Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Angel Sanctuary Vol 1 & 2 by Kaori Yuki

Back in my teenage years, I saw this really poorly cut OVA called Angel Sanctuary. Although it was clear it was meant to exist as a series and not a cut together movie, I was taken with it anyway. Back then I loved mythology and especially anything to with the book of Enoch and the hierarchy of heaven and hell. I knew about the manga but back then, in rural Nova Scotia before internet shopping was a big thing, there was virtually no way of getting these books. Recently however I found volume 3 in a bargain bin of random manga at Monster Comics Lounge and of course sparks flew in my brain. I immediately ordered the first two volumes online. I intend to order the entire series.

Anyway, as suspected the manga has all the details the original OVA did not. This story makes a lot more sense. So here's the run-down : Satsuna Modo is a normal highschool kid except he finds out that he's actually the reincarnated soul of Angel Alexiel. Alexiel and he twin brother Rosiel got in this huge war eons ago and both were trapped in a sort of stasis until recently due to some meddling underworlders and low ranking Angels. The war is back on but Alexiel's conscious hasn't completely awoken in Satsuna's body. But Satsuna has problems of his own. He's in love with his sister Sarah. Twisted right? Don't you love manga. I feel like I'm back in a VC Andrews book, but it's way better.

The thing about Angel Sanctuary, on top of the diverse characters, is just how beautiful it is. It's sooo pretty. When I was a teenager, I use to think Clamp was the epitome of pretty manga until I saw Angel Sanctuary pictures online. I suspect that all my follow-up posts will be fan-girl gushing over characters as if they are real. I rarely do this... I will be doing this with Angel Sanctuary. Warning, I will be all gushy and annoying from here on in when talking about this series. I love Rosiel. He's so insane, vapid and lusty. The opposite of an Angel. He's practically the devil himself. He'll stop at nothing until he either wins his twin sister back at his side or destroys her utterly. Yeay!! I love a good renegade!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Blood Blokes: The first 3 issues

I was super happy when I got an email from Adam Cadwell yesterday, sending me a dropbox of the complete catalog from Great Beast Comics. They are a UK independent comic book publisher backing a lot of great stuff. I had first read about them in OffLife Magazine. I didn't know what to read first when I opened the dropbox file. I was familiar with the stories but hadn't read an entire issue or novel. I was familiar with the artist due to OffLife. I decided I would just start in alphabetical order, with Adam Cadwell's own vampire comedy Blood Blokes.  

At first, you don't know what kind of vampire story you're getting into with Blood Blokes, but the title suggest it can't be a complete drama. Issue 1 follows the our newest inductee to the undead, before he becomes undead. Vince is an average guy, not too interested in pursuing a career, university drop-out and soon to be single guy who finds himself in the wrong alley way with a vampire bat.

In issue 2 the Blood Blokes actually locate Vince at a humorous scene of tea for cadavers at their local mortuary (I will say no more, you must read it to understand). They drag his unconscious body back to their Manchester apartment and well, the rest I'll leave for you to read.

Blood Blokes is intended to be a 6 part mini series. Issue 3 leaving on a cliff-type-hang-ey note. God I hate that/love that. It will annoy me to no end until issue 4 is released.

These stories are done entirely in black and white which most of you know happens to be one of my favorite ways of reading comics. All my favorite comics are either in black and white and 3 tones.. well with a couple minor exceptions. Although backgrounds aren't sprawling and detailed, the expressive faces of the characters pull you in. I feel like it's so difficult to draw expressive faces on characters. It's one of the largest mistakes I see in comics today - artists unable to capture the correct emotions in the faces of their characters. This story does not suffer from this problem at all. Quite the contrary. In addition, I laughed out loud a few times which confused my boyfriend because I'm not known to do that all too often. Maybe when I'm reading Yotsuba....

All in all, I am very excited to read on. It's well worth the purchase. I hear a rumor that issue 4 is being released in the not so distant future. You can get your copies of Blood Blokes through retailers like Comixology and Sequential or check out 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lucifer : Book 1 & 2

From the pages of Sandman came Lucifer, a 75 issue series (along with one mini-series) written by Mike Carey. Recently, Vertigo Comics began releasing the series in a new compendium format of trade paperbacks, the first of which collects the first 13 issues of the series plus the 3-issue mini series The Sandman Presents: Lucifer. The volume also includes a forward written by Gaiman himself along with a new introduction from Carey.

I read the original Sandman series years back and have since wanted to go about reading all the side-stories and spin-offs. I was going to start with Death, but I started with Lucifer given the release of new volumes. I got addicted. I got addicted quickly. There are multiple artists that worked on the Lucifer series during the 75 issue run but the most re-occurring being Peter Gross and Ryan Kelly. With Book 3 only recently released, the entire compendium has yet to be printed. I just ordered book 3 from Indigo last week. Vertigo seems to be doing these larger trade paper compendium collections of many series. I noticed Preacher and Hellblazer both released this way. Unfortunately that means my Hellblazer collection will be a bit wonky. BIG SIGH.

