Sunday, November 30, 2014

Arkham Manor #2

You must know by now that I haven't been terribly fond of the New 52. Despite this fact, I continue to pick up the odd series and give it a shot. What led me to grab issue 1 of Arkham Manor was purely the insanely (pun, pun) haunting covers of Shawn Crystal who also illustrates the series. Thank god. It also helped when I saw that Duggan was writing it. Again, thank god. There is finally something going on in the DC universe that I like. (You know besides Gotham Academy which I can't totally get behind because.. well it's YA and I feel it has very little to offer ME personally). That will be another article.

Arkham Manor incorporates the darkness I have always loved about Batman books. As Wayne Manor becomes home to the criminally insane of Gotham following a tragedy at Arkham, Batman goes undercover to catch a killer. Except you know they're all killers. Teehee. It just happens that once again the hunters are being hunted and a "who done it" begins. I find myself asking if Batman's new persona will be taken in for the crime. Framed again Batman?

We see familiar faces in the asylum. Mr Freeze being the most recognizable to me personally and also an old favorite. No Joker yet but there are reason...

Have you been angry and bored with the New 52? Are you just sad that some of your favorite characters *cough Constantine cough* were ripped from their amazingly written universe and thrusted into this ... sad excuse for a reboot? Then maybe this is for you. I needed something that reminded me what Batman is all about and damn it, I wanted more Arkham. I consider myself lucky that Crystal is the illustrator. May that not change.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Madman In Your Face 3D Sepcial

Madman In Your Face 3D Special. It's kinda in your face no? A perfect title for a 3D floppy but it's the content of the story that's actually in your face. While Madman tries to identify his personal truth and persona, you find yourself pondering your own. I guess that's why it's actually IN YOU FACE! Madman tried desperately to get out of the 3 dimensional world and back in the arms of his beloved Joe. Allred is being his amazing self taking you on a 3D time warp through your favorite comic book memories. As Madman runs through his childhood we get to check out some memories from comics like Peanuts.

It almost feels as though Allred is traveling through his artistic influential past. There's also this ghost of past, present and future thing going on which rings true for the holidays. You know, without being totally Charles Dickens oriented. In the process the story is loaded with poetic instances: "If we keep a focus on not taking our lives for granted, we learn and grow from out life experiences" "obviously". There are actually a lot of amazing lines throughout this entire jumbo sized floppie that are so eloquent. The eloquent Madman? Oo that sounds great doesn't it?

This issue was worked on for years. I wish I could comment on the actual 3D art. I actually can't wear 3D glasses. It never works well for me and gives me huge headaches (I hate 3D movies). I had to read the story in the flat world which Madman races to get back to. There is also an awesome gallery at the end of the story that is not to be missed. I wish I could have seen all the 3D awesomeness. Great issue. I'd hug it if it didn't crumple the paper.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ODY-C #1 by Matt Fraction & Christian Ward

This brand new title is being released today by Image. It is written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Christian Ward. I've been an on and off Fraction fan. After all, he's responsible for giving me (and yes you) the current run of Hawkeye which rocks. He's also responsible for Sex Criminals. Everyone and their comic critical dog likes that one.
   Not this fraction                                 This Fraction
Yet I don't think this is the right story for him. Here's the rundown: so this gender swap (sort of) story is inspired by the Oddessy but takes place in space, on a C shaped ship called ODY-C. Everything has potential...sigh. 

Believe it or not, I was actually excited about this title when Image first released it to the press. Despite having some beautiful panels, particularly the one with the astral horses, there is a real lack of story for me. The issue is largely narrated with clumsy prose. I generally dislike not being able to get to know the characters through there own speech bubble. These warrior goddesses seem to lumber in persona only- as a dominatrix type mistress, they pull their male gimp along behind them in the opening scene. I suppose that will help get someone's rocks off.

I like psychedelic and I do like a large amount of the artwork in this issue, but it doesn't begin to find a place in my favor until the mid point of the story when there is finally a few speech bubbles.

"Swimsleeping women who power the ship think of ten horses at once." It is sentences like these that make my brain bleed. I mean, I get it but I don't like it and I hate made up words. Well okay, I hate this made up word -swimsleeping. "Everyone knows it's called aqua napping... come on!" my boyfriend commented while reading over my shoulder as I type. Aqua napping, that's gotta be a thing. I bet that's a thing somewhere at a day spa. 

I'm sorry but for me, this one is a miss despite how I enjoyed the artwork. Unfortunately I think that many people will be blinded by all the bright colors and say it's a win. It's not a win for me. Hopefully Fraction doesn't hate me now because I really do like so much of his work.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dark Engine #4

Do you like monsters? Especially ones from a heavy metal album or perhaps something that might be imagined in a D&D campaign? If you answered yes then we can be friends. It also means you're going to really enjoy this issue.

I managed to get through the whole issue while being in an awful mood. For unrelated reasons of course. Sometimes when I'm in a bad mood, I can't read anything but this is what I needed. Some kick ass panels, warrior women and well yeah I needed some violence. A truth is revealed about our unbreakable warrior. Shhh I can't tell you but it's a good one. Sym is so awesome, that must be why she's been drawn by so many artists already! In the back of this issue there is yet more portraits from different artists. Each one unique with a different sentiment towards the warrior. I tend to like the more hardcore Sym drawn by Bivens. I'm all about the Frezetta types. Built strong! Although in this issue Sym looks a little worse for wear. Hey, she's been through a lot!

As I mentioned in my pull list for this week, issue number 4 wraps up the first story arc. That isn't to say that all the mystery has been revealed. This story is not over.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Royal Jelly : Top Picks for November 26th

Nightbreed #7
Pop #4
Colder: Bad Seed #2
Bodies #5
Dark Engine #4
Prophet Strikefile #2
Rasputin #2
The Logan Legacy #5
Madman In Your Face 3D Special
Arkham Manor #2

Hellboy Weird Tales, Punk Rock Jesus Delux Hardcover, Little Nemo Dream Another Dream

The first story arc of Dark Engine concludes this week with issue #4. Take a look at that cover art!? That's hardcore!

Locust Moon Comics finally releases kickstarter funded project Little Nemo Dream Another Dream.
A colossal effort by many of my favorite modern artists including Paul Pope, Farel Dalrymple, Mike Allred, Toby Cypress, James Harvey, J.H. Williams III, and my god too many to list. You can find a complete list of contributing artists on the Locust Moon website. Little Nemo comes out as giant news paper size hardcover. It carries a hefting price tag but it's worth it. You will most likely end up ordering this online.

Another awesome mini series concludes this week with the release of POP! #4. Let's see if our laboratory grown celebrity comes out of this plot alive!

