Thursday, December 15, 2016

Black #1-3

A quick breakdown of facts: Black started out as a Kickstarter before getting picked up by Black Mask Studios. They raised almost 4 times what they wanted in the original Kickstarter which gave them a grand total of 91thousand dollars... that's pretty impressive.  So the story concept, well a world where people mutate with superpowers...except that only black people have superpowers. The story opens with a police shooting. An over zealous white cop shoots three young black teens.

The artwork is pretty awesome for me. I love black and white comics. Think like... the black and white art of The Walking Dead books- with similarly realistic representations.

One of the things that sort of irked me right away is a little continuity problem in Issue 1. We've got this female cop relaying the extraordinary events she saw on a particular day so one would assume you would only be viewing what that cop personally witnessed. Sadly that isn't what happens. At one point they divert from this narrative and show us a snippet of what ONLY our young fugitive is privy to.  After that, the original narrative is abandoned for the remainder of issue 1 and the story continues as a third person omnipotent narrative which begs the question: why did they bother with the opening narrative at all. WOW I said narrative too many times. Anyway, lets be honest, writers can do whatever the hell they want, this is just a personal pet peeve for me so... subjective?

By issue two we're seeing the officer again and our fugitive is picked up by.. oh boy, a secret underground operative! I didn't see that coming... wait I completely did, I just really hoped for something else. However less expected (WARNING: Mild Spoiler) is that the FBI is not only trying to catch these super powered black people but killing any witnesses to their powers.. which includes a lot of white people.

Although the concept of super powers is by no means unique, as well as an underground operation to train said super-powered people, the plot being centered around race allows writers to address important political, and racial issues that aren't often addressed in comics. Of course, I can't really get into any of that without spoiling the story... but its there (as well as a transgendered person who make a brief appearance... hopefully she has more of a role in the future).  Oh and fun fact about issue 2, one of the characters ends up in a sweet restorative tank that looks exactly like the one Luke is submerged into in The Empire Strikes Back.

With the emphasis on race in the books, this makes this story controversial and well, pretty honest. I like it.

Issues 1-3 are currently available at a comic book store near you!

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Skeptics #2 *SPOILERS*

Before reading my review of issue #2, you may wish to watch my thoughts and coverage of issue one and don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Writer: Tini Howard
Illustrator: Devaki Neogi

Issue #2 of The Skeptics is currently available from Black Mask Studios as of November 30th. I hadn't previously spoiled the ending of this issue one but for the sake of a thorough review I'm going to spoil it now. At the end of issue #1, our two young grifters found more than they thought they would within the government facility. They found genetic experiments in the form of humans with telepathic abilities, these are supposed to be the soviet super weapons. At least that's what I gathered from the brief moment our two protagonists. With the beginning of issue #2, the grifters are apprehended by the authorities. They have no intention of giving themselves up for phonies however and they insist they are now telepathic. They further play up the charade by insisting that they can read the minds of everyone around them. This is all for the sake of finding a specific file all about the soviets super weapon, the twins. 

Unfortunately, our protagonists are shoved up on stage with the president AND the soviet twins who quickly announce LIVE that the two american teenagers have no psychic abilities. The issue leaves off with a chaotic montage illustrating the fear and panic our charlatans must face in the coming issue. 

There are a couple really interesting panels in this issue that I want to point out but most pointedly, I have to say I loved this panel:

Devaki's use of foreground in this particular panel really drew my eyes in on this page. It ended up being my favorite page and it was the first one in the issue. She does this a few more times throughout the issue and I really like this cropping effect as often times artists attempt to show us too much and panels can end up feeling rather cold. Perhaps that's a completely personal opinion that only I share LOL.  

Although this issue isn't terribly long, is does take you right up to the point where the plot thickens. How are our little teenage grifters going to get out of this one? What are the consequences for deceiving the president and attempting to fool the american public & free press? I suspect they'll be thrown straight into prison unless they can turn the situation around and somehow infer that the soviets are the ones who aren't psychic which really, isn't that what the american government wants? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ancestor TP

I wasn't 100% sure what I was getting into before I opened Ancestor. I only knew that I had a great love for the artwork and that's simply because I've been following the work of Malachi Ward for some time now. I became a fan after a particular issue of Prophet written by Brandon Graham, for which you all know by now, I've greatly praised. Ward had lent his talents to the series as so many great indie artists have over the last few years. Ward's particular style fit into the series amazingly and sat comfortably next to the work of Simon Roy. It was then that I started following his work via facebook and twitter, then recently again through the Image Comics magazine Island.