Some jerk at one of the local comic book stores gave me hell last week for picking up Saga and Hellblazer, stating that it was an odd selection. As if I couldn't possibly enjoy both series. *eye roll* I fucking hate most comic book store employees with the exception of a few people at select local stores. Yet most of the time, the employees are complete assholes who are unhelpful and can't keep their shitty opinions on my selections to themselves. As you can see, there's a reason I still order books online and do not shop exclusively at local stores. I love supporting local but not when a) they rarely have the things I want and b) they're completely unaccommodating and rude when you actually attempt to buy something.

Anyway... very excited to get Book 3 this week in the mail! Also, it's currently 40% off on indigo online. ;) Tips.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Q&A with Alison Sampson on Genesis

I got to speak a little with Alison Sampson regarding the artwork in Genesis, her latest release with Image Comics. I was so in love with the artwork I just had to reach her. 

The Frog Queen : I absolutely fell in love with the artwork in Genesis. It is so whimsical and full of movement. I really do feel like the images move on the page and no, I certainly was not on any drugs. What was your inspiration for the artwork? How did you begin to sculpt Adam’s world? 

Alison : Thank you for picking up on the movement. That was a very strong intention. It is quite hard to carry through when there are several people (me, Jason, Jon, and latterly Nathan when he reviewed dialogue) working on the page, so I'm glad it comes across. The inspiration really comes from an idea about transformation, that the world can shift if I use composition in a certain way. It is what you picked up on. I worked as a perspective artist when I was much younger, and I have views on the value of so called "accurate" perspective. Such a projection is static. That is not how people see, except for at a single split second, so I wanted to do a bit more with the art.

I don't tend to be influenced by comics, as I have come to them too late in my 'art-life', but architecture and design work is a lot to do with composition. Much of what I am trying to achieve just comes from looking at the page. You look at it and put your pencil down in the right place and that is it. I can't hold this world in my head, it has to be made on the paper.

If I have to mention other artists in connection with this, it is more on specific page basis: Lebbeus Woods, Glyn Dillon, Tony Salmons, Nicolas Delort, Konstantin Novosadov. The cover is David Mazzuchelli (Batman Year One). I also reference the work of the architects Eero Saarinen, Sim Bruce Richards, the landscapes of the US west coast and the Case Study Houses, Jock's studio, Brandon Graham's whale, Sarah Horrocks' ostrich, Austin Wilson's sock, Matt Southworth's lighthouse, the Victorian and Twentieth Century children's books of my childhood and a whole load of other places and things.

The Frog Queen : When Adam’s wife begins to change due to his own imaginings, the contorted monster she eventually changes into disturbed me. I read a lot of Junji Ito which is full of body gore. Normal people contorted into hideous beings. I started getting flashbacks to John Carpenters "The Thing" when I read this part. What was your inspiration for that depicting that scene in such a way? It's disturbing but not gratuitous. 

Alison : I was very keen for a lot of body horror in this book and what actually happened was I had to tone my aspirations down, as the narrative moves so fast. I felt the best way was to show the transformation gradually, so it would be more traumatic, and it would be clearly explained. She loses her hair, too, which is a very upsetting thing for a woman.

There is a specific (though not explicit) reference for this page, a sequence by James Harren (that I can't find a copy of, otherwise I would post it here) with some quite specific body language against a background of trees. I felt this was so sad, and when we colored it our work, I gave the same BPRD page reference to Jason. On the following page, I had little space, so the layout has to work as piece, showing Adam's distress in an expressionistic way, as well as showing the transformation result. She's already shifting out of our attention as he tries to block her out, but it won't be for long.

The Frog Queen: In an interview with CBR you told them that you try to make the page beautiful even when things are going wrong. The destruction in the book is beautiful. With the wrong artist, this book could have been an outright horror. Was it difficult to make this world beautiful with all the chaos written in it? 

Alison : It isn't hard to make something beautiful if that is what you want to do. Something like this demands a very specific compositional approach, the kind of thing you see in the work of artists like Lebbeus Woods, who in the 1990's was depicting the horrors of war. I also had to make the architecture quite didactic, to help us on our way. Jason's colors worked very well to convey the mood, here, too. To some extent there is a kind of romance in dystopia, that someone can find a better way in amongst the ruins. That isn't what I wanted to show. This is the recession of hope, shown by showing less hope, *not* more destruction.

The Frog Queen: One last question, I like to ask all artists as of late, which artist or artists do you admire most?

Alison : The most? That's hard. Today, in this half-an-hour, it is Rob Davis, for his imagination, and professionalism, and for encouraging everyone, for making me laugh out loud on the train when I read (the nominated-for-two-Eisners) Don Quixote, and for the Motherless Oven (which makes me wonder), and for showing the rest of us how it can be done.

To see more of Alison Sampson's work please visit her Tumblr: 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Genesis by Nathan Edmundson & Alison Sampson

Writer Nathan Edmundson
Artist Alison Sampson

Adam is involved in a terrible accident which leaves him with the ability to manifest his thoughts into form. Whatever Adam thinks WILL happen. His world changes with the slightest passing thought. People clamber over themselves to visit the man who ended world hunger, but not everything is a blessing. Not every thought is positive.