It's worth mentioning the Prophet Strikefile #2 is out and that if you haven't grabbed number one then you're going to want to do that immediately. For Prophet fans like myself, this two part mini series gives us a full step back look at the Earth Empire and the universe of the Prophet series.

Obviously, it's another great release week for comics! I always look forward to Wednesday.

Added one single on the end there!! There is a new Madman comic! It's the Madman In Your Face 3D Special and it features Nightworld's awesome pop-arterrific artist Paolo Leandri in the gallery! The issue includes an all-new story by Mike Allred. We are told the gallerywill be featuring the work of MARCOS MARTIN, JAE LEE, EDUARDO RISSO, EMMA RIOS, NICK DRAGOTTA, ANDREW ROBINSON, SEAN MURPHY, MARIS WICKS, AARON CONLEY, JENNY FRISON, DECLAN SHALVEY, BECKY CLOONAN, JOE QUINONES, MING DOYLE, NICK BRADSHAW, and more!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Exclusive Interview with Bengal

There are these amazing books. They were not even available in English or in North America when they were initially published. Magnetic Press made sure that the work of Bengal reached a wider audience. They have published the amazing books Naja, Meka and Luminae. Meanwhile Bengal has been creating beautiful work for the big two and more. Batgirl #37 will feature a cover by Bengal later this month and there's more on the way! I am a huge fan of Bengal's work. I had some questions, I wanted some details and here they are:

TFQ: Luminae will soon be released in North America by Mangetic Press. What's it like to know you are reaching an even larger audience and that there is such a significant demand for your work in other countries?

Bengal: That feels... encouraging I'd say! I believe I still struggle to find my readers. I don't reach many yet, and I've always wished to share my work with more people ; I know a part of this requires me to get better at what I do, but I'm also reassured, to some degree, to see that it also relies on expanding my work's reach. I truly hope new readers will forgive the weaknesses of the plot and the art and enjoy the flow, the energy I tried to render in Luminae.

TFQ: Luminae is the first story you have created set in a unique fantasy universe. How did you get the idea for this story? What inspired this world?

Bengal: I've been keeping a few ideas in a drawer for years, mostly 2 important ones ; one, a long and deep SF project is still in development and would require for me to be totally free from anything else to tackle (maybe someday), and the other was Luminae, that could fit exactly in the kind of format I was offered to work on at the time (meaning : 72 pages per volume instead of the usual 46 in France). I didn't get to develop it quite as much or as well as I was hoping, because of production pace obligations at the time, but I really wanted to draw that team of girls protecting one of the major essences of the world - I liked my idea, inspired as much by Lodoss War as by Dungeons & Dragons really, as well as its characters, and I knew where I was going with them, so... That's how I finally chose to present it to a publisher eventually!

TFQ: Can you tell me a bit about what you are currently working on and what we can look forward to?

Bengal: I'm now blessed enough to be in the loop with the big 2, for which I've produced a few covers & pages so far, and I hope to keep going for a while if they let me ; in France, I'm working on a Japanese medieval fantastic story written by David Chauvel, and I've signed a 4 volume story with writer Andoryss Mel narrating the adventures of a teenage girl trying to survive in a techno-fantastic kind of world. Both are very fun to do and I believe are really well written.
I'm also still waiting to get started on a nice project with an American writer, we've been planning things for almost a year now, but he's so busy, we didn't get going yet ; I hope to be able to unveil more soon, but it's all very exciting!

TFQ: Your work has been described as "the perfect amalgamation of European and Asian influence". From which artists or stories does that Asian influence come from?

Bengal: Well first, thanks to those who described it as such I guess hahah! It naturally came over time I believe. I'm a huge manga reader, I have a couple thousands at home, and I read almost any genre. One can easily tell it's where I got all my storytelling habits from, with the dynamic and composition in my pages. But I've alos been reading french BDs since I was a kid, my dad had hundreds. It remained and will always remain a strong influence, it helps me keep panels clean and steady in my pages, instead of having them all over the place.

And I guess it's natural my very art style got influenced by both as well. I could give a lot of names but I'd surely forget many that played a part in the development of my style, but to name a few from the top of my head, there'd be Hiroaki Samura, Kyoushirou Inoue, Tetsuro Ueyama (he does the BEST pages in the universe, period), Claire Wendling, Katsuya Terada, Hermann, Katsuhiro Otomo, Satoshi Kon, Koji Morimoto, Tatsuyuki Tanaka, the Capcom illustrators (Bengus, Akiman...), Hayao Miyazaki too, Kim Jung Gi more recently (he pushed me to provide MORE in my work, to detail more), I also appreciate Sean Gordon Murphy's work lately, as well as Olivier Coipel, I wish I had their ease to ink so well. Millions more but that's what came right away for today.

TFQ: This is my favorite question to ask artists: What is on your artistic bucket list? What kind of stories do you most want to create and who would you most like to work with?

Bengal: Well, I still deeply hope I get to contribute in any way to the spider-verse. Oh how I wish I had created Spider Gwen, it's such a cool character and design. I also dream of proposing a superman story to DC comics one day... But that will remain a dream I'm afraid.
I may be quoting soon "getting a cool new IP published in the US" off the bucket list tho if my current project with a 'secret' American writer happens next year. Fingers crossed.
I also wish one day I could design pinups for a toy brand, I'd love to see some of my girls become figures. Aaaaaaand well, ideally, I wish one day to see one of my projects developed and adapted into a movie or something. That would be quite an accomplishment.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Royal Blood by Jodorowsky & Dongzi Lui

Once you start talking about one Jodorowsky book you might as well move on and talk about the next. I picked up Royal Blood released just yesterday from Titan Comics. As with all of his work this one was recently translated into English. I attempted to find the publishing date of the original graphic novel and I must assume is was 2011 from the copyright in the book. That makes this one of Jodorowsky's most recent stories.

I didn't know what to expect from this book. I am not familiar with Dongzi Lui's work and although it is beautiful, it's not something I typically reach out for at the comic book store. I think others have been more critical than myself on the subject. Bleeding Cool's Hannah Shannon wrote that Lui's " soft linework and dream-like evocation of medieval warfare" didn't impress her from the previews. Some commented on the resemblance to George RR Martin which I don't think is at all, an accurate thing to say. Sure there's incest, betrayal, crowns and beheadings, but I didn't see one dragon *snicker*  In all seriousness I think it's silly that people have got it in their heads that all medieval fantasy has been inspired by Martin as if he's some Tolkien. It's ridiculous! Quite frankly Royal Blood has more in common with Shakespeare and Greek mythos which inspired a lot more than Game of Thrones. People can be so short sighted.

