Thursday, December 26, 2019

COMIC BOOK REVIEW : Come Into Me (Black Mask)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 23, 2019

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Fools Wish by Shawn Kuruneru

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

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Alan Moore Tells You To Self-Publish and Why It Is Not A Solution

So this is a bit of a rant from me about the following article where io9 presents Alan Moore's speech about self-publishing as a solution to all the publisher rejection letters piling up on your desk, cramming your inbox and crushing your soul.

Of course this is all just my personal opinion but you already know that. While I think self-publishing can be really amazing, it's also really silly to expect that writers are going to get anything except debt (often times) out of self-publishing. The issue is that the vast majority of independent artists and writers have zero clue about how to market their books, get them seen, read, reviewed, shared, DISTRIBUTED. Not to mention that there are hurdles that make it impossible to get self-published books in stores,but that the internet has also become a hostile place for self promotion unless you're already successful in some way.

That whole saying about "if you build it, they will come" is not true about business and it not's true about spending loads of money and putting out a printed book yourself. Don't get me wrong, you still get into debt (run the risk of it) when you're picked up by a publisher but you also stand a much better chance of selling books with a publisher that has great distribution. And while I think Moore is right, if publishers are turning a blind eye to you, that maybe you should just publish something yourself (start digitally). I also think that MAYBE you should take a more critical look at your own work and maybe if EVERY publisher is rejecting you, maybe it is YOU. The timing isn't right for your book, maybe that bandwagon of post-apocalyptic YA books has passed. Maybe Vampires aren't in right now. Maybe your run-on sentences are making editors vomit.

I think this article is over-simplifying a very complicated process. Self-publishing is not easy, it's not really a solution. What it is, is an incredible difficult work-around in a hostile industry that is saturated with J.K Rowling wannabes and of course, actual amazing work that publishers just can't pick up RIGHT NOW. Yet this work-around of publishing your books yourself requires more than just finding a printing company or getting accepted by amazon's self publishing dept. It's about understanding the marketplace and MARKETING, understanding how to sell books (YOUR BOOKS not just any books), understanding that you need to be bashing the internet over the head with your work EVERYDAY, developing a community, finding a place in the community and understanding the most important thing- DISTRIBUTION.

I'm no expert, but these are things that I've seen people be successful at and most importantly, I've carefully noted the ways people fail at the self publishing gig. In the comic book world, I've seen previously-unknown authors gain notoriety because the author toured with their books like crazy, had small (numbered) runs which they didn't spend loads on in printing. They constantly posted on IG, Facebook, interacted with other industry creators, WERE FRIENDLY, did podcasts, made their own podcasts and honestly a lot of it did come down to "I met this person in the industry, we were friends, they liked my work and asked me to do stuff with a publisher they worked with ON A BOOK THEY WERE WRITING". Yes, comics in my meager, shitty opinion, looks to be very much about who you know like LOADS of other industries, or you know-getting a job at Tim Hortons.

Now after saying that I feel like I should tell everyone that the above statements do not mean that you should be beating other creators over the head with your work and FOR GODS SAKE, DO NOT go to conventions with the intention of hitting up every creator and publishing table with your books. That's seriously not cool. While some creators don't mind you dropping off things for consideration, it really is TERRIBLE form to go up to someone who's spent an awful lot for a table to sell their books and use their time to sell yourself. Most creators, yes probably some of your favorites who've gotten some level of decent success in the industry, don't actually make all that much money and they use their time at conventions to MAKE MONEY. They're not there to read your books and help you in the industry. You need to respect that. All too often I've seen this happen and it pisses me off because frankly it's rude and insulting. Especially since you probably didn't buy anything after taking up all their time.

There's not EASY way to get your work published. You can spend money on agents, spend money on printing really lovely books, you can do crowdfunding/kickstarters, and yes some people will be successful but it's not without incredible hard work and tireless effort. My only advice is to start learning as much as you can about publishing, about the industry online and in the brick and mortar retail world. Education and talent... That's all that can really help you if you're some schmuck like me living in nowhere's ville Canada. But unlike me, you'll need to get rid of that fear of failure cause that's what will ultimate leave you at a stalemate. I'm still struggling with that bit. Cheers and good luck! 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Frogcatchers by Jeff Lemire

Here's my video review and if you would rather just read my thoughts then please read the full review article below!

