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.