For Ancestor, Ward has teamed up with Matt Sheean. The two are both credited with writing and illustrating the above mentioned comics AND this one. I was lucky enough to talk to Ward for a video interview. Keep your eyes peeled for the video this week for full information on the process of creating Ancestor and more creator secrets!

So what do I think of Ancestor? That's the real question here. The whole story was a pretty big shock. When you consume the amount of comics I do, it's hard not to feel like everything is just a rehashing of something else you've already read. However, I actually got some big shocked moments reading this trade. Originally this was a serial within the Island magazine so this is my first read through of the entire story and I really appreciated being able to read the collected edition. I've said before how so many stories do so much better when binge-read however, this is one of those stories that could keep you interested as a serial. Where the story begins and where it ends is a complete 180. What starts off as feeling like a story in a not so distant future, ends up as an existential mind fuck.


The story does create some really interesting new technology including a system which is essentially a 24/7 cerebral plug-in to the internet. Wireless of course *wink* And this system allows people to control anxiety by being able to access information about EVERYTHING they encounter 100% of the time. Our main characters who happen to be artists are invited to a party of which they really know nothing about. The requirement for attendance is to unplug. Turn off the system. This causes people to feel incredibly uneasy for a time but that's nothing compared to the uneasiness they'll experience when they're taken to a special room which basically becomes a killing floor. It's here things get really interesting. The panels and killing floor does remind me somewhat of that movie Circle but instead of everyone nominating and choosing who should die next, it's just one megalomaniac making the kill decisions.

This story is rooted in science fiction however, not horror but it does contain some violence at this point of the story. It's important to note that most of the violence is implied and there isn't a lot of gratuitous gore, however this is an adult book full of adult topics and would be miles over the head of even most teenagers. I would not recommend this story for people younger than 15.

All this happens in the first two halves of the story but it's the last two chapter which will get to you. I think that's where the spoilers from me have to stop. Needless to say, you can't possibly guess where this is going. The story is not remotely predictable and that's why I'm not telling you!

The complete Ancestor story is currently available as a trade paper from Image Comics. You can purchase it online easily from Amazon if you can't find it elsewhere but remember to support your local comic book stores!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Cowboys and Insects

This one-shot comes from one of my favorite comic book artists Shaky Kane (also the awesome artist who created my Frog Queen Logo!). Shaky is collaborating again with David Hine. You'll likely remember them together on titles like The Bulletproof Coffin but Hine has been all over the place in comics. He's written Spider Man, The Darkness, Batman, Crossed, X-men... the titles just go on. He even had a hand in Spawn for a while.

I really wish these two could just continuously release shorts like this together. I'd be thrilled. Shaky's work is reminiscent of a better time in comics, when people used their hands and not copious amount of computer programs. Don't get me wrong, I totally appreciate TONS of digitally created comics but there's something to be said about Shaky's process which you can actually watch online!

One of my favorite parts about this one-off is the format. The cover has been printed on this oddly shaped card stock and it really stands out on the shelf. I know what you're thinking however, "if I bag it, it's going to float around messing up my comic box and creating creases". Well do like I do and have boxes specifically for non-modern aged comics. Simply due to the fact that I support a lot of indie creators and self published comics, I have a great number of uniquely shaped comics.

So the story itself of course is awesome. Everyone knows by now that I'm vegan, and this story is oh so vegan. The story centers around the retold events of a man's childhood crush. It also happens to center in a world which harvests giant insects for food and other commodities. The man explains that his family were ranches. Giant ant ranchers to be certain and his first crush, first kiss was a gothy looking young vegetarian. The boy takes direction from his family who explain that being a vegetarian goes against nature. It's corrupt thinking... and well... apparently violence towards those who think differently than you is actually NOT corrupt thinking.

So you know it has a really happy ending...actually the ending is really the best part. The cover is immensely misleading as you think that the cowboys themselves are ants but this isn't so. However, in a very fascist clan type way, the cowboys band together wearing the heads of their slain livestock to round up and deliver retribution to these veggie loving family. Remind you of anything?