Get ready for a deeply personal and sentimental graphic novel when you pick up Jeff Lemire's latest book FROGCATCHERS. This book leads you on as a pictorial story and then abruptly changes into a journey that is not quite what you would expect. I knew absolutely nothing about Frogcatchers going into for my first read through. The book was sent to me by Simon and Schuster Canada and attached was a 1 page letter from Jeff Lemire about the books creation.  I saved this letter until after I read the book. Otherwise, how might I go into this book and thinking what exactly? I wanted to go into the book without any expectations, or as little as I could possibly control as we all know I am a fan of Lemire's past work. That being said I certainly haven't read EVERYTHING he's done. When I did read the letter included with the book I was surprised to read that Jeff feels FROGCATCHERS marks the beginning of a new stage of work for him as a cartoonist. I have to say I agree and I think Scott MacLeod would as well.

The story starts out with what you would expect given the title. It quickly departs into a surreal quest  the point of which is definitely lost on our main character. It's not too long before intrigue brings on nightmarish characters and the true reality of what is happening begins to be known to the reader. It all feels very mysterious for the larger part of the book.

So here's your spoiler warning: This is the story of a man's journey as he quite literally journey's within himself. We realize that our main character is actually a man dying in a hospital bed and everything he encounters appears to be a metaphor for obstacles and regrets from his life. At least that's my interpretation. What's interesting is that FROGCATCHERS manages to be a journey of reconcilliation within oneself rater than what you see of most soul searching type stories where often the focus is on religious and spiritual progression outside of ones own psyche. I really enjoy that this story refreshingly focuses on self reflection rather than forgiveness from a higher power for instance.

It's also interesting how the art changes throughout the book. Starting out as what feels very much like a sketchbook penciled comics, and truly even Lemire admits this how the book came together, that it poured out of him quickly. Color is reserved for end panels, everything feels extremely organic and fluid. This is the way you tell this type of story, with raw and simplistic organic mediums. With attention to what's happening in a panel and not overly detailed looking settings and characters.

Frogcatchers is one of the most touching, poignant and jarring stories. Through the main character, Jeff Lemire has crafted the perfect vessel for any reader to fit comfortably in. Through his eyes, the reader is forced to face the reality of our own mortality, and all the tribulations that go along with that such as the complexity of regret and the simplicity of mourning ones youth. This is the pen-ultimate of story telling, when you can slide into a character, and become that character without realizing it.

I've talked about this type of story telling in many other articles. The simplicity behind Lemire's character design is important for just how easily we can use that character as a representation of ourselves. His features and yes even the information we received about the character is generic enough to be the perfect vessel for any of us to inhabit to experience this story. Frogcatching itself, is a pretty relate-able childhood passtime and yes something I had spent hours and hours doing every summer with my sisters and a couple kids in the neighborhood. We had a great catch and release program.

You can get FROGCATCHERS right now on Amazon or from your local comic shop !

Monday, September 23, 2019

Something is Killing the Children #1

I feel as though SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN has been out long enough for me to be able to talk about it in detail. It was one of those books that was so hyped (with 5 printings after the initial run), that spoiling the story might get you stabbed or worse, doxed. Maybe I shouldn't joke about that but oddly, it isn't really a joke. I mean fandom has never been more dangerous... for creators and commentators.

SIKTC is written by the amazing James Tynion IV who's work has been celebrated throughout the industry. Not to be an elitist (cause I hate that shit) but if you're a big comic book fan, I'd be a little surprised to hear that you hadn't heard of him. However in case you haven't heard of him, he's best known for his work on Batman:Detective Comics. Artist on the series is Werther Dell’Edera who is no newbie either. You should check out their tumblr and I think you'll find some familiar images. 
Colorist Miquel Muerto brings Werther's illustration to life and defines the mood for the entire book.

The story opens with some kids playing Truth or Dare. It ends, you guess it, real bad. The whole story cuts to one of the children being interrogated by law enforcement. He's a suspect and of course the police do not believe his story. SOMETHING killed his friends. Ripped them apart. So far none of the characters seem that interesting but this is just the first few pages. It's when we're introduced to two young girls, one missing an arm, an eye and legs, moving around in a little red wagon... THAT is when things getting interesting and that's when you are hit over the head with what I like to refer to as expert character design. Honestly I dunno what else to call it. These characters look B-A-D-A-S-S (pictured on the right).

These brave and mangled girls are travelling around hunting whatever it is killing the kids. That is pretty much the mystery here. I like a concise story. So our characters meet each other and by the end of the issue they've decided to work together to go monster hunting. And... that's kind of it. It's a simple plot and the comic itself look pretty unique. I'm a big fan of this type of artwork that looks more pencil than ink. It actually manages to feel dreamy and creepy like much of the work of say.. Vanesa R Del Rey (Redlands, The Empty Man).