Anyway, I will hold my rant for now and tell you about the book. The book takes place somewhere in medieval times, possibly during the crusades because there is some talk of heathens and crusading for god. The story begins on the battle field with a Kings bloody betrayal. The book is in fact beautifully illustrated, although as previously mention, simply not my cup of tea. The story is about as comedic as that sped up video of the decomposing fox, BUT THAT'S NOT BAD! Even though I have come to expect brutality from Jodorowsky, I still find myself shocked by the tragic events that unfold in his stories. If you judged the man's outlook on humanity by reading his work, you can only conclude him to be the most jaded man on the planet. His characters have no redeeming qualities in the majority of his stories, except for the occasional repenting actions and show of guilt. It's generally just a "look how low I've sunk, maybe I shouldn't have killed that guy" thought bubble. There is no good guy, there is no one striving to be pure. They're terrible people (gotta giggle as I think back to the whole Christian crusade bit for above). They are selfish, manipulative, quick to anger and violent. Sadly, this actually describes the majority of world. Jodorowsky shows the parts of humanity we loathe. It also happens to be the parts that are really entertaining in fiction.

The best part about all the "incest" in the story is that it's not really incest. It's morally icky but it's not incest. King Alvar just THINKS it's incest which makes it interesting and pretty funny. In short, I think you're going to enjoy this one and I also feel as though it is simply not the end of the story.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Before The Incal by Alexandro Jodorowsky & Zoran Janjetov

I was having some issues deciding on whether or not I should write anything about Jodorowsky's work. Mostly because he's written so much and I have yet to read it all. I think most of his fans have yet to read it all. Lately, I've been grabbing everything I see that has his name on it. Recently, Humanoids had release another printing of  prequel Before the Incal. It followed the millionth (not literally) printing of The Incal which was releases back in September of this year (and still currently available for purchase!). What you don't know about The Incal could hurt you. As in, if you haven't read it and you're into comics, then you are missing out on something prolific. Something that will change forever, how you look at your comic book collection. So let me explain why by giving you a little info on the series.

The original Incal story is currently published by Humanoids under the title The Incal. It is a science fiction story written by Jodorowsky, fully illustrated by Moebius and originally published in 1981. Subsequently, versions have been printed in which the amazing work of Moebius was re-colored because a certain publisher thought it needed modernization..let us not speak of such atrocities and blaspheme. The story itself has inspired other science fiction writers and even film makers. You may recognize some bits of the book in this way: "Hey, remember that movie The Fifth Element? This kinda looks like that." That's because director Luc Besson took direct vision and "inspiration" from the book. He was actually sued by Jodorowsky and Moebius. They lost their case because I can only imagine that courts don't care about the intellectual property within comics unless it was published by Marvel. Or maybe when that Shia LaBeouf kid steals an entire graphic novel from Daniel Clowes and turns it into a movie without asking? At any rate, that's a brief history of the original story without giving away any kind of plot details.

In 1988 Jodorowsky published the first book in the prequel story Before the Incal. He hand picked Janjetov to illustrate the story claiming that Janjetov's artistic style was the most like Moebius' work. In the back of the currently released edition of Before the Incal, there is an awesome interview with Janjetov detailing this and his experience with Jodorowsky. It's one of the things that I love about the Humanoids publications. In all the ways that publishers have defiled the series over the years with censorship, poor translation and recoloring, Humanoids manages to keep the original story intact and include nice little bits at the end, like the interview with Janjetov.

As the title suggests, the book details the events that John Difool encounters before he gets involved with the Incal, a crystal of great power. There are certain points in this particular book which quickly endeared me to it. I originally didn't think I would enjoy the book. Jodorowsky may have insisted that Janjetov's work was most like Moebius but there really is only one Moebius. I didn't want to see any imitation. It was while reading the book that I came to love Janjetov's unique style. He really is not a Moebius impersonator at all and his work is full of charm. The way he drew the young John Difool could not have been any more perfect. It's one of the things that made me fall in love with the book.  There's a closer look at John Difool and who he was. Who was he? The son of prostitute in the lower rings of a dystopian city. He was fragile, emotional and compassionate which is quite different from the grown up Difool who's miserable, addicted to homeo-whores and visky. Which brings me to an important point - language.

For a lot of people it can be difficult to overcome the use of misogynistic language in Jodorowsky's work. The universe in which The Incal takes place, also known as the Jodoverse to fans, is a nasty place full of horrors. There's a complete lack of social justice. People are depraved and deprived (sound familiar? not too different from our current world). Prostitutes are called whores and looked down on society, and women in general are second class regardless if they are aristocratic. So please do not immediately feel as though the book is sexist based on the language used. I believe it's meant to bug you. It's supposed to provoke you because it is an unjust universe where people are treated unfairly and the general public has become desensitized to the conditions. After all, this is a world that regularly condones and recommends suicide to regulate both it's population size and morale.

So have I convinced you yet? I guess the big question is, HAVE YOU READ THE INCAL?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Luminae by Bengal

I find it very difficult to write articles about artists I admire. Mostly due to the fear of becoming a gushy fangirl and having my article reduced to a pile of unreadable rambles. I can't guarantee that's not going to happen whenever I try to write about someone like Moebius. Subsequently, I can't guarantee it's not going to happen when I attempt to write about the work of the French artist Bengal.

For many people living in North America, purchasing his work wasn't always easy to achieve. Until recently with the printed releases from Magnetic Press, you were lucky if you could grab a variant cover from DC or Marvel (which btw you will be able to grab when the Bengal Variant cover for Batgirl #37 comes out this month). Magnetic Press has been bringing North American fans Bengal's work for a few years now with the releases of Meka, Naja (Bengal & J.D. Morvan) and now Luminae.

Luminae is the first graphic novel which takes place in a unique universe both written and illustrated by Bengal. It centers around a group of six warrior women who have formed a sisterhood to protect Luminae. She's a being of pure light doomed to be expunged from the planet by the powers of darkness. The six women must save her from this fate. The world has an almost medieval quality to it but the costumes and weaponry live in the realm of the fantastic... so do the monsters!

The entire book is beautiful from the binding (available as a deluxe hardcover) to the artwork on the pages. Bengal's illustrations suck you into a new world with the same crisp and precise beauty he's known for. Combined with unique action angles and perspectives, his work feels as thought it may lift right off the page. The movement makes my head spin.

Bengal is often applauded for seamlessly bringing Asian and European artistic styles together. You may find yourself assuming that you are watching a high budget Japanese anime rather than reading a book. Sometimes when I remember pieces of Luminae I find myself remembering them as if they were not panels but animated scenes. That's the action and movement I'm talking about.

Whether you are a old or new fan, or perhaps you've never heard of Bengal, Luminae should be on your pull list. It is currently available from Magnetic Press online with a limited edition slip case. For my Halifax friends trying to source the book locally, you can find Magnetic Press books at Strange Adventures Comics and Curiosities.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Royal Jelly: Top Picks for Nov 19

A lot of my mini series have ended!! So this is looking like a tiny pull week for me.

