Russ Pirozek, Fanbase Press Contributor

Russ Pirozek, Fanbase Press Contributor

Despite its name, Safe Sex (SFSX) is not a series for the faint of heart, and while it has connections to other media, it stands all on its own. Described (by me, to others) as The Handmaid's Tale but for the misunderstood members of the kink and queer communities, SFSX is an opus of sex-positive and queer-focused storytelling, with an added theme of standing up against the tyranny that attempts to starve you of your freedoms and tamp down any urges that are viewed as unseemly.

I came upon this series' release in an unusual way: during a strange saga on comic book artist Ryan Stegman's podcast, Steg-Man and Friends. On the show, Stegman speaks with his friends in the industry, but an odd and hilarious drama began to unfold as real-life lawyer Charles Soule was a guest on the show, which eventually devolved into Soule taking over the show for a week himself. (Please listen; it's bizarre and wonderful.) He had Scott Snyder on as a guest to talk about this series and its impending release.

I've mentioned in my reviews before that I am a huge fan of the Dungeons & Dragons show, Critical Role. I've been a fan of the show for a long time, and as its popularity has grown, so has the desire for more and more content related to the tales of the group of plucky adventurers known as Vox Machina. While their story wrapped up quite awhile ago, the public version of the show began in the middle of things, as Vox Machina had already become a well-known adventuring party as fans began to get to know these characters. With that, the cast and creators of the show struck a deal with Dark Horse Comics to share the team's pre-live-streaming adventures. These are the beginnings of the group, how they met and what became of them as they grew from a band of bumbling idiots to the saviors of the world.

Image Comics is one of those companies that really innovates within the realm of comics, thanks to their willingness to take chances. Without this, we wouldn’t have some of the modern classics of our time, such as Saga, The Walking Dead, or The Wicked + The Divine. Thanks to their desire to allow the work to shine, regardless of subject, they are a varied and illustrious company. I say this because the publisher has taken a chance once again, this time with well-known erotic writer Tina Horn for an brand new series, SFSX (Safe Sex).

As we move farther from the end of Critical Role's first campaign which ended after 115 glorious episodes, we also move farther away from the time between the start of the show's streaming episodes and the time spent by the cast prior to becoming a full-fledged phenomenon. During that time, the group met, began their journey as an adventuring party, and had their own share of dangerous antics.

It's happened before. It will never happen again. So goes the final issue of the years-long epic, The Wicked + The Divine. After several years of exploring this world of gods, secrets, lies, and a weaving story, this beloved series is coming to a close. As someone who has followed this series since its first issue, this is a bittersweet moment for me. I've loved this series since issue #1 and have followed it through every twist, turn, and big reveal. While the contents of this issue are important, I think the bigger picture to look at here is the celebration of this crowing achievement of media, storytelling, and creativity.

Vox Machina has returned with the second installment of their prequel series, Vox Machina Origins II. The spin-off of the hit, streaming Dungeons & Dragons game centers on some of the few moments that fans of Critical Role can't see - the exploits of the now-famous adventuring party before the show began streaming and before it became the phenomenon it is now.

It's almost here. The finale of one of the most impressive comic book series of the modern era is upon us, with the release of the penultimate issue of The Wicked + The Divine. Over the last five years, we've seen the growth of this series from a well-known favorite to a true classic. The quality has always been there, but the consistency is what makes this book as amazing as it is. It's one thing to have a good few issues or maybe a great arc. But for forty-four issues, this series has been impressing readers over and over, giving us new twists to savor, new characters to love, and a new reason to keep reading with each successive issue. I've been covering this series for a long time, and what keeps me coming back to the series each time is what is likely the same as it is for many readers: It's really, really good.

Critical Role is a phenomenon. The live-streaming Dungeons & Dragons show has a massive following, wide-spread acclaim, and some incredibly talented voice actors as part of their cast. Through one hundred and fifteen episodes and more than five hundred hours of streaming content, the cast plays characters from the adventuring band known as Vox Machina, a ragtag group of very different people who come together, save the world, and do a lot of ridiculous things along the way.  I've been a huge fan of the show for several years, both as a live show and a podcast. When Dark Horse Comics announced that the series was being turned into a comic book, I was extremely happy.  As the second chapter of the book prepares to hit the comic book shelves, it looks like Vox Machina is back and better than ever.

Tabletop RPGs are one of the most satisfying ways to tell a story, and with their recent boom in popularity, bringing RPGs into the comic book medium is an interesting way to show this beloved form of cooperative storytelling in a new light. With the release of the first volume of Die, RPGs are taken to another level, as the idea of a comic about a group of teenagers playing an RPG is injected with a liberal dose of creative fantasy storytelling with a modern twist.

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