Genesis was released this month as a one-shot deal with Image Comics. Artist Alison Sampson's work is full of whimsy and movement. The images practically move about the page. The 65 page book feels like a dream. The illustrations remain beautiful throughout, despite the destruction of Adam's world. I was luck enough to chat with Alison Sampson yesterday and I hope to have some feedback on a few questions so please stay tuned for that! I personally, only picked this book up because of the artwork. I didn't care what the story was about. The artwork spoke to me. I wish that happened more often. It called to me like the work of Paul Pope or Nicolas Nemiri. I had to get it.

For $6.99 this trade paper can be yours and at this price, it's a steal.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Q&A with Jeremy Holt & Tim Daniel on Skinned Issue #1

Last week Skinned #1 was released on Monkeybrain Comics and after reading my copy, I of course had a few questions. Lucky me, writers Jeremy Holt and Tim Daniel had answers for me. Here's how our little Q&A about the comic went: 

The Frog Queen : How did you all come up with the ideas behind Skinned?

TD: The idea first started forming up in 2010 as something far more sinister and mainly influenced by Phillip K. Dick’s, Scanner Darkly, but didn’t really crystalize until Ernest Cline published his totally rad novel, Ready Player One. If readers are not familiar with his sci-fi gaming novel, then get right to it. In a nutshell, Ready Player One involves an immersive virtual reality technology that allows users to inhabit a world chock full of pop-culture touchstones mainly from the 1980’s – particularly early gaming console games of that era. Skinned takes that notion one step further and brings the virtual to reality.

I’m also inexplicably preoccupied with the constructs of Disney “Princess” films -- how the heroine is typically depicted and how science fiction has been virtually shunned in those stories…

JH: What Tim said. I was a late addition to the project. I will say that his original pitch to me was much more streamlined and I was immediately sold on the concept of the Occup-Eye/Iris system. He let me wrestle with the idea a bit, and I ended up pitching him the idea of Buoy as a computer hacker, which I thought complimented everything Tim had already established with the story.

The Frog Queen : How did you all meet and decide to collaborate?

TD: Jeremy and I met at Image Expo in 2011 and I loved his work on Southern Dog and Cobble Hill. We kept in touch trading our projects back and forth.

JH: I actually have Kurtis Wiebe to thank for the introduction. I was a big fan of Tim’s design work ever since I read Existence 2.0/3.0. I happen to have the cover art for Cobble Hill on my phone, and once I showed him that, the rest is history.

The Frog Queen: What’s the role of the royalty in this story & their involvement with Occupeye?

TD: Titles are great, especially when you bestow them upon yourself…let’s just say this – trust nothing and no one. We’ve taken careful measures to fully explore the well-worn axiom of “seeing is believing”.

Now, Aldair’s parents, Mallerie and Darek – especially Mallerie, are the top programmers for the Occupeye system and in a society that puts the highest value on one’s ability to conjure powerful illusions, they are in a sense royalty.

JH: I think this clear societal class system allows us to explore our characters from very specific perspectives. I personally love the idea of mixing old world beliefs with new age technology. It’s all very steampunk in a way, which I think elevates it from your atypical star-crossed lovers storyline.

The Frog Queen: Does Occupeye merely project the images of the individual wearer? So when Buoy changes the surrounding of the Bazaar, is he affecting everyone else's lenses? 

TD: The Occupeye lenses were originally intended to be character-POV based.  Aldair is a rebellious teen for instance, so through her lenses we see the world as she does – Road Warrior-like. When she’s heartbroken, we see her reacting in a Victorian Era period drama, with a lot of tears and anguish.

But fully articulating that proved to be a massive amount of work for series artist Joshua Gowdy and equally ambitious in terms of structuring the script. We both feel, whole-heartedly that Josh did an amazing job of executing the Occupeye effect strongly enough that the reader can easily follow the action and still experience the idea of the system.

Now, when Buoy hacks the system in the first issue, he’s re-skinning all of reality and later in issues 2-4 we’re going to see the ramifications of that hack. Subsequently, there are times when Iris is stepping in and providing a skin to match or mitigate the tone of a scene. She’s a super-Siri, designed to think on behalf of all users, gently guiding the appearance of their reality.

JH: I have to also give Josh a tremendous amount of credit to be able to take the high concept aspects of the script, and fully realize them through his art. He makes it look fairly effortless-what with all the quick all encompassing scene changes.

As for how Tim and I were going to execute this rather ambitious concept, again I support what he has said. I think we’ve done our very best to expose readers to this very new and maybe a little disorienting world, while also maintaining a level of clarity and intriguing characterization that maintains the reader’s attention. With subsequent issues everything will become more familiar regarding the skin-flipping. It’s certainly an adjustment. [smiles]

The Frog Queen: Do you see Skinned as a limitless world with many stories to tell? Do you think there will be more to come after the initial series is finished?