Annihilator #3
Intersect #1 (Jeff Lemire cover B)
The Weapon X Project #2

Lazarus Deluxe Edition
Saga Deluxe Edition

Mentionables: Revival #25, Princess Ugg Vol 1

My big pull this week is Annihilator #3. Grant Morrison's science fiction tale brings a writer's fictional characters into reality while he simultaneously faces illness in the form of an inoperable brain tumor. I've been loving this series and it's dark art work.

Intersect #1 comes to us from Ray Fawkes who has been heavily involved in the DC universe collaborating with Charles Soule on a few Batman titles. He also is the author responsible for Constantine. Intersect is being released by Image and happens to have grabbed my attention mostly because of the Jeff Lemire variant cover. Although I am not a big fan of Fawkes work for DC, I did enjoy his independent graphic novel release entitled The People Inside. It was to me, a dark look at the lives of 24 individuals, their ups and downs, relationships and personal trials. That story alone made me want to take a good look at this new series.

It's important to note that the Manara Spiderwoman variant is still available but stores will only be getting one variant for every 50 issues. This means that for most people, unless you want to buy 50 copies of Spiderwoman #1, you won't be getting the variant. On top of that rumor has it that the variant itself is priced at $34 US.

I also want to mention that the first hardcover edition of Saga is released this Wednesday! It will have the dreaded breast feeding cover LOL. I say dreaded because many of the uptight arses around the globe were offended by this beautiful cover which I quite enjoy. I also think the fact that they chose to throw it in peoples faces as the cover for the first HC edition was great. It's a very Bjork Vespertine Swan Dress thing to do!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Silver Surfer #7

We all know how much I love the new Silver Surfer. Dan Slott has breathed new life into Norren Rad and brought out his humanity (yes i know he's an alien but you know what I mean!) by creating Dawn Greenwood. She's everything you could ask for as the Surfer's traveling companion. She's not a plot device, and she stands up for herself, even to Norren. Hey, even Toomie likes her! At least that's what we learn in this issue. I like Dawn Greenwood because I think she's a good character for young girls. Although she does get saved now and then, she does a fair bit of the saving herself.

What I thought was interesting about this issue, was Allred's use of darkness. When I think of Allred's artwork I always think of lots of bright colors, bold lines! I don't tend to think of panels filled with solid black ink. Yet here, Allred must show Dawn and the Surfer entering a void. It is simply darkness so Allred makes use of this by incorporating a lot of movement, something he's known for anyway. Laura Allred has been coloring this series from the beginning. I think it's beautiful! I'd like some giant posters from this run to cover my walls. Must get on that.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Kitchen #1

I like mobster movies but it really all depends. I'm more of a Goodfellows type girl than a Godfather gal. Whatever kind of gal I was before, now I'm a The Kitchen kind of gal. The Kitchen #1 was released yesterday on Vertigo. The story takes place in New York City in the late '70s. It's a gritty story about three women who's husbands happen to be Irish mobsters, that just went to prison. It's up to the wives now to provide for their family and they do this by taking up their husbands collections. Of course, there's a surprise at the end of the issue.

The women of the story are uniquely written and there is a definite leader amongst the three. Kath is the one who urges both Raven and Angie to continue running their husbands rackets. The other ladies seem easily convinced at the thought of being able to put good food back on the tables at home. It's the worry that they won't be taken seriously that begins to concern them. This is Ollie Masters' debut on Vertigo and so far I'm pretty happy with his work.

Ming Doyle's artwork is perfect for this story and carries a slight retro quality yet a voice all her own. I think everyone knows this sort of thing floats my boat. This first issue also has an amazing cover by the one and only Becky Cloonan who has been all over the DC universe for some time now. It's unmistakably her work. There is a variant cover by Ming available but I haven't seen it kicking around anywhere sadly. At least not in Halifax. 

All in all, I'm really happy that Vertigo has a new title for me to enjoy! I was beginning to worry. The only thing Vertigo in my subscription box right now is Bodies and that's halfway done.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Royal Jelly: Top Picks for November 12th

The holiday kind of got in my way of publishing this article earlier but it's important to observe Remembrance Day so I decided not to publish yesterday. It's now time to get back at it so here's my pull list:

October Faction #2
Fade Out #3
Wytches #2
Thor #2
Dark Ages #4
Copperhead #3
MPH #4
Walking Dead #134
Kitchen #1
Drifter #1
Logan Legacy #4
Silver Surfer #7
Rocket Racoon (Paul Pope Variant)
Masterplasty (One-Shot 2nd PrintingVariant Cover)

The Shadows of Salamanca 

Noteable Mentions: Alex + Ada, She Hulk #10, Shutter: Wanderlust TP, Manara Borgais HC

There's a lot I'd like to grab this week! Tons of great singles. I would like to remind you that Dark Ages ends with issue 4 this week so ensure you get a copy. 

Two new series to look out for are Kitchen #1 from DC and Drifter #1 from Image. From Humanoids we have the debut hard cover The Shadows of Salamanca to chill you to the bone! Check out my review HERE.

The second issue in Steve Niles new horror series The October Faction is out this week! I am especially excited to read this issue. I interviewed Steve about the series which you can read HERE.

Excitingly, the long awaited issue two of Thor is out this week!! What's the big reveal?! Who has taken up the hammer?! My bets are on Thor's mother. In more Marvel news it has been revealed that Marguerite Sauvage will be illustrating this year's Thor Annual! Congratulations to Marguerite! I am so excited to see that issue! It'll be the first Thor Annual I've bought in well... ever.

As a last note, those of you who didn't get a copy of the giant sized issue of Masterplasty by James Harvey, you're in luck! There is a second printing as a standard size floppy available today!

Q&A with Benjamin Dewey on Tooth & Claw

For Image Comics, announcing a new on-going monthly series is a pretty big deal. The label produces many mini series and one-offs. This month they added Tooth & Claw to their on-going series library and people are raving. This gorgeously illustrated fantasy features anthropomorphic animal wizards. The first issue was released as an extended first issue with double the regular pages and sold out on release day.

I might as well say now that I really like interviewing Benjamin because he's got loads to say!

TFQ: I loved the little conversation at the back of the issue where the story is being pitched to you. You say you're in as soon as you hear that you get to drawn anthropomorphic animals. Is that how it really all went down?

Benjamin: It was pretty close to that! I have been a fan of Kurt’s work for a long time. His Conan run with Cary Nord was a big deal for me so when he first called me and suggested we work on a project together I was preemptively amped. When he said it would be like Kamandi meets Lord Of The Rings, I almost fell out of my chair because I love drawing animals and enjoy epic fantasy when it’s done well; I knew Kurt could deliver! This book would be a chance for him to cut loose and tell a story that was untethered to expectations that exist with licensed characters who have long histories and established fandoms.