This book was sooo hyped to the point where my local comic shop employees were annoyed at how often it was requested and how irritating it was to try and order with it's 5 printings (and still being on back order). That's the main reason why I went digital. I didn't want to wait or go through the hassle. What motivates you to choose digital over paper? Is it simply the fact that comics don't really appreciate in value much anymore, or is it a physical space issue? Or maybe it's just the inconvenience perceived in trying to get the titles you want? Let me know how you feel about it and hey, let me know what you thought of SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN #1. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


"GLAAD Award-winning author James Tynion IV (The Woods, Justice League) and artist Werther Dell’Edera (Briggs Land) about a close-knit community rocked by a series of murders and the appearance of Erica Slaughter, the mysterious figure who rides into town claiming she can stop the brutal attacks turning their lives upside down."

Monday, September 16, 2019

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Midnight Vista #1 (Aftershock Comics)

Interesting cover, lets look inside... hmm okay... Not what I was expecting. How about you? I totally understand the regular practice of hiring a cover artist. I know you can't judge a book by it's cover. Really I do know this I just think that most of the time, yes you can in fact judge a book based on the cover and you probably should. That's what marketing is all about. Maybe I'm a little bit cutthroat. Anyway, this cover gave me the impression that something a lot more modern would be contained in the pages. That's not the artwork we got. Hey it's very lovely and skilled work. It just doesn't make any sense to me with the cover image.

But does any of that really make a book worth passing over? For me, ya again, it kinda does. I'm not a big fan of the interior art here. It's just not for me. It's a little dated looking for me. Particularly about 10 pages in. But did you see the cover of issue 2? Looks awesome! Well Juan Doe has a fuck ton of awesome cover art literally scattered all over the internet. And then, look up interior artist Clara Meath's work. There's a lot less which isn't anything really, but it does look distinctly different and feels just MILES different. Her artwork elsewhere feels really different than this book as well and I think that can be largely attributed to the colorist (no offense meant). I think the first few pages look alright and everything after is a disorganized mess color-wise.

Look at Clara Meaths other work. It feels more modern. Her cover image for her kickstarter book, the comic adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Conqueror Worm, it's gorgeous. I found an image of Liz Sherman she did, and one of Sarah from The Labyrinth also beautiful. This is one of those instances where I as an editor would have said "this just isn't the right colorist". But hey I'm not really an editor in that way, so...I guess my opinion isn't worth THAT much. It's just my opinion.

So where does that put me with this series? In short, not reading it. That sounds terrible and I'm usually really into almost everything I read. This was a big miss for me which is too bad because I really do feel there is a lot of talent here, it just really didn't come together for me. If you've been reading this blog for a while then you know how much I really love the books Aftershock Comics chooses to publish but this one was a miss I'm sorry to say.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Buffy Chosen Ones #1

CHOSEN ONES #1 is the stories never told about the first great slayers of history. Boom Studios is really trying to reinvent the Slayer universe. They've made this an extended issue and given it the price to match, $7.99 USD. I was hoping such price tags might be a thing of the past but I guess Boom has the same idea Marvel has...ANYWAY... Ever wonder how the Hellmouth ever started in Sunnydale? Was it just a natural doorway or did someone create it? Well Hellmouths are the topic of the first story.

The first story titled The Mission takes us a ways back in history when the Spaniards crossed the seas and enslaved the native peoples of the Americas. It's in this story that we meet a Slayer who's been killing Spaniards which also just happen to mostly be vampires. Some Spaniards have crossed the sea and they're from The Watchers Council of course. Perez is the watcher sent to wait for the next chosen one. The two aren't getting along... and for good reason.

By Ornella Sacarese from The Mission
It stands to reason in a world filled with vampires that the Spaniards would bring more than small pox with them when they invaded the shores of the Americas. Artwork wise there are some interesting action panels. I was particularly fond of this jump shot. Definitely check out the work of Ornella Sacarese.

The artwork between the two series couldn't be more different. Coloring on top of that included. The second story takes place in 14th century Bologna illustrated by Celia Lowenthal. Her character design has a real Tilly Walden feel to them. The story is entitled THE EATING OF MEN. I do really like that title and I do happen to be a fan of the artwork.
By Celia Lowenthal from The Eating of Men

I'm not really sold on how the vampires behave in these stories. They have way too much humanity for the vampires of the Buffy universe. They still care about certain things and people and that just doesn't hold up. You can make that silly argument that Spike fell in love with Buffy but that's not really it. Spike was soulless and therefore just in lust after Buffy which is  why he also tried to rape her in season 6. It's season 7 when he gets his soul back that he's actually REALLY in love with Buffy. Just thought I should clarify that. But there's some points in these stories where the vampires, like I said, display some signs of unexplained humanity.

By Alexa Sharpe from Behind the Mask
The Third story BEHIND THE MASK, takes place in Paris in 1820 and beautifully illustrated. Definitely check out the work of Alexa Sharpe. Some really gorgeous work. The final story lacks mostly in story. It's a beautiful, if not quick look at a slayer in 18th Century Paris.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER:CHOSEN ONES #1 is available in stores now. It actually came out LAST WEEK and it took me a little time to get to. Hey, when you have THIS MANY comics to read, sometimes you just don't get to everything right away. I thought I would just go on with the coverage of the new Buffy series though so you all know what you're getting into.