TD: Honestly, I don’t see anything more for Aldair and Buoy beyond the six issue series. I appreciate stories that know when to end.

JH: We discussed the ending very early on during development, and I share Tim’s penchant for self contained stories in a limited arc. We can tell the story exactly as we see it, beginning-middle-end.

The Frog Queen: Can you tell us how to can get our hands on a copy of Skinned?
Skinned can be purchased through Comixology as a digital download for a mere .99 cents:

Our facebook page is an excellent resource for teasers and sneaks:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Buddha Book 1 by Osamu Tezuka

This one of the very few Tezuka series that I have not read. I decided to begin to remedy that folly. Last week I got myself the first volume of the 8 book series. The long weekend gave me an opportunity to actually read it on Saturday. Similar to most Tezuka sagas, Buddha centers around the young who are persecuted and tested by the world. Tata, a young boy who is of the lowest caste- a  pariah, has the incredible power of being able to possess animals. He helps many people in book 1 but the birth of Siddhartha appears to be the largest advent of this volume. 

Buddha is Tezuka's imagined life of Gautama Buddha. First published in 1972, it finally finished a decade later in December of '83. It remains one of Tezuka's most acclaimed series of his career and one of his last epic manga series. 

There are plenty of breaks in the drama for humor and even a cameo by Astro boy scientist Professor Ochanomizu. I am hoping that Tezuka puts himself into this series for a cameo. He does that from time to time and it's so cute. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Attack on Titan : Before the Fall

Art by Satoshi Shiki
Story by Ryo Suzukaze

I suppose I got my wish, an Attack on Titan with prolific artwork. Before the Fall has been written and illustrated by two new people. Hajime Isayama is out of the picture. Don't get me wrong, the artwork is perfection. It's beautiful, detailed and each face is full of expression. Yet, the titan doesn't hold the same creep factor as the original books.

I like the story line so far. Remember how I told you that the titans can't full digest their prey? They just spew it all back up, half corroded by stomach acid. So this story is about a pregnant lady who's child survived the ordeal and comes out of his mother's womb alive. Now that back of the book says that Kuklo is cut from his mothers womb after she is spewed forth from the titans belly. That is incorrect. Kuklo was actually found delivered. Not 100% sure how that's possible but no the soldiers that find him, don't cut him out of his mother. This discrepancy could be due to the fact that the trailer released was publicized before the entire story was sorted out. It was not completely accurate either. Maybe the had the cover set in stone before they finished the story as well heh.

The biggest difference is how this story conforms to regular mainstream manga, unlike the original series. The one and only female character thus far, is a young, blond, doe-eyed girl.  She is of course a damsel in distress, waiting to be married off but apparently plans to run away. Yet the idea only occurred to her as this "son of the titan" offers. Maybe it'll turn around but so far not impressed. Maybe there will be a strong female lead? I won't hold my breath. Also, I only saw 1 person get eaten. That's disappointing.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

San Hannibal # 1 by Dan Schkade, JD Faith & Jesse Snavlin

Pop! Goes the Icon just yesterday, released issue one of San Hannibal. A noir mystery story about a missing persons search conducted by private investigator Ira. The search for missing photojournalist Savannah Loy brings him to a punk rock bar. He immediately encounters some odd characters.

San Hannibal is beautifully drawn and colored in two tones. Black and a fuchsia hue (check it out on the cover). I'm absolutely in love with this edgy artwork and it was my whole reason for picking up the single yesterday. The cover immediately caught my eye and as I slipped through the body of the book in the comic book store I said "not another noir story". Despite what might lay in the story, I felt the artwork over-all could probably carry even the worst writer. I was pleasantly surprised when I began to read the book.

The story itself gripped me. Even though it is just another missing persons mystery, the writer clearly has a unique voice. The story is narrated by Ira and written in such a way that you are able to get a good sense of who he is without fumbling to include arbitrary details. Ira's narration does set up the atmosphere of his surroundings descriptively but they are colored by his own personal outlook on life.

San Hannibal is intended to be a five part mini-series. I am really happy that I picked this issue up. I recommend it whether you like mystery noir stories or not. It has already sucked me in.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Skinned #1

Written by Tim Daniel & Jeremy Holt
Art by Joshua Gowdy

I got a digital copy of this today from Jeremy Holt and was most excited to read it simply because of the cover. By now you must know that covers tend to pull me in, however they don't make me stay (*cough* the buffy comics *cough*).

Mostly, this story is fits into the cyberpunk genre which is probably my favorite genre. After reading Jeff Noon's Vurt some time ago, I began writing my own cyberpunk story. So far that gives Skinned my attention.

The story takes place in a world where humans are given new lenses (literally) through which to view the world. A physical device invoking the old adage of rose colored glasses so to speak. They allow the viewer to see things as they choose and project your imagination visually. The company or agency responsible is called Occup-eye. Apart from that I haven't 100% learned their uses except that there appears to be a hacker afoot. Note to self - Must probe Mr. Holt for more details.

