For the past twenty-seven years, child Gertrude has been wandering throughout the magical realms of Fairyland in search of the Key which will lead her home. See, she was sucked out of her cozy bedroom and stranded in this colorful world of delights. During the course of her quest she has seen many wild sights and run afoul of a few strange creatures. Her mind has been aged by the experience if her body has not grown a day older. Yeah, it is odd. Gertrude’s patience ran out long ago, replaced by the quick-tempered rage of a woman who just wants a night of peace in her own bed. Is that too much to ask? Apparently yes, as Gertrude and her guide Larry make no progress in their journey, unless by progress, you measure the number of dismembered, bloody corpses that Gertrude leaves in her wake.
This is the premise behind Skottie Young’s first creator-owned title, I Hate Fairyland. He has taken the framework of the traditional child’s tale and twisted it around several times until it bleeds rather copiously. Gertrude has not only a short fuse, but a violent one as well. Her initial reaction to any dilemma is to chop her way through it, preferably with as much G-rated profanity as possible. She is definitely a spirited individual who refuses to take no for an answer, even from the Queen of Fairyland. This headstrong attitude makes her a compelling protagonist, as well as one who is easy to cheer for. Sure she may be a bit vulgar, but you would be too after nearly three decades in this place.
The holidays are a time of bustle and confusion. It may sound cliché that we often lose track of what really matters, but, you know what? There is a fair amount of truth behind such clichés. So, it seems rather appropriate that for this final Finest of 2015, I selected a book centered on an exploration of family.
Last month, Saga returned from its intra-arc sabbatical with an update on Hazel. The issue focused on how well (or not) the child was adapting to life in a refugee detention center. This week, the series shifts the focus to her parents, asking how well they are handling their daughter’s absence. The answer is not too bad, under the circumstances. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Saga #32→
Over the past couple weeks, Nothing But Comics has been providing a variety of coverage on the 2015 New York Comic Con. From the creators to the cosplayers they inspire, we have offered reflections on the different facets of fandom. The last in this series of articles is a compilation of comments from some of the panels attended during the convention.
Coverage of Valiant’s Book of Death and Beyond Panel can be found here & here.
At the Dark Horse Comics Classified Panel, there were a few announcements, but the main pleasure was hearing the creators discuss their craft. These observations included a healthy sense of humor, such as when Matt Kindt was asked what it was like playing the role of both writer and artist on a series. He replied that collaborating with himself was a pleasure, as “most of my deadlines get along.” For his part, Brian Wood offered that he always wants to be enthusiastic about the art in one of his titles. His wish is to be a “fanboy” of it just like any other reader. Continue reading NYCC: Panel Roundup→
In Artists Alley yesterday Joe Keatinge was speaking about how he has the whole story of Shutter mapped out, but is also staying flexible for letting the story evolve organically. A fan asked for an example, and Keatinge cited the character of Cassius, formerly known as Alarm Cat. This fan favorite was originally fated to die early in the series, #3 to be precise. However when Del Duca read the script stating that Alarm Cat died in an explosion she was “heartbroken”. This reaction from his collaborator sparked a change of heart in Keatinge. He revised his plans and sent Cassius off on the fascinating road he’s currently traveling . . .
I doubt I was the only reader struck by the art in this week’s installment of Southern Bastards. Latour’s contribution to this series has always been strong, capturing the rural sensibilities of Craw County. This issue though featured a new lushness, especially in the river sequence. I asked Latour about this and he said it was a conscious choice for #11’s protagonist. Latour explained that it was necessary in order to convey one of the essential elements of Boone’s character. Boone has rejected town life for what he considers a more authentic “country” lifestyle. The art needed to reflect this conviction, so that the reader could understand Boone’s deep rooted connection to the natural world. The result is some of the most striking pages of the series too date.