The thing is, a lot of people really DO think that eating other sentient beings IS normal. Violence is violence however and that's something that our world hasn't quite grasped. This is where terms like speciesism comes from. It's the belief that your own species, humanity is superior and this thought process leads to the exploitation of animals.  But this short story really imparts the message that violence towards people and violence towards other sentient beings, come from the same place of ignorance and so, I love it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Reborn #1

I almost feel like I have to start this review with a disclaimer. I'm a big Mark Millar fan. I really loved so many of his mini series like Starlight & MPH, I loved Jupiter's Legacy, Kick Ass and of course a bunch of his even older stuff. So when I saw the press release for Reborn, I got really excited because the main character/hero is female. The artwork of course interests me as well. At this point, Mark can pretty much work with any artist he chooses. Greg Capullo has been illustrating Batman for the last 5 years and although I don't give two shits about the New 52's iterations of Batman (besides maybe Batman '66), there's no denying that Capullo isn't ridiculously a ridiculous talented artist.  This can be particularly noted in the scenes where our heroine dies and is "reborn" in this mysterious fantastical new universe.

And here we go now all my criticisms, so the story starts out with a few LARPER looking snipers taking out some mundane looking people who are minding their own business and it's pretty clear from the scenery that the LARPING snipers and their targets don't actually share the same space. Before we know it their target practice ends and we're listening to an elderly lady reminisce about her life. She's living out her last days for a couple panels and then... she's gone. This is where the book gains it title. Our heroine dies only to awaken in the field of battle as a bodacious babe with a sword and a legion of bowing minions. Like seriously, I think these are minions (not those minions from Despicable Me). They're monstrous but apparently looking at her as their leader/savior.

So not only do I honestly feel this is a pretty bland storyline so far, I'm kinda angry that the story jumps around so much and leaves the only real interesting part at the beginning as if had no significance. I mean, don't get me wrong, I know first issues are intended to get you hooked and leave you hanging but I'm not really feeling invested enough in any of these characters to give a rats ass what happens to them.  The reason is that this first issue jumps around too much between characters AND it's too short. I know what you're thinking, "AMY it's longer than any Marvel & DC single issue!". Well, a good first issue is more about introducing characters, it's about getting you to care about them. This was too short to be able to do that and it tried too introduce us to too many people. This is why sometimes, I think that many stories need to be released as complete graphic novels instead of constantly trying to cash in on these monthly subs. Brian K Vaughan gets it. He still releases complete graphic novels fairly regularly. I assume that he knows that some things are better binge read and therefore provide a better experience to the reader, left intact.

On top of that, this story really feels like nothing new to me. This is perhaps due to the ridiculous amount of manga I've consumed over the years. Normal people being transported to a magical, fantasy land, swords and battles... well lets just say I was a HUGE Escalfowne fan (I guess I should say that I still am). There are loads of stories like this that have come out of Japan. Not to mention that this particular story has started reminding me of that Canadian series The Odyssey which aired when I was a kid. It's about a boy transported to a strange world while he's in a coma. For instance, we're made to think that the main character has died but has she? It doesn't feel fresh to me and honestly, the freshness of the story wouldn't so much be an issue if I felt more invested in the characters.

I was really hoping that this would be a new fantastical series for me, yet I'm afraid, Reborn is a miss.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Some Thoughts on Snotgirl

Snotgirl debuted from talented Canadian Writer and former East Coast dweller, Brian Lee O'Malley published by Image Comics on July 20th. It was one of the first comics I have bought since making a commitment to clear my debt up this year. I bought both the first issue and the second which released two weeks ago.

It was not only the fact that the story is written by O'Malley, but the cover which drew me in. Leslie Hung's illustrations on this book are amazing. Yet I don't recall seeing her work anywhere previously. I did a random google search and turned up nothing in graphic novel form, but her website did show a sample of her own illustrated comic so it appears to me that she's fairly new to comics. Her work reminds me in part of manga and in part of 1950's illustrated advertising and pin-ups. It's very clever and sharp. It's perfectly on time. Snotgirl and all her associates in the book are beautiful and unique. How she managed to make a girl look gorgeous and sensual while dripping green gobs of snot from her nose.. well who knows.

I should probably explain what Snotgirl is all about. I wondered the same thing when I first grabbed it. As with many things, if it's a writer I like, and I like the artwork, I grab it whether I know the plot or not (unintentional rhyme). Like most everything I've read by O'Malley,

Snotgirl is full of inner monologue and yeah, she's a pretty loathsome character. She's vapid and shallow, completely caught up in her and yet completely relatable in how she criticizes herself. At least, I can relate to that. Snotgirl is a fashion journalist- uh actually a blogger, but a blogger with her own intern. Although she's a bit of guru and has been writing for nearly a decade (I recall?), she often feels she's undeserving of her success, and constantly fears being exposed or worse - outdone. She's Snotgirl because of her horrifying allergies (which no one knows about! Alterego).

