I have never been a fan of comic books, but I have followed Eric July since I first heard him on the Tom Woods Show circa 2018.
Aside from Batman and Spiderman, I have never really liked superheroes. With rare exception, the last fifteen years of AAA superhero films struck me as unoriginal, boring, and cringe. Perhaps that feeling was just an indication of a cashed-out and corrupted industry.
Despite all this, when I heard that Eric July was launching his own comic book company, I suddenly became interested in comics.
As a fellow content creator, I often study what it is about certain creators that drives their success. Even before Eric's wildly successful Rippaverse launch, his success was an interesting case study.
With the Rippaverse, Eric further evolves the elements of his brand that made him popular in the first place: hard work, genuineness, and affability. He has good takes. It also helps that he is not a libertarian first creator something that gives him broader appeal. Above all, he holds a type of swagger that is directed at just the right people. Like Dave Smith's, it makes you root for him, because he is your guy.
When the Rippaverse was announced, I immediately ordered a copy of ISOM #1. The buzz was electric. I could feel it flowing from the keyboard as I typed in my purchase information. I don't know exactly why. Perhaps, it felt like this campaign was where the battle was: taking back an entire industry.
And I am part of it. We all are.
After making the purchase, and waiting for the orders to be shipped, I cheered for Eric's success. But I was also a bit worried. What if the buzz was just a cathartic middle finger to a burnt-out industry? Would we all continue on to praise a sub-par production just because it wasn't woke?
Today I found out. ISOM #1 came in the mail yesterday.
As with the preceding ISOM campaign, I could tell from the packaging that Rippaverse Comics is run by actual comic book fans. The packaging itself encased my issue in a manner that assured it couldn't be bent, scratched, or torn.
When I actually sat down to read ISOM 1 this afternoon, I found the story immediately compelling. The story's major conflict was presented within the first five pages: a meeting between old friends that takes an unexpected turn.
The world building did not suffer from overly-expositional dialogue. At times, I had to put the puzzle pieces together myself. This is GOOD. I do not need my hand held through a story ...ahem... Rings of Power. The breadcrumbs of background made me ask questions about the universe. Questions that I wanted answers to. Answers that I could only get by turning the page...or buying the next issue.
As someone who did not grow up reading comic books, I can't help but think that this is what the original experience was like.
ISOM is an interesting character. He clearly has faults. He is impulsive. He does not plan. Neither does not win every fight. He puts his family in danger. He doesn't visit his niece as much as he should. He didn't do anything with his life. He also has good qualities. He cares about Jasmine, his sister, and his niece. He is a badass in the same vein as John Wick. Following his story will be interesting because he is set to learn lessons and confront problems as the story progresses.
All in all, ISOM #1 did not disappoint. Through hard work, integrity, and vision, Eric July has identified a market and planted a flag. His first issue delivered.
It will be our love for the art and the lore that will take back the entertainment industry. Sadly, we cannot save the franchises we loved. We just have to build new ones.
The Rippaverse is just getting started. It seems positioned for continued success. I will revel in its rise.
But it also feels like the beginning of something larger.
Congratulations, Eric. Here's to ISOM #2.