By Claire Gibson, Marian Churchland & Sloane Leong
Brandon Graham’s new shared fantasy world 8house continues to expand with the introduction of spin-off title From Under Mountains. After a taste of the more science fiction flavored Kiem, readers are immediately plunged back into a landscape of spellcasting familiar from the Blood House of Arclight. The issue opens with a stunning wordless image, a full-page illustration of hands gracefully moving through space. The surrounding area is largely dark, fingers glowing red in a fire’s glare. Small leaves and flowers drift downwards. The perspective gradually expands over the next couple of pages, building the atmosphere without losing any of the mystery. It is a striking sequence by Sloane Leong, which immediately pulls the reader into a new landscape. Continue reading Advance Review of From Under Mountains #1→
“The maps in our hands no longer match the territory—and perhaps they never did. Now what?”
The world is rapidly shifting around us. On this, at least, we can all agree. The hows, whys and what-nexts, however, those are the tricky parts. There no longer seems to be any sense of collective concern or common cause. Society is splintered into so many niche groups (partisan or otherwise) that inter-clique dialogue is virtually impossible. We exist as fragments, instead of whole communities. This sense of dislocation suffuses Ales Kot and Will Tempest’s new Image series Material. Kot has structured his narrative as a series of character vignettes which lack any clear narrative connection. This sensation is reinforced by Tempest’s art, which typically shows characters alone in panels, rarely sharing space with anyone else. Instead of belonging to any larger purpose (i.e. story) they all feel adrift in their various lives. The professor, the actress, the former detainee, are all disorientated in their own manner. They could also use some guidance out of their personal labyrinths. Problem is, there is none to be had. Continue reading Material, Bela Tarr and Creative Rebirths→
This week begins the third arc of Jason Aaron & Jason Latour’s acclaimedseriesSouthern Bastards. The new arc is entitled “Homecoming,” a name which could be taken literally. The story opens in the days leading up to the high school homecoming game against arch-rivals Wetumpka County. However, it has another, deeper meaning as well. It also suggests an emotional homecoming. The second arc, “Gridiron,” focused on the past, depicting how Euliss Boss went from nobody to the most powerful individual in Craw County. Based on the first chapter, “Homecoming” is also interested in the past, yet in a different way. Where “Gridiron” concentrated on the events of years ago, “Homecoming” is more concerned with the legacy of past actions.
#9 also shifts central characters. The first arcs were focused on antagonists Earl Tubb and Coach Boss, each of whom dominated the narrative of those initial 8 issues. Now, though, Aaron turns his attention to Sheriff Hardy whose previous appearances had been mostly restricted to hanging about in the background. Most memorable was his presence at Earl’s death in #4. The manner in which he held back from intervening in Earl’s murder indicated that he was beholden to Coach Boss, while his facial expression suggested that his feelings about unfolding events were actually much more complicated. As readers discover in #9, Sheriff Hardy is very much a man uncomfortable with the person that he has become. Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Southern Bastards #9→
From the beginning, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Image series The Wicked + The Divine has been interested in the phenomenon of celebrity. Every 90 years a group of gods are reincarnated, revisiting the Earth in what is known as the Reoccurrence. Their presence is meant to help nudge humanity forward, inspiring them to take the next steps in their development. And inspire is all they can do, as their time is too brief for the actual hard work of building a better world. Their life span is only two years, then they die. It is the ultimate expression of live hard, die young. The latter is a surety, so might as well embrace everything else to the fullest. As would be expected these Reoccurrences have produced a large body of academic scholarship, as well as pop culture devotion. You know, the same as any other religion or mythology.
The first arc centered on the relationship between Lucifer (“Luci”) and mortal fan-girl Laura. The arc ended with Luci’s death, which devastated Laura. Yet within that sadness, there was a literal spark of hope. While aimlessly mimicking Lucifer’s characteristic finger snapping, Laura caused a brief flame to ignite. At this point in the story, the full Pantheon had not emerged; it was possible that Laura’s destiny was to become one of the remaining deities. In essence she might be promoted from groupie to spotlight star in her own right. Continue reading Wicked + Divine Truths→