Snotgirl is undone by a chance meeting of another fashion blogger. Someone she dubs Coolgirl and that's about all I'm gonna tell you because too much more and I'll spoil all the fun. If you haven't you really should check this out. Not only has O'Malley managed to create another charming character, completely full of flaws and realistic self doubt, but Leslie Hung's artwork is stunning and I do hope she continues to work in the industry.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Faith #2

Written by JODY HOUSER

This is the first review from me in ages!!  I thought I'd start with the second issue of the new ongoing Faith series from Valiant Comics. I read the first limited series run. I loved it. You can look back over the past year for past reviews.

Faith is an unconventional female superhero. In a world full of bikini models, she's a fresh breath of air. By day she's a journalist and when crime comes a calling, she's a psionic superhero! She battles the best the world of villainy has to offer. This issue sees her fighting her very first supervillain! 

Faith is an all ages adventure. I'd be lying if I didn't say I'd like to see a more adult version of the characters life but I think it's really important that todays youth have a chance to read about a character like Faith.

Faith's inner monologue is real. That's the first thing I notice when I read Faith comics. There's a lot of social commentary about body image and the way we view ourselves. However, its not directly attacking societal norms but attacking the stigma placed on women who's bodies don't fit that mold. It's not critisizing women for be thin either which is refreshing since it seems easiest to battle for fat acceptance by knocking others down. At least, this is something I observed on YouTube. Instead the issue promotes a mantra of self love and self acceptance for all. It doesn't push for rejection and I think that's a very important point. I'm very much looking forward to more Faith. 


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dept H #1

The title of the comic looks like DEPTH but it's actually Dept H which means Department H. New York Times best selling creator Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) teams up for this one with his wife Sharlene Kindt to bring this story of sabotage, murder and of course mystery.  Issue #1 hits the shelves April 20th. I read this last week and of course, I'm a little behind getting this article up.

You know I read this issue last week and I thought to myself, what lovely art. It's not particularly unique. It's not detailed and it doesn't look like it took years to put together but it has this charm. It's right up my alley really. It's soft and very indie in appearance. This is always charming to me. Anyway, the story itself as mentioned above is a murder mystery which is rooted in a traditional science fiction, under the sea adventure. Main character Mia must descend into Deptartment H to find out who murdered her father. She's surrounded by familiar faces and one of them is a murderer.

This really isn't a really riveting plot. It's a little mundane in my opinion. Maybe I'm just getting to the point where I find everything a little mundane in comics. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of amazing comics but they are hiding amidst all these sort of average type stories. However, just because the set up and initial plot line seems mundane, we don't know where it will go or what the actual story will end up being about. So I don't want to say this is guaranteed to be a mundane story. That would be misleading. I don't actually think that at all.

Dark Horse Comics promises strange sea creatures in this comic so I'm hopeful. I love strange sea creatures. If there are no strange sea creatures, I'm gonna write a scathingly angry email to Dark Horse lol. Sometimes write-ups and summaries written on Comic label sites are terribly misleading. They make the comic sound exciting of course and then don't deliver and sometimes they exaggerate things... like creatures. It annoys me. Don't promise me bizarre creatures and give me octopus. Octopus is not bizarre. I see those all the time.

At any rate, I didn't find this first issue "terrifyingly good" as Greg Rucha is quoted on the cover but maybe it's going to get there? Let's hope. I like Greg. I believe him.

Friday, April 15, 2016

My articles aren't really reviews... and that's okay.

Maybe I'm just getting really jaded with regards to comics (okay maybe I'm just getting jaded in general). I've found it difficult to write reviews lately. I want to talk about comics. I like talking about comics but I am tired of having to write an article that's either in favor of something or against it. Yet when I write something honestly, the outcome is usually wishy washy. It's not VERY GOOD or VERY BAD and that bothers people.  People want to hear that something is either really good or really bad. Extremes seem to make people happy in the review world. When I write something honestly, I get a lot of comments from people complaining that my position wasn't more positive or negative.

No I'm not upset that I'm getting criticism, I get that all the time from all kinds of places. If I was upset about criticism then I guess I just wouldn't do anything. I'm annoyed that people need things to always be so black and white. Even my position on most books I read, music I hear, it's rarely super positive. Yes there are things I adore, but there are plenty of things I don't feel passionate about in either direction.

