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 ?


Rich:
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

Golem

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: http://www.magnetic-press.com/golem/ 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!