoff at.  However, things are about to ramp up quite noticeably.

The $10 Tier

Rat Queens v1 in Image at 25 BundleWhile the first two tiers were giving away individual comics, this tier unlocks fourteen tradepaperbacks for your immediate reading pleasure.  You are probably looking at about 100 issues worth of comics in this tier alone.  In addition to that, which is frankly insane to begin with, more trades will be added to this tier at the halfway point for this bundle.  Here are the trades that are in this bundle:

  • Bitch Planet v1
  • Casanova v1
  • Lazarus v1
  • Limbo v1
  • Mirror v1
  • Morning Glories v1
  • Nailbiter v1
  • Nowhere Men v1
  • Prophet v1
  • Rat Queens v1
  • Revival v1
  • Southern Bastards v1
  • Spawn Origins Collection v1
  • Strange Talent of Luther Strode v1

Frankly, Bitch PlanetLazarus, and Rat Queens by themselves are worth grabbing this tier.  In addition to those ProphetMorning Glories, and Southern Bastards all have received significant positive press and NailbiterRevival, and Strange Talent of Luther Strode are fairly well known books.  Casanova was one of the books that Matt Fraction is well known for and got him noticed before working on titles like Hawkeye.  In terms of value you’re getting fourteen trades for just ten dollars, plus all the comics from the previous tiers.  These books alone will keep you busy for a while, but wait there’s more.

The $15 Tier

Pretty Deadly v1 in Image at 25 BundleThe fourth tier adds another thirteen tradepaperbacks to the list, bringing our total to twenty-seven (plus any that are added to the third tier later).  This tier actually stands out a bit less than the previous one as the more prominent books are surrounded by more lesser known books, but that shouldn’t turn you away.  This is what you get at this tier:

  • Birthright v1
  • Chew v1
  • Descender v1
  • Drifter v1
  • East of West v1
  • The Fade Out v1
  • Injection v1
  • Pretty Deadly v1
  • Roche Limit v1
  • Rumble v1
  • Sex Criminals v1
  • Shutter v1
  • Spread v1

The major selling point of this list is going to be Chew, which is almost universally praised and recommended.  In addition to that Pretty Deadly is often cited as a book worth reading (and it’s written by Kelly Sue DeCconnick, who also wrote the previous tier’s Bitch Planet).  The name might frighten some people away, but Sex Criminals gets positive reviews and is worth checking out (obviously for mature audiences only).  Previously I mentioned above that the team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips was one to watch, and The Fade Out is an excellent example of why.  If you like crime fiction then The Fade Out should be on your reading list.

Lastly, I should mention Injection by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey.  I have heard nothing about this series, which surprises me since Warren Ellis normally at least grabs headlines.  Declan Shalvey was his artistic partner on his excellent Moon Knight run over at Marvel, and the two together are almost certainly worth reading.

It is worth noting that this tier does have a small double-dip in it.  Shutter #1 from the $1 tier is also in this tier in the form of Shutter v1.

The $20 Tier

Saga in the Image at 25 BundleAnd then this is where things go crazy.  The sheer quality of books in this tier is not to be missed, and the one book that is on virtually every comics recommendation list published shows up here.  Let’s list out the books and then I’ll explain why you should pay attention to this one:

  • The Fix v1
  • Kaptara v1
  • Descender v2
  • East of West v2
  • I Hate Fairyland v1
  • ODY-C v1
  • Outcast v1
  • Saga Book 1
  • The Wicked + The Divine Book 1

While not to discount the other books on this list the one you need to focus on here is Saga.  Written by Brian Vaughan and art by Fiona Staples, this book is the reason to get this bundle if you have not already read this series (and maybe even if you have).  It is a sci-fi series with some absolutely mind-bending ideas and concepts that are layered into a simple, relatable plot.  It is certainly weird at times, but you will be hard pressed to find a more quality book on the market today.  On top of that this is not to be mistaken for the first volume of Saga, but rather the first omnibus.  The first eighteen issues of the series are here in one package for a mere $20.  By itself that is an amazing bargain, not even counting everything else you get in this bundle and tier.  Even if you end up not liking Saga there is a good chance that you’ll get the twenty dollar value elsewhere, but I would bet there’s a good chance that most readers seriously looking at the Image at 25 bundle will find Saga worth their money.  It is worth noting this book is absolutely not for kids.  Actually, most of the books on this tier aren’t for kids.

But enough about Saga, let’s talk about some other books here.  The other one that immediately catches my eye is The Wicked + The Divine book one.  Like Saga this is an omnibus, albeit a much smaller one at only eleven issues.  It is harder to universally recommend this title, but if music, magic and mythology is your jam (or even just two of those) then chances are you’ll like this book.  Outcast comes from Robert Kirkman, who you may recognize as the creator of the Walking Dead (which is conspicuously absent from this bundle, though it has appeared in previous ones).  ODY-C comes from Matt Fraction, who I mentioned above.  Kaptara has made waves as a sci-fi comedy book, although it’s art style may be an acquired taste (one I didn’t acquire, sadly).  Lastly there is I Hate Fairyland by cartoonist Skottie Young, and it is apparently as bonkers as it sounds.

If you can afford it then this is the tier to get.  Period.  Full stop.  There is one MAJOR exception to this, though.  Many of these books (including the Saga omnibus) have been bundled by Humble Bundle before.  You absolutely should check your library to make sure you don’t already own these books before purchasing.

There is still one bundle to go, but it is a bit of a harder sell.

The $25 Tier

This tier features just a single item, but unlike the previous tiers it is a physical, tangible item that will be mailed to you.  In this case it is a 6×8.5″ print with art from the upcoming series Isola.  That comic will be by former Batgirl team Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl, and it does look rather good.  You aren’t getting a copy of the book as near as I can tell, and the print is on the smaller side, but if you want something physical then this is what you get.  You will probably find this easier to stomach if you think of it as a $5 increase on the previous tier rather than $25 for a print.  That will depend on how much you value the previous tiers, though.

I doubt I will go for the $25 tier myself, but it does at least get me interested in Isola.  I’ll be checking that book out when it arrives later this year.

Final Thoughts

This bundle is an excellent value for what you get.  There are some glaring omissions on the list (most notably Invincible and The Walking Dead), but there’s still room for them to appear on the $10 tier next week.  It also worth keeping in mind that many of the items on this list have been bundled previously and it is entirely possible you already own some of them, so check your digital library first.  If you don’t have some of these books, though, then the $20 tier is your best bet.  Comics fans who haven’t branched out past the big two would be well recommended to give this bundle a look.

Checkout the Image at 25 bundle at Humblebundle.com