Anyway, I guess my point is.. I'm going to continue to write articles about the comics I'm reading, and I'm not going to try and conform to some format that maybe appeals more to review readers? I'm just gonna write the same honest way I've always written. So there LOL.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Exclusive Interview with Rich Tommaso on SHE WOLF (art preview included)

This June sees the release of fan-favorite cartoonist Rich Tommaso's ( DARK CORRIDOR) latest series SHE WOLF. Image Comics will be the vessel responsible for the release of what they describe as a 'surreal exploration in horror'. I like the sounds of that. We know I'm a horror junkie, well for the supernatural horror genre anyway. The story follows a teenage girl who believes she's been bitten by a werewolf. I was super lucky to be able to bring you this exclusive interview with Rich on his new comic.

TFQ: My first question is, what inspired this story? I know werewolves have become increasingly more popular in horror stories and television over the last fifteen years. What made you specifically want to write a story centered on them?
Rich: I've always loved werewolves and I'm always disappointed when they're given such small parts in fantasy/monster movies (Harry Potter is the best example of that). It was just a matter of coming up with something interesting to do with them. Once I thought about my High School years and trying to hide your bad habits (drinking, smoking, etc.) from your parents I felt like I had a good place to work from. At first, it was going to be about two sisters, one who was 14 years old and the other, who was turning 18. The idea was going to be a demonic possession comic story where the older sister, who was very nice at first, turns into a horribly mean sister, soon after her 18th birthday party. But, I felt like the demonic possession of a young girl was too close to The Exorcist, so I scrapped that version.

TFQ: From the excerpt that I've seen, the main character's appearance is very typically gothic. She's got a pentagram around her neck and wears upside down crosses. Is there any comment within the story on goth culture ?

Sure. I mean, she listens to Madonna, Blondie, but probably also likes The Cure. The type of high school girl who's into everything--doesn't really follow one specific musical fad. At one point, I'd like to have her around a bunch of metalheads listening to early heavy metal rock. Wearing her normal gear, to show how you don't have to dress, head to toe, like the people you rock out to. A kid in my High School who dressed like an extreme hippy once saw me painting a psychedelic picture that had... dare I say this?... Grateful Dead imagery in it. And he said, "Cool, but you don't listen to the Dead, do you?" To which, I replied, "Sometimes, yeah, I just don't walk around here, dressed like it's Halloween, 1969 everyday." He just stared at me a minute and then walked away.

TFQ: Could you tell me a little bit about the setting of She Wolf? Where does it take place, what era and why?

Rich: I've always avoided writing about New Jersey, which is where I grew up--I lived there from kindergarten to college years. But, I almost never write comics about Jersey for the fact that I don't really like nor ever liked my hometown. And I hated the idea of DRAWING it, even more. But with this project I thought, "okay It's time to write about my hometown--I HAVE to". I spent too many years--my formative years--in Sparta, New Jersey to not ever mine territory for stories. The eighties were the years I was in grade school and high school--and seeing how so many famous movies about werewolves sprung from that era, it was conveniently just right for the time period of the comic book.

TFQ: Dark Corridor received a lot of favorable reviews. How do you think people will react to She Wolf and how does this story compare to your previous work?

Rich: I think (and hope) people will like this one even more. It's the sort of book I've been wanting to write for many years--a surreal narrative. It's very different from Dark Corridor in that one specific way. The story makes sense--well, at least to me it does--but it moves in very strange ways from one sequence to the next, that you have to sort of dig for puzzle pieces. Gabrielle, my main character, has to struggle through her days as her nightmares bleed into her everyday reality. So scenes will shift from reality--to waking nightmare--to sleeping nightmare--almost without pause.

TFQ: And just for fun, who are your current favorite artists and writers out in the comic industry today? What books and comics are you currently reading and would you recommend them to my readers?

Rich: I just read Patience by Daniel Clowes, which I really enjoyed--he always comes up with the creepiest side effects to wish fulfillment, fantasy dreams. I also loved Mariko and Jillian Tamaki's This One Summer--a beautifully drawn book and one where children are portrayed realistically--complex and flawed, as opposed to the innocent, cookie-cutter, cartoon characters you usually get when reading YA comics material. Always following the Hernandez Brothers' Love And Rockets series and I'm excited about them going back to their original stapled, magazine format. Eleanor Davis' BDSM story in Frontier Magazine was another big stand-out comic for me. Island magazine is another favorite--anthologies are hard to pull off, but one where you get work by people like Brandon Graham, Emma Rios, Malachi Ward, Farel Dalrymple...? Every month, I am there.