I met Jordie while she was visiting Periscope and she said she wanted to color the project after I

The fourth part of the team was suggested enthusiastically by Kurt: John Roshell. Once I got to start working with him, it was clear that he was a fantastic fit for the book. He is really hard-working, innovative and thoughtful.

So that’s how I remember it, Kurt, Jordie and John might have different insights.

TFQ: What's it like drawing the actual characters? How do you choose what kind of owl, dog,
etc to use for the characters?

Benjamin: That part is alternately great and daunting. It’s tough sometimes to strike the right balance between realistic and abstractly/symbolically expressive, which is the tension in comics illustration generally. People know what animals look like and they know expressions intrinsically but combining those is not always a clear one plus one equation. Sometimes I have to use light or angle to convey a human emotion on an animal face that isn’t constructed in a way that’s conducive to put it across.

Occasionally Kurt puts a note in the script that is specific but if not, I think about how frequently they repeat, if their silhouette is helpful, what their character is like and build from there. I really love elephant seals, cats, bats, bears and herons. Turtles might be the most fun to draw. For this part of the story, the majority are from the Americas for reasons that will become clear later. Gharta and her partner Affa (the Giraffe wizards) are rare visitors!

We are saving certain animals/regions for later based on their story function

TFQ: Having read I Was the Cat before release, I found this to be a departure from that artwork. There appears to be so much more passion behind this project. How does this book differ from projects of the past for you?

Benjamin: For IWTC I had to illustrate a wide variety of time periods, settings and types under less than enjoyable circumstances. It was made during a tough period of time in my life and without a page rate so I had to take what other work I could to support my wife and me; that delayed and altered the process of working on it. That context is not the best one in which to produce a book that you have to pencil, ink and color. Thanks to the folks at Oni, My mentor Steve Lieber, my wife Lindsey and my brother Zach, I was able to push through to the end and emerge from it with a book Paul Tobin and I could be proud of.

With Tooth and Claw, I got to essentially start fresh, get a regular paycheck and work with a team of amazing people. It feels more like a sweet rock band than anything else; there’s great energy and reciprocity. When I work on this current book, I know I’ll have a chance to discuss choices in color, lettering and writing and likewise for the art with my collaborators. When you’re part of a team that all care about bringing their A-game to whatever their part is, it takes the pressure off in some ways but also makes you want to elevate your game because of how hard the others are working. It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to feeling what it’s like to be in the Beatles or GNR. I aim to be the Slash to Kurt’s Axl. That makes Jordie Duff, I guess!

It’s also my first ongoing monthly title so that is a different experience from mostly doing little bits and pieces of comics on an irregular schedule.

I’m also excited about my own tragedy series book, that’s coming out in March from Macmillan (St. Martins/Thomas Dunne), but that is a whole other type of work because I write it and draw it so there is no real outside input or editorial other than the response of readers and that can be a rabbit hole that is dangerous to go down. I have to develop an internal editor and coach to get me through rough patches of self doubt that happen when you’re the sole creator on a project

TFQ: Some of my favorite comics center around talking animals. I was a huge fan of Beasts of Burden realizing though that Tooth and Claw is very different from that book. What are your favorite comics with talking animals?

I love Blacksad for the art, Kamandi and Planet of the Apes. Anthropomorphic comics aren’t necessarily a genre that I seek out but I like to see it done well because it has a lot of potential to say things that might be harder to take from a human character. I think Oscar Wilde phrased it well when he said “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth”. I think a reader can absorb more emotion from the exaggerated form because their is removal that softens resistance and defies familiar patterns. This is doubly true of animals, robots, superheroes etc. David Simon made a 5 season long editorial about the tragic problems and untapped potential of American urban centers, that would have fallen flat on the printed page in prose, but people who watched it loved ‘The Wire’ and learned things because it was dramatized by people who cared enough to weave complicated social issues into stories with heart. Kurt and I are going to shoot for that!

TFQ: What kind of books are you most excited to do in the future? What's on the artistic bucket list? 

Benjamin: Oh, boy. Well, Tooth and Claw is kind of a dream project to work on so I look forward to what will happen as it plays out. Kurt told me what the ending is and that is a good 50 or so issues away. It looks like the next few years are booked!

I do want to work with writer Jeremy Barlow on a rock n roll comic (we’ve been developing) where we get to write and record a soundtrack. I’m going to try and make time for that and draw in a more open style like my great cartoonist friends/heroes Natalie Nourigat, Chris Samnee and Wook Jin (Hunter) Clark. I want to experiment with style.

I’d love to work with Jeff Parker again because he writes such fun stuff and I think we like the same sorts of stuff. He and I have talked about working on another animal-heavy story. I am in danger of becoming the animal guy!

If Jim Ottaviani ever did a Carl Sagan Biography project I’d lobby as hard as possible to draw that. Carl Sagan is my ultimate hero and favorite human other than my wife.

If I got a chance to draw licensed/popular properties I’d jump at an opportunity to work on Silver Surfer, Pacific Rim, Mignolaverse stuff like Hellboy or BPRD, Ron Randall’s Trekker, Green Lantern, Aquaman, The Hulk, Conan, The Inhumans, Agents of Atlas (I wish Marvel would bring it back with Jeff Parker writing), pre-1900 League of Extraordinary Gentleman stories, adaptations of Jane Austen novels, Sherlock Holmes, John Carter and all ages Avengers stories.

Of course, I have my own little seeds of ideas just rattling around in my head waiting for a chance to grow in the right conditions. I guess I’ll just try to fit in what I can over the next five years!
showed her original pages. That was thrilling because she is unquestionably one of the best colorists in the business and she works with incredibly talented artists like Evan Shaner, Declan Shalvey, Emma Rios, Sean Murphy… it’s a crazy list. It makes me feel awesome by association. We went out for Pizza at the blind onion with Kurt and cemented the line-up over a tasty meal.

TOOTH AND CLAW #2 will be available on 12/3 and can be pre-ordered with Diamond Code OCT140609. A variant by Alex Ross will also be available to pre-order with Diamond Code OCT140610.
Author Photo

Monday, November 10, 2014

Q&A with Tom Neely on The Humans

So you probably remember me going on about this title last week. Image released the debut issue of The Humans, a biker gang story with a Planet of the Apes spin! I am such a huge fan of Tom Neely's work and completely in love with this primate plot, so I decided to bug him for some information on how this all went down. Here it is for your reading pleasure!

TFQ: How did you come to work on this series? How did it all come together?

