Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Growing up on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and An American Tail.\, I had a healthy training ground in learning to love anthropomorphic stories. It’s carried over throughout the years, so when I saw there was a new series about a Spy Seal, I squealed in my head a little. I feel like there’s still a lot of territory to cover in this genre...can it be called a genre? I think so. Spy Seal follows Malcolm, our out-of-work seal, who inadvertently becomes involved in some espionage action when he goes to an art gallery with his bird friend, Sylvia. Like a good, old-fashioned Hitchcock story, a mysterious and buxom (in this case) bunny sidles up to the well-dressed Malcolm, and things go downhill from there. Malcolm proves a hero - he was military after all - and this entrenches him even more into a world of Secret Agents, MI-6, and deadly assassins.

Within Grass Kings #6 comes the most human moment of the series so far. One that captures sadness and hope not only on an interpersonal level between characters, but also in the metaphorical imagery that’s used. It's a visual poetry that resonates, which puts Grass Kings at the best that it can be and what I think Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins are striving for as creators. From the feels I was feeling, it gives me hope for the story as it progresses.

Redlands drops you into the middle of a bad situation that you know is only going to get worse, and it does so with unfettered glee in the macabre and the occult.

Like the gangster films of the noir genre, Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s The Damned is fast paced and a thrill to read - only in this world, demons have infiltrated the local gangs and are enjoying the benefits. Eddie, a human who has sold his soul - making it difficult to die - is approached by an old friend, Pauly Bones, who has stolen a mystery and demonic key to trade for some souls of his own. Now, the two are being hassled by demon gang lords, a mysterious killer, and demons that put other demons to shame.

Issue #11 of Conan the Slayer had me cackling with glee from beginning to end. I love a well-told story. Who doesn’t? I was once asked if that was the only thing I cared about. For anyone who sees my Facebook feed, you’ll know I care about a lot of other things, but a well-told story is right at the top. It’s what keeps humanity moving forward. Myths, characters that inspire you, even science is driven by storytelling. (Star Trek, anyone?) Cullen Bunn’s run on Conan the Slayer is an extremely well-told bit of fantasy adventure. I love it. What I love even more? I love it when Conan buckles down and spends an issue kicking ass and enjoying it. And that’s what this issue is: Conan kicking ass and enjoying it.

Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Black Hammer is riveting not only on a massive storytelling level, but it finds the moments of humanity within the larger story that keep us invested. Issues like this one focus on small, but crucial, moments in the characters’ developments. After several issues of some dark twists and turns, we get a moment of respite and emotional tenderness. We see a character stand up for themselves in a necessary way for the reader to experience and to understand why it’s necessary for them to do that.

I’ve been back and forth on my liking of Aliens: Dead Orbit. My “forth” involves James Stokoe’s wonderful art.

There are things at the bottom of the ocean that we don’t know about, just as there are things in our memories that we’ll never be able to make sense of. Infinite mysteries upon mysteries that can wrap in on themselves in complex ways. It’s like trying to unravel determinism to its beginning point. Matt Kindt is using Dept.H to ask some big questions to the degree that he weaves in and out of the actual plot as if it was secondary so that he can explore themes. I’m not complaining.

For the writers you admire, athletes you love, and politicians you support, I think it’s just as important to understand when one of their endeavors doesn’t seem to work as well as their others and why, as much as it does basking in their victories. Matt Kindt, I feel, is one of the most talented writers in the comic book industry today. He has a handful of comics running right now that I’ve committed my time and emotional investment in, but my first experience with him was the perfect Mind MGMT. I have to say that five issues into Grass Kings, the story has finally ramped up, but it is not connecting with me the way his other books have.

There’s something beautiful about the primal nature of fear. It’s so simple and uncomplicated. I think that’s why many of us are attracted to horror films, and the genre in general. The Xenomorph is one of the most beautiful cinematic creations to me. Much like Ashe, it’s difficult not to admire. I think the same can be said about the works of H.P. Lovecraft whose horrors have lived beyond our existence. I have to admit I’ve never read one of his stories myself, but I’ve read a number of the quickly accruing comic book adaptations of his work, which I’m sure will be followed by even more film adaptations.

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