Due to what I can only imagine is the constantly shifting thoughts of a human being, the appearance of the world shifts from panel to panel. Although I like the changing architecture and fashion of the Occup-eye world, I'm not sure where this entire plot is going. "Reality is a disease" according to the agency responsible for Occup-eye. Makes sense to me but wouldn't there be all kinds of side effects? For instance, disorientation? Maybe something sort of like the bends or vertigo. If your world is constantly changing, even in appearance, does it not create an inability eventually to adapt to ones surroundings? I suppose this is another question for the writers as I still have yet to understand if people are actually projecting what they see in their minds to other people, or if that is in fact private.

I'm curious how the royalty fits into this story. I am unsure if they are responsible for Occup-eye or actually enslaved by it.

Well, I think I'll write a couple emails and find some answers! Stay tuned! ;)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Starlight #2 by Mark Millar

I had it all wrong when I was typing up what I thought about Mark Millar's Starlight. A friend pointed out to me that the story is inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs and is a sort of fan-fiction in a way for John Carter of Mars. I have not read many of those novels so it didn't immediately jump out at me as such. Not to mention that fact that I didn't watch that awful movie adaptation (it looked just terrible). My friend however is a big fan of Burroughs and has read MOST of his novels. If not all.

Anyway, issue 2 opens up with a small child-like, purple haired person stepping out pleading for his life. He's only 86, so don't shoot! He's from the same planet that Captain McQueen saved 40 years ago when his air force jet flew through a rift in time and space. Here he is being asked to go back and save the planet from a new threat. This one is an alien race, there to pick off all the resources and most likely enslave the entire race. At first McQueen is reluctant, assuring the boy-man that he is too old, but of course he gives in because there would be no story otherwise.

So far, the story is fun. The artwork appeals to me and my love of a retro look and feel. It's an easy read, not heavy and there's really not much hiding in the motives of any of the characters (at least not yet). You can pretty much take them all at face value, which is perhaps because Starlight is intended for a younger audience? I'm use to Millar's gory side. I don't really see that happening here, but it's Millar... it could happen.

Before I write an article on any book or single, I keep myself from reading other peoples opinions on it. I don't want it to influence how I naturally perceive a story. Therefore, I know very little about the intentions of Millar with this story. I didn't  even want to read his interview with CBR. I'm really excited to see where this story goes without all the spoilers. ;)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chosin: Hold the Line & To the Sea

Written By Richard Meyer & Brian Iglasias
Artwork on Hold the Line by Thomas Jung
Artwork on To The Sea by Otis Frampton

Hold the Line and To the Sea are two stories detailing the true story of the Chosin Reservoir Campaign of the Korean War. It was the largest seaborne evacuation of ‘enemy’ refugees in world to this day.  

My knowledge of the Korean War is limited. It's not something they teach in Canadian high-school history classes, but I have seen various movies over the years. I can't account for accuracy however. 

As expected, this is a story of American bravery and triumph. Hold the Line is told almost entirely from the American perspective. It details the difficulties experienced by the Americans in unfamiliar territory under extreme environmental conditions. They faced sub-zero temperatures unlike that which they were use to at home. The portions of the story which show the Korean troops (when they aren't depicted as glowing, red-eyes monsters) details the hardships, terror, and forced militarization the Korean Men experienced. This is all a bias of course but then again, I say this realizing that it's pretty difficult to say nice things about North Korea.

While Hold the Line is told from the perspective of soldiers, To the Sea is told from the perspective of the North Korean refuges. Two children are orphaned by Chinese troops and flee towards the American camp to seek refuge. They are eventually boarded on the Missouri and flee North Korea.  

Chosin is moving and articulate, documenting real events and using the names of real soldiers. The story is not particularly gory although there is violence, some blood. Most is implied and un-glorified gore. In my opinion this tells the story a sensitive subject, like the events of war, in a respectful manner. An awesome read and highly recommended for the war enthusiast. I am especially taken with the art work in To the Sea by Otis Frampton. It personally appeals to me although clearly, both books have been completed by talented artists. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Q&A with JAR and Mira Mortal: SPLIT a Graphic Novella

This week I had the privilege to preview a graphic novella entitled SPLIT, a collaborate project by John Rodriguez aka JAR and Mira Mortal. I get a lot of submissions from independent artists and writers. Although I read all submissions I only write about those that I truly feel excited about. SPLIT is JAR's third comic project, clearly a labor of love, filled with so much heart. Once in a while I come across a project like this that makes me dig around, get more info and spread the word. I was lucky to get some questions in with Mira and JAR. 

To help support Split please visit the Kickstarter page HERE!

The Frog Queen: Can you give us a brief description of Split?

Mira: SPLIT is about a family that has experienced something so traumatic that they close in on themselves in an attempt to cope. This choice is backfiring, and their isolation is doing much more harm than good. It's a tragedy with a psychological element.
This is not even necessarily the kind of story JAR and I typically tell; we both have varied tastes in comics. At the time we decided to try working together, I asked JAR what he was in the mood to draw, and he said "Something dark." And I said, "I can do dark." SPLIT was just a bunch of notes and thumbnails in a notebook, and I turned it into a script for him in a day and sent it. I'd actually drawn out a few pages myself, but didn't show those to him until recently, I think.