Monday, September 2, 2019

COFFIN BOUND #1 Video Review

I thought I'd turn some of my articles into Youtube videos for those who prefer video format and this way, I have the opportunity to add a little bit of artwork to the video too! As the article I wrote was an advanced review, I couldn't include any artwork so I've added a few pages into this video for your viewing pleasure. Hope you like it. My dog jumped into the video too so you get a chance to see the dog I adopted a couple weeks ago. He's my bestie. 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Mountainhead #1 (IDW)

MOUNTAINHEAD #1 was just released by IDW. The story hinges on young Abraham Stubbs who's living on the run, breaking into houses with his paranoid father Noah. He's convinced that the government will come take him away, and he will be punished for his non-conformity. Why did I decide to read this comic? I liked the cover.

This comic is written by John Lees who's work I'm familiar with. I read And Then Emily Was Gone some time ago. I can't say I'm as familiar with the work of Ryan Lees who, I dunno, is maybe related to John? But Ryan has worked for Valiant and Marvel in the past.

So SPOILER WARNING. Just a couple pages in Abraham and his father are apprehended and the police tell Abraham that in fact, he's not Noah's son. Noah stole him from a house over a decade ago. They located his parents using DNA match and well, shipped him right off back to the biological parents. I'm really good at suspended disbelief. I am really good at ignoring reality. That's why I read to begin with but there were a few things that just seemed silly and nonsensical. Beyond the quick DNA match and located parents, it was the way the news was just given to the kid and he's just dumped in this new family home without any tools to deal with the whole business. The parents apparently were also not prepared as the mother doesn't exactly say the right things to the boy.

I mean, I feel like she should expect him to be out of sorts and instead she throws the reality that he clearly hasn't fully dealt with, right in his face. Not exactly sensitive Mom.

As far as the art is concerned, I can't say that I'm a big fan of the character design but there are some really fantastic scenic panels. I particularly like the way the mountains are illustrated. Yet a lot of the comic promotes a very grotesque atmosphere. This really does set the tone for how our young protagonist Abraham feels about his surroundings. Further to this, he's often caught picturing monsters in the shadows around him. A decade of learning from a paranoid man like Noah will do that I suppose and children are highly suggestible of course.

This comic is classified by IDW as a psychological thriller horror story and that seems fairly accurate. The supernatural looking figures do appear to Abraham's mind playing tricks on him rather than some evil doom coming from a hell dimension. It's unclear to me right now as to whether this story is about a traumatized child adjusting to a normal life with a normal loving family, or if there is a whole other plot about to hit. Abraham's family lives in a remote mountainous area of British Columbia and right before issue #1 ends, a half naked local stumbles out of the woods mysteriously injured and incomprehensible. So just what is going on?? I honestly can't say. All we're sure of is that Abraham has no intention of settling into his new home.

MOUNTAINHEAD is a 5 issue series and you can expect issue 2 to be out in late September.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Comics I'm Currently Reading August Edition

Hey I'm back on the Youtube train and I've filmed a bunch of videos today with this leading the rest. I've decided it's much easier to film a whole bunch at once so I think you'll eventually get sick of seeing me in the same shirt. AH WELL.

Here I talk about some of the series I've been into, plus graphic novels and more! What are you currently reading?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Angel #1 - 3 (2019)

I honestly didn't read a whole lot of the original Angel comics. I was the biggest most bestest, most knowledgeable Buffy and Angel television show fan though.  Needless to say, as a fan of the shows, most of the comics paled in comparison. Whedon seemed to go a little off his rocker in terms of doing whatever he wanted. Things that would have been impossible on screen due to budget and ridiculousness... So the comics often were just that, ridiculous. A lot of the writers weren't terrific and I often disliked the artwork. I did enjoy some of the characters in the Spike comics however. My friend gave me the omnibus one year for my birthday.

Now that I've said a lot of negative shit, let me just tell you I didn't have high hopes for the new series  based on the past but I was willing to read them. I am happy to report that the artwork  is really good. Gleb Melnikov has brought ANGEL to life in a whole new way for me. I mean look at this. It's beautiful and brutal, not to mention a little bit metal. I've got a thick and sludgy doom metal thrumming through my head just looking at it. 

Gleb had previously worked with Boom Studios illustrating 6 issues of Saban's Go Go PowerRangers. He's also done some work for DC on the title Shazam. Check out his Art Station account to see more.