Tom: The idea came from my co-creator Keenan Marshall Keller. It was an idea he had for a screenplay about 10 years ago, but he never had the means to make a movie out of it. He and I became friends within the underground DIY comics scene years ago, and when he first told me about his idea for gangs of Apes on Motorcycles, I immediately went home and started sketching out ideas for us to develop it as a comic book series. It’s been a big change from both of our previous personal endeavors in comics, and it’s been a blast to collaborate with one of my best friends on our first “real” comic book!

TFQ: What was it like to create these The Humans? What did you use for inspiration? 

Tom: It’s been a lot of fun developing it, and a huge learning curve getting used to drawing a book on a regular schedule. Also, I’d never really drawn bikes before, so I’m loving learning how to draw all the little parts of these motorcycles. Both Keenan and I are big fans of ‘60s and ‘70s exploitation cinema, as well as underground comics from the ‘60s through the present. We’re largely drawing from our love of things like Russ Meyer and Roger Corman films and the comics of S. Clay Wilson, Spain Rodriguez, Harvey Kurtzman and even Dan DeCarlo’s work in Archie Comics. I think we also derive a lot of inspiration from our friends in and around LA - we’re DIY/punk/metal/weirdos and most of our friends are artists, musicians, witches, anarchists, bikers and other assorted freaks - and we wanted to make a comic that is all about sex, drugs and rock-n-roll… and apes and motorcycles. So, even though neither of us are “bikers” (I ride, but I’m not trying to pretend) or “apes”, we are drawing inspiration from our own surroundings. And we wanna incorporate that into the book with the added things like the ongoing soundtrack that you can download two new songs with each issue - and extra pin-ups by our talented artist friends. 

TFQ: Okay, I have to ask, what's with the ape blow job? It made me feel sick lol and I'm not prudish or squeemish. I feel like I never wanted to see Planet of the Apes porn.

Tom: Well, I'm glad you were just grossed out by Ape genitalia and not screaming “sexism” at us because I tried to portray it as a consensual act between two friends working through their grief over a lost friend in their own hedonistic way. This comic is about a biker gang of apes. It’s set in the ‘70s. It’s free love, lots of drugs, and some things that might seem “sexist” if you’re not familiar with biker culture or if you’re not familiar with the history of comics and art. Look at the biker comics of S. Clay Wilson and Spain. Watch an old biker movie on Netflix. Hell - look at the comics that I’ve done previously - my previous graphic novels include a XXX erotic werewolf novel and a book that puts Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig in a domestic partnership - I’m not afraid of sex or portraying sexuality in my art whether it’s gross or beautiful or hilarious. I’m a punk at heart - I will always be trying to push peoples’ buttons because I think that is what art is supposed to do. But it’s a friendly sucker-punch that I hope you’ll enjoy and laugh with me. I love that it made you want “to hurl” as much as the other guy who laughed at it because that’s a genuine reaction to something I drew! That’s a success to me, so I ain’t gonna stop.

TFQ: The cover really grabbed my attention back when Image first announced the series.

Thank you! We wanted a loud splash that didn’t look like anything else on the comic stand today! Half the credit goes to our brilliant colorist Kristina Collantes who did the gorgeous sunset and mountain range that really pushed that cover over the top! I’m really proud of the artwork we're doing on this series - I’m pulling out all the stops on my drawing and impressing myself every day. And then when Kristina puts her touch on everything it just blows me away - I hope the collaboration between Kristina and I will blow a few other minds in the coming issues.

TFQ: What kind of surprises are in store for us with the next issue?

Tom: Oh man - it only gets crazier - Vietnam acid flashbacks, gangs of bikers chasing down semi-trucks full of drugs barreling through the grapevine (a stretch of the i-5 between LA and Bakersfield), “Skin fights” (like cock or dog fighting, but with homo sapien slaves), a trip to a strip club called The Forbidden Zone, more biker gangs, lots of psychedelics, lots of bikes, lots of monkey mayhem all leading to a very explosive ending to the first arc with issue #9! After that, if we still have an audience, we have at least 4 more story arcs planned out for the future.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Shadows of Salamanca

My readers, you must know by now that I love my horror. A month ago I was gushing on facebook about how excited I was to read The Shadows of Salamanca, to be released by Humanoids. They sent me a copy promptly and I've been waiting until release week to write about this haunting tale. The book hits the shelves November 12th to send shivers down your back using a similar vein as the tales of the wendigo.

Different than most gory horror stories, The Shadows of Salamanca only hints at the supernatural. Even the monsters of this story are leaving you wondering: are they organic Earthly inhabitants like sasquatch or big foot?  Or are they the demons the religious claim them to be?

Young couple Sarah and David move to Salamanca to escape busy urban life but Sarah isn't entirely certain of the move. For one thing, there is something very strange about the rural town. It is utterly devoid of children coupled with an aging population. Kinda sounds like what is slowly happening to Nova Scotia but Christophe Bec isn't writing our future. He did manage to create a new spin on rural American legend. Most of us are familiar with the legend of the wendigo, or mutants from nuclear test sites in the Nevada desert. This is a refreshing look on the traditional American monster story and the images will chill you. Stefano Raffaele moves seamlessly from panels depicting ordinary American life to that of nightmarish savagery. If Stephen King isn't doing it for you and Darkhorse horror isn't floating your boat right now, you have to grab this one! You won't be disappointed, the ending is killer.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple

I was going to write about this ages ago but I get so bogged down in weekly singles, random submissions, timely interviews, not to mention my back log of older books that escaped my wallet back in the day.. honestly sometimes I just have trouble keeping up. So I'm finally taking to the time write something on this book. 

What an odd little book! I really had no idea what to expect from the plot. I knew it had to be off the wall if Farel's previous work was an indicator. You may know his work best from the Image Comics Prophet series. He has stepped in and done a few issues for the series since conception. His rendition of the creepy white ghost girl is particularly amazing. He also did several Prophet covers which I cannot forget. I first discovered him when he illustrated a mini series for Marvel called Omega the Unknown. I remember seeing it on the shelf and the artwork blew me away. I was so utterly drawn to it. I didn't even care what the story was about at the time.

Currently, Farel is traveling for book signings all over the U.S. There is a giant list of locations and dates on his website I'd kill to get some shit signed but you know me, I'm stuck out here on the Canadian East Coast.

The Wrenchies starts out spooky, ultimately due to Farel's illustrations. The story travels through dimensions and details the ordeal of the future children of Earth. They struggle to survive, fighting what are known as the Shadowmen. Like zombies, any contact with the Shadowmen is infectious and the teenagers become them. However the story becomes more than just your average post apocalyptic science fiction when the boy Hollis is transported to the dimension where the Wrenchies live. The Wrenchies are actually a rag-tag group of kids and teens who battle the shadowmen. There are several of these gangs. They all join forces with the Scientist and attempt to put an end to the Shadowmen. The eerie and surreal origins of which will shock you.

