Tuesday, February 25, 2020

TOMORROW #1: Interview with Peter Milligan

Good day to you Comic Book Junkies! Today I am delighted to bring you a very special interview with Mr. Peter Milligan author of TOMORROW which debuts at a comic book shop near you literally tomorrow, February 26th. This is a totally new mini series by Peter, with art by Jesus Hervas and James Devlin published by Dark Horse Comics. I think this one is really going to blow you away. Here's your quick and dirty rundown of the plot and then on to the interview!

In this shocking new sci-fi horror series, a Russian computer virus has jumped the species barrier and wiped out most of the adult population, leaving the world precariously in the hands of the next generation. In the wake of devastation, musical prodigy Oscar Fuentes is separated from his twin sister Cira. Stranded on opposite sides of the country, they're swept into rapidly evolving networks of teenage gangs. Can Oscar find his way back to Cira . . . or will they be lost to each other forever, in a dangerous makeshift civilization that is mercilessly replacing the past?

The Frog Queen:

So Tomorrow is a rather timely book with the Coronavirus epidemic breaking out. Pandemic stories are kind of the rage right now -- since even before this latest virus. I would like to know what seeded your interest in pandemic stories?

PETER:

First off, I was obviously writing this story way before the Coronavirus broke. That said, it’s pretty common knowledge that more viruses are going to break out, and there might eventually be one that can’t be controlled, which will spell trouble for us and all out modern science. The truth though is it wasn’t my interest in pandemic stories that brought me to this story. I was more interested in what came AFTER the pandemic. As I say in my introduction to the story, when I first started this story a number of amazing young people were in the news, most notably Malala Yousafzai, Emma Gonzalez, and Greta Thunberg. Especially after the latest high-school shooting in America, there was a sense that if there was any hope it lay with the younger generation. I felt that too, and I suppose the first germ of Tomorrow was a kind of kick back against that feeling. What, I asked myself, if these remarkable young people – most of whom seemed to be young women - were outliers? What if humanity red and tooth and claw can best be seen not in the killing fields of Cambodia but the school playground? How would the kids run things if the teachers were dead and their parents had all been eaten by starving dogs?

TFQ:

Tomorrow isn't just a pandemic story, it also holds a powerful theme many of us scifi fans are familiar with: man vs technology. Of course, man created technology and therefore creates his own destruction. Are there any particular stories about man vs technology that might have influenced you in writing Tomorrow?

PETER:

Tomorrow is really not so much about man vs technology, rather what some technology, certain all-pervasive, ubiquitous technology might help reveal about man. In other words, it’s not so much about Mans Vs technological, more technological aiding and abetting that oldest story: Man vs Man. As for stories that influenced me, when I was formulating this story, and by that I mean honing in on the themes I was interested in, focusing on that thing that made me REALLY want to write this, I thought of it – a bit insanely – as Lord of the Flies meets Planet of the Apes. Tomorrow is not like really either of those stories – there are no desert islands and the only crazy Great Apes are humans - but both stories contain some of the themes I wanted to explore.

TFQ:

The virus in Tomorrow feels like a warning to all of those who dwell too long in the digital world. I keep feeling like there is so much to read into here. For instance given the media you're in, comics- there's this push into the digital world ALSO for comics. Yet many of us remain attached to paper counterpart. is there anything in this story a secret wish for us all to remain hardcopy readers?

PETER: 

I don’t know about a warning. But I would say that it seems to me that this stuff (the digital, cyber world) is still pretty new and it’s like we’re still trying to decide on the rules of the game. In others words, as usual, technology is running ahead of society. Because of this I do think there are dangers in the digital world, and I’m not just talking about dangers to democracy and personal liberty (which are real enough). I don’t think technology turns us into monsters--but maybe some predilections, some weaknesses might go unrealized and not acted upon without the internet. Its like this technology can tease out that monster that might otherwise have lain dormant. A secret wish for us to remain hardcopy readers? Hah hah, I don’t think so. I think comics look and feel better as hardcopies, but totally see the place for digital.

TFQ: 


What was it that led you to making twins your main characters? Do they in fact have a psychic connection? Did you do a lot of research on twins for the creation of Cira and Oscar?

PETER:

When you’re dealing with big themes – weighty stuff like the nature of humanity –you need characters who’ll dramatize it, through which you can discuss things on a human, relatable level. When the bad shit happens in Tomorrow – and it does, lots of it – I wanted to see how it affected real people. Not just the twins but a father, trying to keep his family together. A few years ago I worked on a screenplay about twins – it came perilously close to getting made, people loved it, I had several meetings with big stars etc etc – but for a whole series of reasons it never got made ( this seems to be quite normal). I did a lot of research about twins for the screenplay, spoke to them, read about them, and I always wanted to write about a couple of twins again. In Tomorrow it’s Oscar and Cira’s emotional closeness I was interested in, the reliance Oscar has on his sister Cira. Oscar finds himself on the other side of the USA from Cira when everything turns to shit - and has an urgent need to be reunited with her; but she is undergoing her own changes and maybe moving away from Oscar emotionally even as he’s getting closer to her geographically. His journey to try to find his sister, and the way they’re both affected by what’s going on, becomes the beating human heart of the story. Do they have a psychic connection? I feel that’s something I’d rather the reader decide for themselves when they read the book.