Alright so I like the art but there's a bit of the story I'm not so sweet on. It has to do with a chronic complaint about youth today that you might be sick of hearing: they're vapid, out of touch empties, obsessed with selfies and how the world reacts to them. Their self worth only measured in digital hearts and thumbs up icons. We've seen all the articles and complaints about what social media is doing to youth today. This story is centered in that. 

Frankly, I am a little tired of this narrative already. I didn't grow up with social media. I'm 36 and graduated in 2001. One of the last few graduating classes to make it out without Myspace. 'Course I got a Myspace account shortly after and had ICQ and AOL in high school but my childhood was internet free till my mid teen years. So I got to sit through all the fear mongering about social media from the beginning. Watch parents blame everything in the world but themselves for how their kids turned out and of course, video games.

So this isn't my favorite story. The big bad in this arc is a demon who feeds off the insecurities of youth. Tells them their beautiful, sucks them in and then sucks them dry. I do however enjoy the flashback scenes. The panels look so cool and I'm curious about what it all means for Angel. Perhaps a deeper, ongoing story. There is a bit of confusion for me also on where this Angel story takes place in the greatest timeline. It seems that it's a prequel because a being explains to Angel that Fred (who in this story is a crazy person in an insane asylum) will be an important friend. Alluding to the fact that they haven't met yet.

Okay, so why is Fred in an insane asylum? She was insane after getting back from another dimension run by demons, which Angel helps her get out of... But Fred was a physicist and NOT crazy pre-interdimensional travel. She was a  genius. So are we to toss out canon here?

So what is a Buffy Angel can to think? I feel all stories must be centered around history established in the television show for me to enjoy them here and if you  want to wipe that slate clean, you better have a damn interesting way to do it other than "this is an alternate reality/dimension/something that let's this story and the pre-established canon exist". Cause seriously, we've had enough of that, thank you Big Two. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Sea of Stars #1 & 2

I liked the cover, what can I say? That's the only reason I decided to read SEA OF STARS. That and the fact that it's a science fiction story. I figured this was an all ages series but Image Comics tells me that this is in fact, rated T for Teen. There's some implied profanity, meaning characters will start to swear only to be cut-off by events or other characters speaking. The violence is minimal and not gory so... I sort of feel like T for Teen is a little extreme. Or maybe it's the content to come that forced the rating?

So you're probably wondering what this story is all about then? It's like Lost in Space with space magic. I mean 2 issues in it sure seems to be about space magic. I like the whole concept of space magic, in fact I kinda like saying it ~ space magic. Sound pretty cool right? How come there aren't more stories about space magic? I mean Star Wars was kind of about space magic (take another drink, this article is not intended for all audiences) but then they explained the force with the whole midichlorians thing. I really prefer space magic. In fact, if there isn't space magic in this story, I'm going to stop reading it. That's how passionate I am about space magic.  

So anyway this kid Kadyn, who's dad (Gill) drives an intergalactic space rig, is ferrying some museum pieces to a new location which is both not important and something I can't remember. Wouldn't you know it, their path is intercepted by a space beast and their ship is torn asunder. The two are separated turning Kadyn into a child is lost. Gill expends all his energy trying to find him and Kadyn seems to have found some SPACE MAGIC (how many drinks is that?). He also found some cute little space creatures who are more or less there for comic relief except, they're not very funny to me. Maybe it's more teen humor? Going back to the rating thing, seriously how uptight ARE parents these days? Why wouldn't you let a 10 year old read this comic? These creatures are so cute. They do say very cutesy things like "just to be clear, we're still going to eat it right?" as they refer to Kadyn who had apparently ZERO fear of the beasts (maybe cause they're cute). 

It's here where I gotta say that the artwork, and that includes the beautiful coloring job, is an absolutely perfect match for this story. This lighthearted adventure is full of colorful panels with rich blues and purples. It really does earn its title Sea of Stars in more than one way. Not just with the space whales and quarksharks but Kadyn's new found ability to "swim" through space in a broken space suit unharmed but the colors! They do make one think of the ocean.

 The big mystery of this story is regarding this magical power Kardyn accidentally picked up. Being able to fly through open space unprotected isn't really normal for a human child. I won't spoil it for you, you'll just have to read the book but I do feel that this space magic (final drink) adventure is suitable for children 10 and up. Maybe some wiggle room in there if you're not a particularly uptight parent.

SEA OF STARS is a beautiful  comic book so add some space magic to your pull list this month.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

DIE: The Series to Date

As I've been pretty under the weather and useless in terms of getting out of the house and doing anything, I've been catching up on my reading. Gotta make the best of a boring situation. Actually that's not entirely true, I'm never bored. Anyway, this means I've caught up on a lot of comic book series. I'm always reading but right now I'm literally plowing through a sea of series. many of which I meant to read in the last 6 months. There's seriously just so much coming out that sometimes a busy comic book promoter just can't keep up.