It seems important and appropriate that I let you know the book contains violence and language that is generally not deemed appropriate for children. Perhaps it is suitable for young adults over the age of 12 or 13. I suppose it depends on what you chose to expose your kids to. It's certainly would have been fine for me to read at 13. The violence is of particular interest. Most tv shows with warrior-like children lack violence and their battles consist of boobie traps and Chris Columbus ploys (think Home Alone & Hook). Farel opts for gruesome beheading, amputated limbs and the squashing of puss-filled monster bugs. However, the violence is more-so a part of life for The Wrenchies. The climactic ending is not all-out blood and gore.

Many readers found this story a little slow in the middle but the middle of the book had the amazing story of Hollis! The little boy who's life is ultimately lonely and quite sad until he is transported to the dimension of The Wrenchies. It's worth noting that the bloody action does not carry on through the entirety of the book and perhaps that lack of gorey action can bore some readers who do not enjoy character development. Bottom line, The Wrenchies is a Goonies acid trip and you will not soon be forgetting it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Nightworld #4: THE END?!

It's over!! I hate it when this happens but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The closing letters from Adam let us know that there will be a trade in February and two more planned mini series to come! It will not be the last we hear of our hellish friends!

This issue really had some artistic shock hiding within it's pages. Paolo changes things up a bit from his heavy neon pages and drew a lovely set of flashback panels. Instead of actual panels though, he drew the story as if we were looking down into a vintage book. Stained pages and all. It was very lovely with brownish ink. I love when an artist shows off their flexibility in this way. It's a little story within a story. The flashback reveals finally, the truth behind Lydia's waking sleep and how Plenilunio's world was irreparably changed. This might be my favorite part of the story thus far. 

I admit that I sort of wish that the truth behind Plenilunio's life was told earlier on in the series. This is probably due to the nature of waiting on singles. It has felt like such a long wait for this reveal. When I go back and read the four issues all together the story will undoubtedly feel whole. I am delighted that this is going to trade paper and I can't wait for a second mini series! Paolo and Adam must world together much more often. I wonder what else they have up their sleeves...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Humans #1

There are some things that I'm a fan of simply because of the concepts behind them. Like The Humans for instance. Apes on motorcycles, in 1970. They wear clothes, they have a gang called The Humans and they kill each other like in old mob movies. The also have drunken parties and get blow jobs in parks...that last part is the non-conceptual part that I was kinda grossed out about.

Replacing humans with animals, or as in here apes, doing regular things draws attention to how actually idiotic and often repulsive human behavior is. When you see an ape dressed like a hippie getting a blow job from a female ape, it's kinda like wow, that's really gross. (Especially the drawn in spray...or is it suppose to be saliva?) There are lots of things but that particular picture made me want to hurl. Then I had to kinda erase it from my memory to get through the rest of the story.

The story is pretty simplistic and writer Keenan Marshall Keller doesn't try to hide the plot development for the next issue. He plainly tells you that The Humans will be getting a visit from a long thought-dead member. One of their fallen brothers.

As much as the story is well written as far as I'm concerned, it's Tom Neely that is really on display in this book. His artwork is pristine and Kristina Collantes' colors fit so perfectly. I really loved all the reds and the way she made Neely's artwork jump off the page. Sometimes it really just takes the right colorist. I'm pretty happy with this issue despite that one panel with the gross BJ. I hope there's less of that kind of action in the future. We'll see though.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Brittle Hill comes to Halifax!

The Maritimes has been known to house a lot of talented people. Art has been created, shared and admired here for generations. You may or may not be aware that we have also birthed some talented comic book creators over the years. Alan and Helen Spinney are releasing issue three of their Moncton grown comic book series Brittle Hill. They will also be attending Hal-con this year. You can find them at the East Coast Comic Expo this Saturday between the hours of 11am - 1pm. After that there will be a special signing at 4pm at the Prince Street location of Strange Adventures in Halifax. They'll be back at Hal-con from 6-7pm. You will be able to grab copies of all three issues of Brittle Hill

I was lucky to get a few words with Alan before they come down to greet the city. I wanted to focus on what it's like to publish in the Maritimes but also on how this unique story came to be. Candy Zombies? Here's our Q&A:
TFQ: What Inspired this story? Candy zombies?
Issue #3!

Alan: I've worked in advertising for many years, coming up with fun ways to promote products and services for clients. I'm used to having creative ideas just pop into my head, by asking 'what if?'. The idea of candy zombies is like that. What if there were zombies made of candy? They would have brittle outside skin, that would break easily. If kids discovered them, the kids would be attracted to the candy, and want to eat the zombies. They would chase the zombies, instead of the other way around. But what if the zombies are fast, because they are made of sugar and full of energy. What if they were hyper, and had a hard time slowing down! But what if eating the zombie candy would infect the person who ate it!

The candy zombie idea was a fun concept, and I wanted to make a little giveaway mini comic on Free Comic Book Day, featuring all these candy zombie characters.
Just a folded black and white comic, photocopied and handed out at local comic stores. A little local Moncton comic book, just for fun.

Helen and I discussed the idea, and she suggested that it had some real potential.
We could make it a 'real' comic, and have teenage kids interacting with the zombies. Three Brittleville teens are in the police station at the beginning of issue 1. They're in trouble. We learn about them and the mysterious candy zombies who are watching them. Who are these zombies, or who WERE they before death? In the next 2 issues, the candy zombies and the residents of Brittleville get closer and closer, bumping into each other by accident. Or is it on purpose?

TFQ: How many issues will Brittle Hill have in total? Do you already have an ending to the story? 

Alan: We are releasing the third issue in November 2014, and have written the basic storyline for issue 4 already. Once issue 4 is released in early 2015, we will look at sales, and see what kind of audience there is for Brittle Hill. That will help us decide how to proceed.

TFQ: What's it like publishing in the Maritimes? Are there significant hurdles?

Alan: We write, draw and print Brittle Hill in Moncton, and sell in comic shops and bookstores throughout the Maritimes. We don't think it is any more difficult to create a comic series here than in a bigger centre, and in a lot of ways, we are better off in the Maritimes.
People here have a story telling past, and are very supportive of local projects.They will listen to what we have to say about Brittle Hill, and pick up an issue to see if they like it. With our closely knit communities, people tell each other about Brittle Hill, so news spreads by word of mouth. And with digital distribution, the hurdle of shipping comic books to buyers in other locations is pretty much gone. Brittle Hill is available on Comixology and through our own website ( as a downloadable pdf file for as little as 99 cents per issue.