Order your copy of SHE WOLF #1 NOW with Diamond Code APR160661.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


This is one of my most anticipated releases of 2016. Magnetic Press has released some of my favorite graphic novels to date (Doom Boy, Naja, etc) and I had been eying the advertisements for Golem ever since they started appearing on social media about six months ago.  ( or maybe it just feels like it's been that long?) 

Lorenzo Ceccotti, also known as LRNZ, mixes Japanese art style with Western graphic design. This is the sort of feel and style I've come to love in artist Bengal, who I've spoken about at length. This is LRNZ's first full length graphic novel and it debut's TODAY from Magnetic Press.

Golem presents itself as commentary on capitalism in it's ultimate form. But it's also showcasing and warning of the power of consumerism and almighty Corporation. This future Italy is a vacuous environment of marketing propaganda, sterility,  false freedoms, and emptiness... everything is regulated, everything is connected, everything dictated... even cooking is a thing of the past. Ready meals at the touch of a screen to save your lungs from extra free radical producing carcinogens. A world complete with gambling options at your local ATM! A sprawling metropolis where plant life is a rare sight to behold. Absolutely everything is branded. Everything is disposable, which means waste is at an all-time high.

The book centers around a young boy named Steno who can't sleep for all his nightmares. Yet his life becomes surreal when the connection between his dreams and reality is made in a catastrophic event. I really don't want to spoil anything so that's all I'm gonna say about that.. ;)

There's a real familiar feel to this book. Perhaps as an anime, manga junkie, the artwork appeals to me but standing back and looking at it there's a real science fiction familiarity to it that other modern dystopian stories lack. This reminds me more of Akira and Rock and Rule lol because of the panels specifically detailing the metropolis. It looks impressive but chaos hide in the alley ways. 

My only real criticism is that there are some confusing words, made up devices and fake tech talk that often bothers me in science fiction stories. My brain kinda drifts off and detaches from the plot unfortunately. But luckily this isn't overwhelming in the book. It happens in little blurbs here and there to explain failing technology.. you know like how Star Trek blames everything on tachyons.  

I really did enjoy the book and had to plow through it in one sitting just to find out how it ends. It's a page turner for certain (or scroller, if your a digital reader). This would make an awesome gift for any Akira lover out there. Check out the website: and you can order directly from there! Also most of your local comic book stores do carry Magnetic Press books of course. If you are in Halifax, you can find Magnetic Press books at Strange Adventures. Peace!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Plutona #3

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Plutona. Emi Lennox's art work and story contributions make my heart melt. I just wanna hug the pages but of course... I don't want to crinkle them. (Plus I read this via an advanced digital copy from Image so hugging the computer it just likely to hurt me.)

The major plot point of course is that a group of adolescents have stumbled on the body of famous super hero Plutona. They have told no one and intend to bury her. That really isn't the focus of the story. The real focus resides in the social interaction of our scheming pre-teens. I love the back and forth in this issue. The death of hero Plutona brought them together and caused a slight rift in their social circle as Mei begins texting resident bully Ray and defending her best friend Diane a whole lot less. Perhaps she falls into the background as adolescent hormones casually descend but Diane is not at all happy and completely aware of her friends favor falling toward Ray.

While previous issues focused on the home life of the young group, this focus is on the children and their quietly forming alliances. My only complaint about this issue is that it is not longer. I really can't wait to read the rest of the story. So much love.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Faith #2

Valiant's latest breakout star and body positive superhero Faith is back! I HAD to read this issue as one of my favorite artists Marguerite Sauvage has lent her amazing talent to the project. She has illustrated all of Faith's fantasy sequences. I have to admit, I really wish her whimsical panels were the entire way through the issue. That's not to say that Francis Portella is not a talented artist, it's merely a personal bias for Sauvage's work which I've followed extensively since she began her career in comics.

The running theme of the story appears to be celebrity and Faith's unrelenting conscience. She does what she has to in order to get the job done, but not without questioning her own golden morals of honesty. I'll show a little of my morals here and be perfectly honest that Faith's alter ego who's career is based in journalism is far from original but writer Jody Houser has made Faith's alter ego Summer, engaging and realistic. Summer is fearless and although bullied by her boss, stands up for herself assertively rather than pulling some Peter Parker impersonation or stuttering Clark Kent.