Issue #2 hits shelves on March 25th! Add it to your subscription today! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Something is Killing the Children



Here is my most recent comic book review. This covers the first 4 issues of what has now become an ongoing series due to hype and demand. SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN is published by Boom Studios and currently available online or a comic shop near you.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

COMIC BOOK REVIEW : FOLKLORDS (BOOM STUDIOS)


Hey all! Here's my latest review and if you don't like watching videos, here are my thoughts below:

 It's no secret that I'm a fan of Matt Kindts work. GRASS KINGS and BLACK BADGE being the most recent titles to capture my attention but when I saw the press release for FOLKLORDS I felt that Kindt might have written something especially for me. When I sat down to read it, I found a kindred spirit in the main character, identifying with his sense of adventure and goal oriented mentality! Hey what can I say, I completely feel that pull to get out there and seek new experiences. So before I go on here, this is your spoiler warning which

Our hero Ansel is growing up in a world where becoming an adult and leaving adolescence behind means  completing a quest! This world is steeped in fantasy fairytale lore not unlike Narnia!  However Ansel runs into trouble because his chosen quest is basically the worst idea ever. He wants to find the Legendary Folklords. Ansel quickly finds out that this is strictly forbidden. The governing force of his little village known as the Librarians, shut down all chosen quests when Ansel's peer steals his quest idea and proclaims his intentions of finding the Folklords. Every one of Ansels classmates are then assigned new, much easier and approved quests to complete.

Now there's something special about Ansel that makes this human boy stand out from everyone else. He has these dreams of another place. Another world with moving vehicles of wheels and giant machines that fly in the sky. And everyone sees Ansel as a bit odd. He makes weird contraptions and clothing. Ansel believes finding the Folklords may also answer his questions about his dreams and all the weird contraptions he dreams of and the strange people there in this other world. He is not about to abandon his life's ambition because of the whims of some faceless governing body. He approaches his classmate who stole his quest idea and asks him if he'd like to come along and complete his quest against all known law. That's the entire set up of this story.

BACKSTORY of the elf.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

COMIC BOOK REVIEW : Come Into Me (Black Mask)

We finally got it! The trade for COME INTO ME has finally reached us and I finally got  my ending! I felt heavily helped around by this series and not because of the crazy psychological horror moments. This is one of those titles that had a delayed release schedule. Issue 2 landed in May and then we didn't see issue 3 till September. The damn thing slid right by me because Black Mask is horribly inconsistent with their press releases. And I still don't know what the fuck happened to issue 4. 

This kind of thing really angers me because I'm trying hard to support amazing books but when the release schedule is delayed or non existent, it makes it so hard for fans to give creators the money they deserve. Okay, got that out of my system.

COME INTO ME is a psychologocal horror, bodygore, SciFi mashup and it's quite the ride. The writers of  comic series THE DREGGS got this series together and I have to say, this is way better than their previous works. The story follows a successful yet insecure scientist Sebastian. He is in the middle of acquiring investors for his device which is designed to allow ones conciseness to be transported into the body of another. The intent is to share experiences but the result is much more personal and invasive. As with all crazy science experiment stories, things go drastically wrong as humanity's abuse of technology (or lack of respect) has Sebastian in quite the bind. However none of it really goes down the way you imagine. 

We're lucky that we are getting a trade and yes, Black Mask Studios is pretty good for putting them out. I think they've released a trade for nearly every series they've published. Anyway I got to read the series as a whole and man, this is the type of book that Cronenberg would make a killer movie out of. Or hey, maybe his son should take a crack at it. The device which connects two people into one brain, has this eXistenz look. It's a tenticle with a sharp on the end. It also kind of reminds me of Hellraiser 2 as well! You know, when the evil doctor becomes a cynobite?! He gets all these tenticles with sharp objects coming out of the ends. Sort of like terrible long tenticle penises. Total freakshow stuff. I love it.

As with any good horror however, the psychological horror endured is far more menacing. The story plays off the humiliation experienced by a lack of privacy, the loss of control over one's body (and life) and the horror of being in a body falling to pieces. Real mortal fears. Yet what really makes COME INTO ME a truly great book is that all the experiences our Sebastian goes through, are essentially amplified challenges faced by people today. We're surrounded by recording devices, our privacy is an illusion. For Sebastian however, his privacy is stolen and body virtually hijacked. His loneliness became his undoing. One moment he's trying to connect with cam girls on the internet and the next he's lost all his privacy and autonomy; his most intimate moments shared with a stranger. 

The reality is that our loneliness often makes us succeptible to the ill intentions of others. Take online communication for instance, just by logging on, putting info about ourselves online, we leave ourselves vulnerable to theft, assault and more. Yet we do so anyway because we crave connection. This story takes things to the next level of vulnerability in the search for a connection to another human being and is brilliant fun. If you're in the mood for something a little out there, into bodygore and emotionally vulnerable characters with bad self image, this is the book for you. I think this is a fanatic book and I really wish they just released a trade and skipped the agonizing serialization. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Fools Wish by Shawn Kuruneru



Hello comic book junkies! It's the Frog Queen here and I'm coming at you with another comic book review. Today I'm talking about Shawn Kuruneru's most recent comic book collection FOOLS WISH which collects issues 1-4 of the series. I'm to understand that there is more Fools Wish to come but here are my thoughts on the first story arc.
To order books by Shawn Kuruneru, please visit: https://squareup.com/store/shawn-kuruneru