JAR: Mira's description of the story is pretty spot on, so I'll give you some background from my perspective. I enjoy drawing dark stories and imperfect characters. I also enjoy trying to nail an emotion on a drawing, which I think is one of the most difficult things to do. Last year I was trying to find a writer to work with when Mira told me she had an idea. I had read quite a few scripts already that really were not a good fit for me, so I was a bit skeptical at the beginning. When I read it, however, I thought that this was definitely a story I could see myself drawing. The pain the mother is feeling, the happiness of the children for the little things, the annoyance of the older sister, all portray a great variety of emotions that made this book fun, but also very challenging to draw.

The Frog Queen: Split currently has a Kickstarter fund intended to raise money to hire a colorist for the book. Who would make the perfect colorist? What is your vision?

JAR: This is a difficult one for me, since I have yet to work with someone else coloring my art. I also know that the right colorist would make or break the mood of the art. I would say someone like Dave Stewart would be ideal, due to his work on line art by Mike Mignola. We may even try to hire him if we are extremely successful with the Kickstarter! (Though he's probably very busy right now.)

Mira:  Haha! We dream big. The mood for SPLIT is a little surreal, a little dreamy, and a little creepy. Alone in a crowded room kind of feel. For the colorist, we want someone whose skills are already developed, and who is willing and available to deliver relatively soon. We talked about a vision for a painterly style with a muted palette, but definitely getting a colorist with a confident hand is our goal.

The Frog Queen: Do you see Split being a story to carry forward from the original story?

JAR: I see SPLIT as a complete book. Maybe a prequel... but I'd be very hesitant about it. I would let Mira decide on that. We do, however, have a lot of story ideas we plan to work on. Mira will be writing scripts while I wrap up a comic for Action Labs. Hopefully at the end of this year or beginning of 2015 we are working full steam on our next project.

Mira: We've been referring to SPLIT as a graphic novella, and intended it to be presented as a whole short story, readable in one sitting. I think the story is finished as it is, but never say never. There is some backstory that we do not divulge in the book, though. It was more for our own understanding of the part of the arc we wanted to show. Maybe we should put those notes in the book if we get funded, JAR? Amy, what do you think?  :)

JAR:  I think showing the first drawings you did would be WAY cooler.

Mira: Yeah! So they can see why I needed you to get on board.

The Frog Queen: That sounds like an awesome idea actually! I love getting a peak into see artistic process. What are your plans for publication, be it digital and print?

JAR: If we hit our goal for the Kickstarter, we plan to get the book colored, make a small print run, and release it digitally on Comixology. If we do not hit our goal, I will take over the coloring and we still just release it digitally. One way or another, we plan to release the book.

Mira: Whether we get funded or not, this was a learning experience for me, and I found an epic creative partner. It's awesome (and he keeps me really busy). *But* to get SPLIT printed and into people's hands? That would be amazing. Fingers crossed!

For more information and news about Split, please visit 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Starlight #1 by Mark Millar and Goran Parlov

Most people are pretty familiar with Mark Millar and if you aren't, then you are at least familiar with Kick-Ass. Starlight is Millar's latest title (which I'm a little late at getting to, hey I'm one person and I have two jobs). At first I didn't know if I wanted to bother picking up this title. I thought it might be Image's answer to Saga. My love for Millar's writing got the better of me and I had to get it regardless of any suspicions.

Starlight is the story of a former space hero who settled on Earth and got himself all wrapped up in a family. With his recently deceased, he begins to long for the adventures of his youth. Those adventures happened to be helping save a nation on some distant planet. Luckily by the end of the issue, his wishful thinking becomes reality.

Parlov, having done a mixture of work ranging from the Punisher to Y The Last Man, has set the mood from the beginning of the book telling facial expressions of concern and regret while countering them in the flashbacks with vivid colors and unearthly skylines. The transition from what looks fantastical back to the world you and I know, got a strong grip on me. It just yanked me because I'm a big daydreamer and this sort of escapism I relate to. The best thing about the story and the big difference between myself and Mr. McQueen, is that his daydreams are actually memories.

I tried hard to grab a copy of issue #2 today but the local shops were out. I have a few more to check tomorrow but you can bet I'll find a copy tomorrow! Both my thumbs way up!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Manifest Destiny #6 by Chris Dingess, Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni

Our heroes... wait, that's not appropriate in this story. Let me start again: Our central characters who's silly decisions this story progresses around, had made the poor decision to destroy the fauna which threatens all life. Basically it turns life into living plant monsters. This plan has led them into a forest full of plant zombie animals and while some battle vicious squirrels, some battle bears. However, one is correct when they assume there is some hive mind at work here. A queen, well actually a big brain-ey flower. It's also carnivorous apparently and attempts to eat our leaders.

Manifest Destiny is one of those books that enjoys making the American hero look like a big fat arrogant moron, too caught up on the idea of glory and bravery to make decent decision.  It's the native girl that the troops are after, who actually saves the soldiers slumbering inside the flower (apparently that's what happens before you are digested-sleep).