Yesterday I got caught up on DIE. Vol # 1 which came out back in June. Yes I know how awful you I think I am for not taking the time to read this until now. Well I'm going to be honest, I've never been a real big fan of Kieron Gillen (unlike the rest of the comic book world). My dislike started back when I first read Phonogram. That entire book left a really awful flavor in my mouth because well, it felt so dishonest. It wasn't anything like my experience as a female musician in the music industry. Yes I know, let's throw the magic stuff out of the equation but the idea that women have ANY power in music was just ridiculous to me. And so I guess you know that I didn't stick with reading The Wicked + The Divine either.

Yet this article isn't about those books and I am choosing to look at DIE without involving all my feelings of prior stories Gillen has written. I'm even willing to bet that I'm the ONLY person who took those stories that way. Sidenote: I've written articles on them and I believe they've been published on my website as well as elsewhere but I can't recall for certain anymore.

So what did I think of DIE? I.....*drumroll* .... didn't hate it. I actually found it pretty fun. As someone who played an awful lot of pencil and paper RPG games without all the fancy figurines (and just desperately always wanted to be the Glitterboy character in every game of RIFTS, to the ire of every DM), the story brought me back to fun games with friends. Of course in this story, the friends are sucked into another dimension where a game master literally controls the world and the lives of everyone in it INCLUDING the players. My RPG games never went that way, much to my great sadness.

So all the main characters go over to their friend Solomon's house for a game and he presents them with these special dice (sorry die) and they all get sucked into this world. They're gone for 2 years. Only 5 of the group return while their friend Solomon remains trapped in the world. They don't know much about the world in terms of whether it's real, if all the people who populate it are also people stolen from Earth or if it's some fantasy realm that has no real impact on anyone besides them. They do have crazy awesome powers and new bodies.

Our storyteller and main character Ash is actually a dude on Earth. This awesome blonde, viking-metal-looking fellow created a bombshell female character which is who he gets to be when he's plunged unknowingly into this other realm. Trapped for all time. Well as I said, they do get out after 2 years. The details of that harrowing story are slipped to you through Vol 1. Of course the 5 are plunged back into the realm against their will once again. I guess a story based solely on what happens after the adventure, isn't much of an adventure (although I would read that story...hmmm maybe I already have).

There is some fun playing around with Ash. I mean as a character who's gender changes (not exactly at will of course), the possibilities are endless and I'm having flashbacks to Ranma 1/2. Of course this story is NOTHING like Ranma. There is a lot of drama that can't be settled with creative dueling and the characters actually get mortally wounded... or die.

So here we are 6 issues in. I'm starting to get a decent idea of who these characters are and there's a lot of drama and action happening at the same time. I mean this is what one needs in their escapism isn't it? I'm interested in how these guys are gonna get themselves out of the realm this time, I do want to know more about the realm itself. Is it a distant planet, universe, or an actual Jumanji board? Well what is it? That kind of curiosity is what kept me watching LOST long after I should have given up. So I can only hope that Gillen intends to slip us the good stuff we want and not merely use the smoke monster to entice us into 6 seasons of story without a satisfying explanation.

There is a real good catch of course to explain why the band of 5 cannot simply leave the realm the same way they had last time. The trouble is, they all have to agree to leave and that, they don't. In fact a couple actually prefer the weird DIE universe and why not? Super powers, dragons, beautiful elves, magic and as heroes they have hotties constantly throwing themselves at them, not to mention an endless supply of beer. I mean, I'm down for all that. So how do they get out of this one? And how much time will pass in the real world? You'll have to read to find out.

DIE is an ongoing series according to Image and with the success of Gillen's past series, I think we can except to be in this one for the long haul. If you're looking for a new on-going series and just can't take the heartbreak of another cancelled Image supposed ongoing, I think you've got a safe bet with DIE. Add it to your pull list and expect things to get... a little dark I wager.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Coffin Bound #1 (Advanced Review)

I guess it's been a while since I've actually sat down and written an article about a comic rather than a video script. Let's try and get back in the habit shall we?

Lately I've been all over the various genres. Trying hard to keep up with my favorites and the never ending potential I see coming out every month. There really are so many great comics coming out these days and are people even talking about them? I'm really not sure they are. I will once again make an effort to write a separate article for each one. I wish I felt comfortable just throwing out any old article into the wilds of the internet. I do not. I always want to re-read and fix every sentence and I'm trying to let go of that because simply, nothing gets produced.

So today I read Coffin Bound #1. You can get your copy this week, August 7th no less at a comic book shop near you. I received an advanced copy from Image Comics and opened it up to be both stunned and intrigued by the artwork. Gothic and edgy, that's right up my alley. Throw some supernatural oddities in there and you've pretty much got the blueprint for a Frog Queen Favorite (which by the way I've been childishly hashtagging all over Instagram).

