Vault Comics first appeared on my radar with the release of Natasha Alterici’s Heathen, a story about a lesbian Viking who is exiled and goes on a mission to defy the gods who would tell her who she can love. The comic is written and drawn by Alterici and runs the gamut from epic fantasy story to comedic saga. These are the kinds of comics Vault releases: creator owned, original sci-fi/fantasy stories which immerse you in new worlds.
Vault was founded recently in 2016 and describes itself as a place where “creators can break the established order, dissolve conceptions of social identity, and give voices to the silenced”. It’s a small, family-owned business. Their art director, Nathan Gooden, is also the artist for three of the company’s books, including the fantasy epic Zojaqan. In fact, the main character, Shannon, was designed after Gooden’s sister. Written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing (Gotham City Garage, Joyride), Zojaqan follows Shannon as she enters a new world and struggles to survive while also reconciling her past as a mother. The first issue seamlessly merges the past and present introducing you to Shannon as she is introduced to a new world where she is forced to fight monsters and journey through a new land. The five issue epic was developed by Kelly and Lanzing over a year with the writing duo building whole worlds before burning them down and starting again. Vault has made a space where creators can play like this in the worlds they’ve built.
Vault currently houses a small roster of high concept comics where anything is possible from plants fighting back against human polluters to humans returning from space to rid the earth of vampires. But Vault’s comics are unified by their commitment to story and world-building. Like their tagline says, “Inside the Vault, it’s safe to be different.”