What You May Have Missed 2023: Indie Comics

If there has been one good constant about the 2020s, it is that there has been a plethora of delightful indie comics of all genres and art styles, by passionate and talented creators.  These titles are those that were either self-published, originally written for the ShortBox Comics Fair, or published through small independent publishers.  They all showcase a true love for the unique forms of storytelling that comics can create and fill me with delight upon reading them.  I sincerely hope that you can find at least one new title to enjoy from this list.

A few notes before properly diving into the list.  Firstly the majority of the titles presented here are digital only, but a few of them (specifically LSBN, My Date is a Total Ike Woman, Silhouette of the Sea Breeze, The Single Life, and Witching Hour) have physical release options and How to Break a Curse is only available as a physical book.  Secondly, I have helped contribute to the publication of several of the comics on this list through crowdfunding campaigns so, for transparency, I have indicated which titles those are.  Finally, these comics are personally recommended for readers aged thirteen or older as they all cover topics and themes that are not appropriate for young children.  The only exception is ‘rainy summer day’, which can be enjoyed by readers of any age.  Each comic has content and trigger warnings where appropriate.

Daisy Bush by 4threset

Originally written for the 2023 ShortBox Comics Fair.  In this melancholic comic, Aspen finds an angel in the daisy bushes of his greenhouse.  An emotionally moving tale about moving forward after losing those who mean so much to us.

Trigger warnings: Self-harm, implied suicide and abuse

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What You May Have Missed 2023: Indie Video Games

I wanted to start this opening paragraph on a positive note, but I’m going to be honest: 2023 was an extremely awful year for video game developers.  For all of the wonderful and innovative games that were released last year, there always seemed to be news of the people making those games facing extreme hardship.  Between mass layoffs and the encroaching presence of generative AI set to displace human skills, it has been very disheartening to see so many talented and passionate people being tossed aside so executives and shareholders can hold onto the imaginary belief of infinite growth.  To praise the video games I loved, without acknowledging the ongoing hardships the people who actually make games are currently facing, would not sit right with me.  I implore those who are just as passionate about this art form as I am to stay informed and to always try to remember and respect those who made your favourite video games a reality.

With this in mind, I have focused my 2023 “What You May Have Missed” list on a myriad of indie video games whose development teams typically range from the single to the single digits.  Each game here is clearly a creation made from a place of love and passion for the medium, inviting players to take a step into the vibrant worlds they have created and shared.  As with last year’s gaming list, I have decided to organize the game based on age ratings, with games intended for all ages, and containing next to no triggering content on the top.  Meanwhile, games that are only intended for mature and adult audiences, with trigger warnings being an essential thing to read when available, are at the very bottom of the list.  I sincerely hope this list can help you find at least one new video game that intrigues and delights you.

All-Ages (Little to no triggering content, appropriate for any age)

Feed All Monsters 

Developer & Publisher: DU&I

Feel All Monsters is a cute, cozy puzzle game where you have to determine the most effective routes to deliver food to all the monsters on a level.  With charming visuals and soothing music, Feed All Monsters was one of the most relaxing games I played this year.  That being said, the puzzles in the game are no slouch and make you consider your character placements, environmental hazards, and power-ups, as the puzzles gradually increase in difficulty.  Recommended for those looking for a creative, low-stress puzzle game.  Available on Steam for Windows.

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