Kickstarter Watch: Frenemies from Monty Nero & Yishan Li

by Richard Bruton

Last I covered Yishan Li‘s work it was with the incredible Paradox Girl, out in trade from Image right now. Here, she’s on art for Frenemies, a new, 4-part, sci-fi fantasy comic written by Monty Nero that promises to update the best of classic sci-fi movies with a rich and diverse cast of LGBTQ and straight characters. Think Star Wars meets Raiders of the Lost Ark and you’re not far out. It’s running a Kickstarter right here and, from the looks of it, is well worth your comic cash!

It’s promising to be a grand romp, with heroes zipping across galaxies to hunt down alien artefacts, chased by the most dangerous creature in the galaxy.

Seven main characters feature throughout Frenemies, all refreshingly gender and sexually diverse. When a mysterious alien artefact is uncovered within the halls of their university, it sets off a chain of events where the seven have to head off in search of a legendary planet, lost for millennia, and home to repositories of knowledge that could save the world… or destroy it.

But, this is no simple team book, as the seven cosplayers, students, professor, are not only suddenly bound together telepathically but are also painfully aware that only one of them will be able to succeed. Only one of them will be able to hold the knowledge and the power, and the other six will be left behind.

I’ve had the chance to read the preview edition of Frenemies, a 12-page primer and introduction to the ideas, the world, and the characters.

And I think it’s got all the signs of being a hugely entertaining romp based on just these few pages.

The preview runs straight through to the first issue and is something of a teaser as well as a summary of what to expect. And that might be why this preview seems a little disjointed in places, as it attempts to explain without giving things away, and tends to jump a little uncomfortably around as it does so. I’m fully expecting that, with the first issue proper, we’ll see this disjointed storytelling taken care of, with Nero and Yi taking the time and space of those 4 issues to deliver something that we see promised here.

However, even with that proviso, there’s a lot to look forward to in Frenemies, with an interesting concept backed up with a playfulness amongst the diverse cast that should only get better as we delve deeper in the characters across the series.

And, of course, there’s the artwork from Yishan Li, who is on great form here, with wonderful character designs and the sort of beautifully illustrated pages with the superb flow I’d previously seen on Paradox Girl.

The Frenemies Kickstarter launched on 28 May.

Frenemies – Covers and art by Yishan Li, script by Monty Nero, letters by Li/Nero

Cai – mischievous Chinese language expert & sexual adventurer
Jamelia – an angelic bisexual genius, unwilling to compromise in the face of annihilation
Carlton – an irascible Professor of Mathematics desperately searching for his lost son.

Hunter – rich, bi, sporty entrepreneur with motivations as dark as his family history.
Minerva – eccentric explorer,  Professor of Art History, lesbian punk revolutionary.  
Sunny – a brilliant, shy, South Korean child prodigy questioning his whole identity
Delphine – icy cosplay princess with a lust for science, social climbing, and deception

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