Proactive Insurance: The Pros

When I met him earlier this month at Rose City Comic Con, Steven Stormoen gave me the worst pitch I’ve ever heard for his (or any!) comic series: “If you’re into insurance companies, you’re going to love The Pros.” He was dramatically underselling it.

Pros 1 Cover

The Pros has a decidedly cynical premise. It stars a group of covert agents working for an insurance company to fix events ahead of time in high risk scenarios in order to give the company foreknowledge about how said scenarios will turn out. The company doesn’t care what the agents do or whether the scenario has a happy or tragic conclusion, it just wants to know the outcome ahead of time so it can plan accordingly––and make a lot of money. It’s the kind of set up that can only come from a place of deep despair regarding the state of contemporary culture.

Proactive Insurance Explained

But here’s the thing: The Pros was clearly created by idealists. Stormoen is acknowledging the seeming hopelessness of our current state of affairs, affirming all our suspicions about the inherent corruption in our society and then making an argument for the only moral response to these facts: resistance. Even if you fail, you have to push back.

Don’t get the wrong idea here though. This is a fun book. Beautifully crafted by artist Jelena Dordevic. It’s farcical, cathartic fun. Which makes it all the more impressive an accomplishment that it is also a book about something.

You can pick up all four available issues of the first story arc at …and you should.

Pros Camping scene


An independent comic by Lisa K. Weber (artist) and Kelly Sue Milano (writer), Hex11 stands out against the sea of digital comic offerings over there at Comixology. It's beautiful, it's engaging and it's fun. 

Hex11 Cover

The story centers around a witch apprentice, Elanor, who stumbles into deadly combat with a powerful demon. She unwittingly binds the demon, and in so doing disrupts the machinations of a powerful, secretive corporation pulling the demon's strings. The shady corporation is not amused and deploys their magical, sociopathic assassin, in response. 

Maybe the above sounds like fairly typical genre fiction fair, but it's immediately captivating and stands apart, due to the craft employed by Hex11's creators.

The world of Hex11 is a sort of magical ghetto--the exact nature of which is yet to be revealed. It's a hemmed-in place, a labyrinth of dark allies; you almost never see the sky and when you do it's a grey haze. The feat accomplished by Weber (no relation to me--that I know of) is that she makes this world one you want to inhabit. Wonderful lighting turns the environment from foreboding to intimate. But I think her biggest strength as an artist is evidenced by the charming, unique and expressive characters she's designed and populated the world with. 

These great characters are well written, too--in particular, Hex11's likable protagonist, Elanor. At the beginning of the first issue, she does a little self-conscious complaining/dreaming right before she kicks some major ass--which makes her the ideal proxy for all us every-men/women who wish we could do the same. 

I could go on; but you get the idea. I like this book. I've subscribed to the news letter. At the time of this writing, Hex11 is going for 99 cents an issue on Comixology. When you consider the care and craft with which this book was written, that's a goddamn steal. So just go buy it. Do it now.