This is what I read when I need a laugh and when I want to believe in the ridiculous.  So far the story hasn't struck me as serious which I'm actually liking. Most humorous comics bore me, or serve as spoofs for some popular drama. Manifest Destiny doesn't appear to be making life of any particular run that I know of. Therefore I find it unique and enjoyable. Usually when I see Minotaur-type monsters, I think Elfquest and then get pissed off. Obviously not the issue this time. OMG I hate Elfquest.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

All-New Doop #1 by Peter Milligan

Written by Peter Milligan
Art by David Lafuente

It is fairly rare for me to pick up Marvel. I was once the biggest X-men fan and well, after Nightcrawler was killed off a while back, I just said "that's it". I stopped reading. I have only bothered to look at the odd single here and there after.

However, about ten years ago, Peter Milligan and Darwyn Cooke collaborated on an awesome little story Wolverine Doop. That series led me to purchase Doop #1 today. Admittedly, I am not able to gush over the artwork. Not to the point that I gushed over Cooke's Wolverine Doop, but I do feel that Lafuente's work to be appropriately humorous. It's not really my kind of thing but it suits the mood, especially when you get to the end of the issue.

The All-New Doop plans to be a five part mini-series and  I guess that makes it the first Marvel series I'll been actually reading since Savage Wolverine first started up (and don't get me started on that topic).

If you are like me (annoyed with the ridiculous plots the X-universe has had to face over the last few years) here is a lighthearted take on the current story arc through the eyes of Doop!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Attack on Titan Volume 11 *Spoilers*

Great, now there are more human titans! Except I actually like where they are going with this addition. Bertolt and Reiner are the infamous titans mentioned in the beginning of our story. The Armored Titan and the Colossus Titan. It's implied that these two humans are in fact titans with the ability to turn into humans and not vice versa. In fact they have been living among humans, trying to infiltrate their society and learn humanities weakness for so long, that they actually think they are human. This is where all the confusion happens because part of Bertolt and Reiner remember their prime directive, kill all the humans. They start this by grabbing Eren and Ymir and running into the titan forest. That's where it all comes out.

I do like this entire idea. I enjoy thinking that Eren, our hero, was intended to be the enemy. We'll see how it all settles out. After all, Eren is the least able to control his titan powers out of all the human/titan changelings.

Volume 12 releases in Canada around the end of April. I can't wait. Although I end up disliking the story often, I just can't stop reading it. I actually want to see how it ends up regardless of my anger with the translation and the direction the story took a couple volumes back.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Walking Dead : All Out War issue #124

Jesus Christ!! Okay I know I shouldn't start a review out this way but I finally decided to go back to The Walking Dead (keep in mind, I've been following this series nearly since it's birth). I loved this series but the last year and half has been killing me. All Out War was supposed to end everything but it's god damn 12 fucking issues long and I wanna shoot myself rather than wait for it to end. Remember a while back when I was talking about how bad-ass Negan was? You don't remember? That's because it was over a fucking year ago. I'm sooo sick of this asshole. I want a new bad guy. Hell, I just want the zombies to start doing stuff again or play a role in the story at all.

I'll calm down now. All is not completely lost. Although Negan is still around being annoying and cursing more than I do, we do finally have the zombies back in play as issue 124 someone finally does something they should have done a long time ago - use the zombie plague to their tactical advantage. Negan gets his clan of Saviors to contaminate all their weapons before attacking Rich Grimes and his crew on the Hill Top. Okay they've attacked the Hill Top before (only about 100 times in which some people died, namely my favorite character) but this time it's supposed to end everything. Spoiler alert, Rick gets contaminated. Finally something happens.  Of course this is a cliff hanger ending. Negan pulls his troops to camp just outside of the Hill Top's zone believing everyone to be feverish, contaminated and basically freaking out inside the Hill Top village.

If Rick dies at least something will have happened because ultimately you just feel as though nothing has happened in over a year of The Walking Dead. Please tell me I'm not the only one sick of this plot?

The End of Jeff Lemire's Trillium: Trillium issue 8

April 2nd 2014 marked the release of Jeff Lemire's final issue of Trillium. The time-travelling, space love story spanned only 8 issues with a few bumps along the way. A couple delays in release but nothing major.

Lemire's vision of a love-story crossing through time and fighting the destruction of humanity, prevails when our literally star-crossed lovers save a ship of sleeping colonists from their total annihilation. The deadly sentient virus known only as The Caul has wiped out almost all of humanity. Nika and William sacrifice themselves to send the colonists ship on autopilot to a new planet and a new future. When Nika and William are left drifting in space with the remainder of their life support system, Nika explains that she feels compelled to go through the blackhole. The one the aliens told her was the 'mouth of god'. As typical with Lemire, the implications of the ending bitter sweet for our lovers. He does let us know as always, that with loss there is gain and shows a beautiful illustration of the colonists beginning a new life on a distant planet. A little girl who looks remarkably like our heroine Nika, draws a pictorial story about the events in the sky.