Coffin Bound is written by Dan Watters, London-based writer who's written some DC and vertigo titles like LUCIFER, HOUSE OF WHISPERS. Currently he's writing LIMBO with Image and DEEP ROOTS for the ever ambitious Vault Comics. He's got an active Twitter page you should follow because someone so busy writing should have more followers.

The artwork in Coffin Bound which makes my heart pound (rhyme unintentional but completely invited) is by an artist only known as DaNi who I'm sad to say I don't know more about. She has an active Facebook page and worked on titles for DC such as THE DREAMING. I suggest following her on Instagram as well for updates and artwork. She's auto-fallen into my list of favorite artists of 2019.

Okay let's move on from the gossip and take a look at this grotesquely brilliant piece of work. I dunno what I like more, honestly, the pencils of the colors, which by the way were done by colorist Brad Simpson who is left off the side credit of Image Comic page but written about in the books bio (weird). Regardless each page feels like a frame-able piece for my wall. If this wasn't an advanced review, I would be sharing panels left, right and center. You're just going to have to run out and grab a copy Wednesday to check it out.

I'm not sure how to describe this story. Izzy Tyburn is our gorgeous 90s trash goddess. She can handle herself and you get the feeling right away that she's deadly. From the get-go she's in deep shit with some baddies hot on her trail but receiving help (if you can call it that?) from a bizarre humanoid vulture character. I think I was taken in by the comic right then. I mean, there wasn't much chance of it doing anything wrong and then it threw in some horror strippers and sealed the deal on my opinion. Outrageous fun. The whole thing does feel very Grindhouse but Grindhouse type film based in the Hellblazer universe.

I have to say I really like the old English used in the story. The characters are bizarre and interesting although I really wish this was an extended issue so I could get to know them a bit better. There is this terrifying character known as the Eartheater. What a fantastic name and he has wonderful, sort of romantic figures of speech for what he does, which is essentially murder. Like "I, Psychopomp, sew the Earth. Reuniter of man and mud." Isn't that lovely?  I guess he's a sort of supernatural bounty hunter.

There's a lot going on and unfortunately I didn't get a real strong sense of what that is in the first issue. It's my only real complaint. I think it's all brilliant and highly engaging but I would have liked a few more pages in the first issue. I do feel (and I've said this often), that many stories just shouldn't be serialized and rather make better OGN releases. I'm not saying that Coffin Bound fits in this category but I think my meager brain needs a little bit more info in an initial issue. I want to get a really clear cut sense of what's going on and who the characters are. Mystery is paramount! My brain must wonder what will happen. I just don't really understand the motivations of any of the characters besides Izzy and Vulture and that's sort of annoying to me. Of course it should be clear in upcoming issues but it is an important asset for me as a reader in determining whether I continue to read. I want to be enthralled by mystery but not lost on the plot.

Okay I think that's enough from me. I am excited to see where this goes. I will likely cover this in a video after it's debut so I can share the art but until then, add this one to your list. I feel this one needs to really be talked about. I think it's going to be too much fun.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Why You Should Read MONSTRESS (Image Comics) Epic Fantasy

Hey All! I have decided to change up my video format a little bit and instead of simply talking about a comic, I decided I should make the argument for why you should read something (or not read something) rather than making a list of pros and cons on a book. This is an in depth look at the Monstress Comic Book Series with few spoilers.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Game of Thrones the Final Episode: My Thoughts

Hey Comic Book Junkies, it's The Frog Queen here and today I'm doing something a little different. I was asked to give record my thoughts on the Comic News Insider Podcast about the final episode of Game of Thrones and since I did that, I thought I would do an extended version of my thoughts in a video for Youtube. But if you don't like videos, here's my thoughts all typed up:

My initial thoughts, I can only hope that Martin finishes his planned books so I can erase the memory of this season with the actual story, written beautifully as it was intended.

I think it’s important for me to explain that I’m not upset at the ending of the story but rather it’s pitiful execution. I can of course accept that Danny was certainly meant to follow in her father's footsteps as a mad queen tyrant but as we’ve all seen greatly criticized, the writers of the show did not properly lead up to this with subtle character changes in decisions, motivations, etc. They simply decided to make her crazed overnight. I would have liked to see her insanity creep in, sneak up on her, and see more of her own personal views on the world and her own ego become twisted. I know we will get this in the books if they ever manage to be released before my own death.

The other issue I had with Danny herself was her continued sexual advances on Jon after they both learn of their biological relation. They keep showing Danny repeatedly coming on to John and him rejecting which I guess this is the one thing to show that she’s unhinged and he’s sane….? WEAK.