TFQ: What sort of advice do you have for first timers who are looking to publish their own comics? 

Issue #1

Alan: When we planned the first issue of Brittle Hill, there was a big learning curve.
Neither one of us had written or drawn a comic book before! Comic books have a very unique style of story telling, combining words and drawings! We searched the internet for blogs and YouTube videos on how to produce a comic. We read books on it, and bought comics to see how other people were telling their stories. We attended a seminar on how to tell stories in comic books!

So, we did our homework, and then made a plan with a realistic deadline for each step of the first issue: writing, pencilling, inking and coloring. Once we made our schedule, we stuck to it, so we could deliver the first issue when we had promised.

We stay curious: we like to see what other comic creators are doing, both locally and those who work for large comic companies. It has to stay fun, even though we are working hard. That's the real key; make a comic story that you really believe in, and make it the best you can in the time you have.Then be happy with it, and keep learning how to tell the next story better and better!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Royal Jelly: Top Release Picks for November 5th

Here's my list:

Nightworld #4
Punks the Comic #2
Spread #4
Humans #1
Empty Man #5
Tooth & Claw #1
Gotham Academy #2 
Names #3
Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Project #1
Death of Wolverine: Life After Logan #1
Deadpool's Art of War #2

Attack on Titan Vol 14

This is a fairly budget friendly week for me. There are some new #1's for me to check out. Many of Humans as well as Tooth and Claw both debut this week with fascinating artwork that should replace your ending mini series. A few things I'm looking forward to are coming at us from Image Comics. Humans #1 has artwork coming from Tom Neely and the preview blew my mind! Considering my personal love of planet of the apes, apes as a motorcycle gang I need to see!

We also have the debut of Tooth and Claw. Best selling writer Kurt Busiek from Astro City brings us a new fantasy series with wizards and intelligent beasts. Benjamin Dewey who you might remember from my reviews of I Was The Cat released from Oni Press earlier this year, shows us just how flexible he is as an artist. This work is beautiful and colored by Pretty Deadly colorist  Jordie Bellaire. You should definitely put this on your pull list.

It's important to note that the final issue of Nightworld is released this week! If you have been following this series then ensure you get the exciting conclusion! I want to congratulate this guys on an awesome mini series! I hope to see more from these guys soon!

Gabriel Hardman's Kinski debut's in trade paper for the first time from Image Comics! Check out my interview with Gabriel about the book HERE.

It's worth saying that we've have two new series following up the Death of Wolverine. Charles Soule  give us The Weapon X Project with artist Salvador Larroca. Writer Jeff Loveness and artist Javier Pulido give us Life After Logan #1. I sort of signed up for this wolverine mess when I bothered to get the initial 4 issue mini series detailing Logan's death. I decided not to bother with Deadpool & Captain America. I think I might grab these titles however. I do enjoy Soule's stories.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Q&A with Gabriel Hardman on Kinski

On the weekend I was lucky to get an advanced copy of Kinski by Gabriel Hardman. For the first time, Kinski is be collected into a trade paper released by Image Comics. This book tells the story of a businessman and his dog, except the dog isn't his and the businessman has lost his job. 
I decided to contact Gabriel. He agreed to speak to me about the nature of the release and divulge a little bit about how he created this incredibly unique story. Here's what we discussed:

TFQ: Originally, Kinski came out as singles with Monkey Brain Comics, how did the decision to publish the trade with Image come about?

Gabriel: KINSKI is a personal project that I had been looking to finish for a long time and the digital first distribution that Monkeybrain offered seemed like the perfect way to get the story done and in front of people. I'm very positive about the idea of digitally distributing comics in issues then following it up with a print trade. If it were up to me, this is how comics distribution would work all the time...and maybe in the future it will. For the print collection, Image approached me and I was excited to work with them. The focus or creators and original content at Image is very much in sync with this project.

TFQ: What is the significance of the choice to name the dog Kinski? What does Klaus Kinski mean to you personally?

Gabriel: I'm generally not a fan of leaning on cultural reference points in stories but in this instance, it more a reference for who these characters are. The fact that these people know who Klaus Kinski is says something about them and it's a point of connection to other characters in the story. Since Klaus Kinski was insane, you could certainly assume that there's a bigger thematic significance to that. I'm personally a fan of the the films Kinski made with Herzog, especially Aguirre: The Wrath of God but he's not my favorite actor or anything. It just relates to the story. Everything comes back to story.

TFQ: This story has some of those moments that create conflicting emotions and morals. I was torn between wanting the best for the dog and hoping the main character could come to his senses. What inspired this story?

Gabriel: My whole intention with the book was to tell the story and let the reader make up their mind about Joe, the main character. He clearly makes bad decisions but from his perspective, he has good intentions. I'm not a fan of stories that tell you what to think. It's the job of the reader to engage with the story and meet me half way. 

The spark of the story was finding a lost dog when I was traveling to a film festival a few years ago. Nothing happened in real life that's akin to KINSKI but the story came out of wondering what would happen if somebody found a dog and would go to any length to keep him. It's also  about being at a point in your life where you're unsatisfied. You're job is unrewarding, you're not where you thought you'd be. But instead of working to fix that, you put all your energy into something tangential. In this instance, Joe is focusing it all on the puppy.

TFQ: There's a special place in my heart for black and white comics. Why did you choose to illustrate the story this way?

Gabriel: I wanted to tell this  ground level story in the simplest, most streamlined way possible, stripping away anything that was unnecessary. You can still a tell a story in comics without color so I kept it black and white. In a lot of ways KINSKI is like the comics equivalent of guerrilla filmmaking. I also have a fondness for the black and white comics of the 80's. that was a time when creators were really using the medium to express themselves. That may or may not have been the reality for them at the time but it felt that way to me as a kid reading those books. I wanted to bring some of that feeling to KINSKI. 

You can get your copy of Kinsky from Image Comics this Wednesday, November 5th!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dark Gods #1

I picked this up on a total whim. I am familiar with Justin Jordan and the artwork interested me. I flipped through in the comic shop and decided, why not! A few of the Image mini series I've been reading are about to end. Time to find some new series to enjoy.

Dark Gods comes at us from Avatar Press and fits into the horror genre. The plot starts out with a corporate spy who might have bitten off more than he can chew as he's quickly thrown to the wolves. By wolves, I mean giant, human-monster-vampire-like things. Honestly, I'm leaning towards vampire with a wee bit of zombie thrown in the mix. Obviously, some sort of demon.  German Erramouspe brings horrifically detailed pictures of the gore. I think that's what got me, not to mention the historic panels starting from the beginning of time.

The action starts pretty swiftly in this issue so it's my type of book. Waiting there on the last page is the first glimpse of our kick-ass female hero. I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised with this one.