There is a theme running through the issue I'd like to put focus on. It paints the media and Hollywood as both vapid and shallow, casually calling attention to the pitfalls of celebrity. I think it's really important to do this, especially for the younger generation however holding stereotypes like "pretty, thing and blonde" equals mean and stupid isn't very forward thinking. If we could loose this type of character casting which utilizes stereotypes of this nature, we'd find Faith being an all around more body positive story.

Despite this one criticism, I still find Faith to be an excellent read and hopefully will only improve with time. You can get your copy of Faith #2 next Wednesday, March 2nd.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hellboy Winter Special

I have to admit I am woefully behind in Hellboy. I go through binges of reading it to catch up and then get left behind again. I have my mind set on getting back on track. However, I always read the mini series and one offs as they are so non committal. This winter special possesses the talent of Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson, Chelsea Cain, Scott Allie, and artists Michael Walsh, Michael Avon Oeming, and Tim Sale.  The issue is 36 pages long and has a couple sweet variant covers although I suspect most people will go for Mignola's cover.

There are four stories. One about ghoulist monsters who possess snowmen that kinda got on my nerves. It takes place in Liz's  adolescence and she's basically the brunt of much jokes... you know because teenage girls are hormonal and unreasonable. I know teenagers can be erratic and  unreasonable but they are not insane.... Anyway.

The story I enjoyed the most was the the one which took place in 1953. You may remember the recent series of Hellboy under the title 1953.

For a special, I kind of thought the issue would be a bit bigger. 36 pages just didn't seem all the long to me because I've been reading such huge Vertigo issues lately. Well, I guess that must be it. Anyway, cute little stories with some humor and the awesome monsters. I especially like young Hellboy. :D You can get your copy tomorrow!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Blood Feud #3

The busy hands of Cullen Bunn (Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, Hellbreak, The Sixth Gun) have produced another creepy story. Blood Feud is put out by Oni Press and already in it's third issue. I have been a fan of Cullen for sometime and I always check out his new work. I didn't even realize at first that this was a vampire story. It harbors the creepiness of Harrow County while taking place in a modern setting with perhaps not the most modern people. Small town Spider Creek is home to a horrible blood feud that has been ongoing for as long as anyone in the town can remember. Two families at war, the Stubbs and the Whatelys. It's the later who harbor some dark secrets which are rumored to be more than a flirtation with dark powers.

As far as I can tell, this comic started out a novella made available for download by Bunn on his website. For the comic book, Bunn has joined forced with artist Drew Moss and color artist Nick Filardi.

I feel as though the first issue was probably the best so far in the series. I felt it had a very strong opening. Cullen Bunn has mastered the great introduction. He sets the story up and leaves just enough bread crumbs to keep you following. Originally, I didn't know that it was going to become a vampire story. I've steered pretty clear of them lately after True Blood but with only five issues in this mini series, I can't imagine things getting so out of hand. The story appears to be a fairly standard vampire yarn. Think From Dusk till Dawn vampires and not Twilight lol. These aren't pretty and sparkly. They're Salma Hayek after she's all vampirized.. except with bigger....teeth ;)

I'm not completely in love with the artwork but I certainly don't hate it. There are a couple wonky panels scattered throughout the first three issues. One particularly rushed looking panel where the alignment of a characters body looks a little dangerous.. if someone was to look that off-centered from ones hips.. they might need surgery. The artist takes a more minimalistic approach to each panel which is something I've always admired in artists. Although you can certainly see me gush on a busy panel here and there, the majority of artists I enjoy are like myself and go for subtlety.

We've only got two issues left and I can't say what exactly is going to go down now that the vampires clan is uncovered and been made extremely upset...guess you'll just have to check it out. Get your copy  of issues #3 this Wednesday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Snow Blind #2

I feel like its been forever since I read issue one. That's largely due to the holidays being so busy but in reality, issue one came out in December so the comic is not late! (You can find my review of issue #1 HERE. )

The story thus far follows a teenager who suspects his parents have been lying to him his entire life. In issue one, we learn that the entire family was put into witness protection...but why? Well our hero Teddy isn't going to continue on through life believing everything he's told. He embarks on a mission around the neighborhood trying to find out who broke into their house, and just what is really going on. He simply can't believe anything his parents tell him. After all, he's been lied to his entire life.