In the end, Trillium wasn't exactly what I expected yet remains a sweet miniseries that anyone can enjoy whether your in it for the love story, the time travel, or the spaceships and aliens.

Pretty Deadly Issue 5

Written by Kelly Sure Deconnick 
Art by Emma Rios

Image Comic's Pretty Deadly has been pretty damn impressive.. okay I won't do that. I apologize. Let me start over... Issue number five of Pretty Deadly marks the end of volume 1. They have tied up the story of the imprisoned beauty, death and the Mason. Basically, Ginny was called into the world of the living by Sissy and Beauty ran Death through with a broadsword. I dunno where she got said broadsword but this all take place in a world controlled by Death. If you think about it, Death made that broadsword appear. So I guess that means that Death made his own death happen. Wow, this is confusing. Suspended disbelief Amy... come on... you can do it...

Alright although that is all really confusing if you try to look at it all logically, the story is pretty great to read. Lots of blood and gore in the first volume AND more importantly beautiful fucking art. The whole way through this book has just been gorgeous. Last night, I had a dream that was completely bad-ass western. I had a giant green leather duster, and amazing hat and some bitch'n cowboy boots with spurs. See, Pretty Deadly makes for some damn awesome dreams. The part I didn't understand was why I was black, but I guess that doesn't matter.

If I actually rated comics on a scale of 1 to 10, which I don't, I give this volume like 9 cowboy boots because although the artwork pretty much rocks, I feel like there's a little something missing from the story. So you've got an odd number of cowboy boots for now and you're searching for that missing boot. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Attack on Titan: Vol 10

So there are different classes of titans. The humans have labelled a particularly odd set of them as "abnormals" appropriately so as they behave, you guessed it, abnormally. The like to do things like eat other titans or run after animals instead of humans. The average titan is of medium stature and sort of just lumbers around slowly picking up humans and devouring them. Actually, soon after they vomit up all the partially digested pieces because apparently they can't fully digest anything. They have no anus... or something. They don't have reproductive organs either which leads me to believe that titans hatch from eggs (sure why not?).

In volume 10, we learn that there is yet another human who happens to possess the ability to turn titan. Ymir actually. She sacrifices her health to attack the titans and save the survey corps troops stranded in the tower. That's really all that happens in this volume besides a long flash back about Ymir and Krista's pasts together. I don't understand this whole need to give us a flashback on characters that are about to die when they had no starring role before-hand. It feel very awkward to me and ill-planned. Out of all the characters so far, I think I like Ymir the best because she's calm and collected for the most part. Calculated.

Of course, I've already read volume 11 so stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Attack on Titan Volume 9 *Spoilers*

In this volume, the troops attempt to discover the source of a flood of titans who have gained access beyond the wall. In this attempt one of the commanders encounters the Ape-like titan who can speak. We knew about the existence of titans that could speak from the journal that was recovered by the Survey Corps.  The Ape attempts to understand the vertical maneuvering equipment utilized by humans. However in shock, the commander cannot respond to this giant speaking to him.  The ape collects the gear and leaves the commander to suffer the terrifying fate of being eaten alive by giant monsters. As for the rest of the Survey Corps, this volume leaves them helpless in the tower of an abandoned castle as titans rush to gain entry and make a feast of them.

Titans come in all shapes and sizes. Some are shorter than others and some are grotesquely proportionate with large faces and tiny bodies. Giant smiling heads looking contently as they devour helpless humans. Of course the imagery has my love regardless of how crazy it might make me look (muhahaha). 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Rise of Aurora West by Paul Pope

Due to release September 30th of 2014, The Rise of Aurora West is considered a prequel to Paul Pope's Battling Boy. Since first reading Pope's latest book, I have been anticipating a story which included West more devoutly. It was announced soon after the release of Battling Boy, that there would be a spin-off following Aurora's plight.

Back in November, Pope told Bleeding Cool that he intends to have Volume 2 of Battling Boy out around same time of the West release in the following year. Pope also mentioned his intentions of releasing a second Aurora West book. I just can't wait to read the first one!

Trillium: Volume 6 by Jeff Lemire *Spoilers*

I was becoming a little bored with Trillium so I delayed reading this issue. I don't know what it was, maybe the pace of the releases or maybe I just prefer Jeff Lemire's more realistic work. He's always dabbled in altered realities, but the stories were mostly rooted in OUR reality. Sweet Tooth was the post-apocalypse story that really began Lemire's diversion from Earth as we know it. I loved Sweet Tooth. I've pretty much loved everything Lemire has created. I wasn't sure anymore about Trillium, until I opened this issue.

I'm happy to say that I am excited to read the next book. When our Nika switched places with William, I was a little annoyed. Maybe a little bored? I knew they would both struggle to get back to the pyramid/temple and reclaim their rightful lives. Unfortunately for both of our heroes, they are unable to switch back. The pyramid has collapsed. I'm interested again. I didn't want it to be easy so now I would like to see how Lemire intends to write our people out of this mess.