The ultimate criticism for me though is the Deaths of great characters. The death scenes are anticlimactic, soft and unemotional, lacking the impact that these characters are due. You need to provide the prolific characters with the appropriate significance they deserve. 

There’s been so much criticism for why this season was rushed, and the reason is pretty clear to everyone. The Disney money offered to the writers/creative team was simply more important to them. So once again, money over fans ... I suppose we could blame Disney over greed but greed appears to be the ultimate culprit as usual. It’s helped aid the downfall of many a television show and film. Which brings me to the question which comes up very often in fandom, do creatives with such a large fanbase actually owe anything to their fans? In the comic book world I’ve always said no. I think to a certain extent this is true but when you have such a large audience and great influential platform, I think there is a responsibility to do your best. I think we can safely say that the creators here did indeed NOT do their best.

Despite the rush job which I think is one opinion all fans can agree with, there were some very beautiful cinematic moments in the final episode. Two of note would be the first scene of the episode with Daenerys as she walks out towards John Snow with Drogo spreading his wings in the background behind her. The scene transforms Danny into the angel of death she has become with the great black wings. The second great moment is in my opinion, the ending with all the wildlings walking back into the forest beyond the wall. We see their backs as they disappear into the forest. I half expected some cheesy whispering threat of white walkers so I’m thankful that didn’t happen.

Tying up loose ends - If my mind wanders back to film and television that has done the task of tying up all the loose ends of a story (or as many as they could manage), I always think of the Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings and how he was heavily criticized for not ending the film at what many people thought was it’s natural conclusion. I think there’s a deep wanting from an audience for the conclusion of their favorite characters yet, when we are actually given that conclusion, we are rarely happy with it. It’s so effective and satisfying in books but it almost never works in film. In fact, I can only think of one ultimate ending that I think wrapped up all characters epicly on screen, and that was SIX FEET UNDER. Such a great emotional ending. I actually cried and I pretty much never cry to film. This all makes me think that Perhaps it’s the guessing and wanting of our characters conclusions that ultimately truly holds up.

So I really don’t feel like I have much to say. There’s so much that others have said already, that will be said that I don’t feel like I need to go into HUGE detail on this. This season was ultimately a blip for me and it doesn’t erase the good seasons for me. It also doesn’t marr the books for me at all. I’m just anxious for them to come out and take me on a real adventure. But what are your thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think about the last episode or any of the episodes. What were you favorite moments from the series? What was the ending you wanted? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. And until next time, as usual, read something good!

Also Check out COMIC NEWS INSIDER which is a great comic book related podcast which I've been a guest on a few times included this past episode that just went up on Monday:

Thursday, May 16, 2019

A Critical Look: The Forever War (Titan Comics Release)

This is less of a review and more of a short critical look at THE FOREVER WAR graphic novel from 1988 recently released by Titan Comics. As mentioned in the video you should check out Brandon Graham and Farel Dalrymple's A HUNDRED YEARS Podcast:

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Comic Book Review: UNNATURAL (Image Comics) & New Manga!

Hello comic book junkies! It's me the frog queen and I'm back with another comic book review. Today I wanted to talk about the trade edition of UNNATURAL Vol1 : Awakening Trade paper back.

When I got the initial press release from Image comics about this series, I really didn't know what to make of it. I skimmed the information presented and took a quick look at the artwork. It was bright and but I rarely have interest in anthropomorphic books which is kinda weird since one of my favorite movies of all time is rock and rule but the time I dismissed the series as something that looked pretty but probably wouldn't  be for me. That was of course until I got a review copy of the trade and decided I would go for a binge. I couldn't put it down. It was that good!

What's the story about ??? Well the focus is on a pretty pig names Leslie Blair who's been having erotic dreams about a big bad white wolf. The problem?? It's against the law to mate with animals of another species (or of the same sex). Leslie tries to follow the rules and date within her species but something keeps feeling wrong about it and she can't shake the deep feelings she has for her mysterious white dream wolf. If I tell you any more than that I will surely spoil the entire plot but you won't be able to predict exactly where this story will take you and that's half the fun. 

The artwork can only be described as beautiful. It feels glossy and ethereal with loads of interesting angels in each panel which really makes you feel as though you are spying on someone rather than simply watching a story unfold. There's an intimacy imparted to the reader through these angles. I almost felt almost as if I was intruding as I accompanied Leslie silently on her first date in the story.

Check out the video above for my final thoughts AND to hear about the manga I'm currently reading including a new book from BLACK HOOK PRESS! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Comics I'm Currently Reading January Edition!

Hey! Here's a big life update and of course what I'm currently reading in the world of comics (mostly creator owned comics from AfterShock, Black Mask Studios and of course Image Comics).