As far as a story goes, you kinda get the feeling at first that the plot is rather run of the mill but Masters has some delightful surprises in store which make this no ordinary mystery. Teddy himself is a very realistic character in that he makes mistakes just like any teenager would. He doesn't always consider his actions and as his emotions heighten, his impulse control drops and he simple reacts. Reminds me of what I felt like when I was younger.. crazy.

The art of course is on point. I'm a big fan of Jenkins' work so I just eat up whatever he throws out to us fans. I really like the soft watercolor in this book where as recent mini series Neverboy was not colored by Jenkins. At any rate, very excited to see the next chapter! Keep your eyes tuned to the Boom Releases next month to get issue 3!  You can read Snow Blind TODAY. As soon as your local shop opens for business.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Junji Ito's Cat Diary

It's absolutely no secret that Junji Ito is my favorite manga artist & writer. I mean, it's insane to be able to say you have a favorite manga artist OR writer and the fact that I am CERTAIN given all the manga I've consumed and that both those qualities sit within one person... That's amazing. He's amazing. Anyway, I recently acquired my own copy of Cat Diary (which I had hoped to achieve on release but was unable to).

This is the horror author's first complete stab at humor. Honestly, I wasn't sure how I'd enjoy the book. The story starts with Junji, his wife affectionately referring to him as J, buying a new home! To his absolute horror his wife intends to bring her family cat into the new home. As if that weren't enough, she plans to adopt a second cat!

The story is told with a great deal of humor and drawn very much like he's drawn any other manga. The difference is that the contorted faces, pupil-less eyes, and exaggerated facial expressions have taken on the almost self mocking quality. The horror artist sees horror everywhere and pokes fun at himself in the process.

The book itself has some Q&A with the manga artist in between the chapter breaks. It's noted that he draws the cats in this manga in a more realistic fashion where they appear cute, rather than sinister as in his horror manga. The cats in Cat Diary are dare I say, cute!?

As a whole, the book can only be described as absolutely charming.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Alex + Ada: A Look at The Entire Series (MAJOR SPOILERS)

In October the Image Comics series Alex + Ada came to an end. Although I'm terribly sad that this series which I became quite attached to had ended, I'm also glad it didn't have the chance to become uber ridiculous. Fair warning now that I'm going to talk about the ending of the series. So if you haven't read the final volume, which is volume 3, you may wish to skip this article for now.

I read this series in a binge. I came into it late and took an interest in it just as the trade came out. I read the first volume and waited patiently for the final two. I had some intention of reading the singles but felt flow of the story was best appreciated in a good binge. When volume 2 was released, it breezed by me and I simply was too busy with too many prior commitments to actually sit down and read it. However this week I decided to binge read the rest of the series.

At first, I really didn't know how I felt. I was shocked that volume three moved so swiftly through 25 years. Yes that's right, here's the big spoiler: Alex gets caught and ends up with a 25 year sentence! I was utterly distraught. When I started reading this story, I expected it to go on for a few years to explore all the obvious moral questions that most AI stories are built around. The story did in fact explore a couple of those: Rights for sentient AI and the ramifications, challenges and possibilities of a human/android relationship. That was mostly it. The on-going theme in the story is the distrust of sentient AI. Humans fear that they will be harmed by their creations. Pretty standard really.

The more interesting exploration was the reaction of a human female to the thought of having to compete with an un-aging, perfectly looking robot companion. She explains that it's "bad enough to compete with other women, but now they have to compete with things". I mean, its a valid point, if not one that comes from a place which paints women as insecure and woefully concerned about what men think. I was struck by the choice to confront the issue in this way which came from a place of female jealousy and overtly, public emotional reaction rather than anything constructive. It's to this also that you see Alex, our main character and hero, display his unrealistic personality.

Alex's reactions to the abhorrent behaviors and opinions of other, can be considered nothing but saintly. In fact, he never does anything to warrant any dislike. He's admirable even in his initial rejection of Ada and again when he steps back to reconsider her sexual advances. You can't really fault him for reconsidering his actions there and the pretty much graceful way he backs out. It's this saintly demeanor and calmness which makes Alex feel very unrealistic. I don't know anyone who reacts to the harsh treatment of others in such a polite and rational way. I mean honestly who has that kind of patience. It all seems more unbelievable then the whole fact AI thing. However, despite this fact, I couldn't stop reading the series.

It truly is one of my favorite series of 2014/2015 and I think everyone should read it.