Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor

Issue #2 of Steve Orlando and Garry Brown’s Crude takes a sharp right turn, and it’s hard for me to say whether it’s going to all fit together or not just yet.

Paranoia is the main dish in Jeff Lemire (writer) and Andrea Sorrentino’s (artist) Gideon Falls, a story that weaves in and out of themes of madness, faith, and the supernatural. A sort of Twin Peaks meets…I’ve been digging around for a second example, because there is something in the way this book is approached and constructed that doesn’t quite feel like this or that. I could say Jacob’s Ladder or Hellraiser by way of Andrei Tarkovsky. There’s a gritty, dreamlike quality to this book, an effective, surreal, nightmarish atmosphere that Sorrentino creates with Dave Stewart (colors).

You don’t read I Am a Hero, the zombie epic by Kengo Hanazawa, you full on experience it. From the first book, I knew it would be special. I knew I had to read every volume as it came out, but I would have never been able to tell you that this is where we would be after reading the final pages of Omnibus 6. This series continuously undercuts expectations and presents to you a reality unexpected. It’s a constant mind-f***, an emotional battering ram, an exhilarating lightning rod of a read in which you experience this absurd, outrageous, and terrifying world along with this oddball assortment of survivors. It’s exactly how you would expect a zombie apocalypse to break the rules of everything you knew to be true. Here, the zombies (known as ZQNs) are transfixed with repeating their day-to-day life. Why? How? Omnibus 6 toys with some answers while presenting a sort of hierarchy of ZQNs that could spell the demise of the remaining survivors.

There is an urban legend known as The Unsound. This has nothing to do with that.

Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin ,along with Muntsa Vicente, flip the form of the comic book format on its side. Literally. To give us a more cinematic perspective of the story as it unfolds, they’ve altered the typical “portrait” format by rotating the view 45 degrees clockwise to a “landscape” format, creating a 70mm texture which is fitting for this mixture of genres. The first time I saw this done in a comic was an issue of Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man back in the '90s. I always thought it was cool, but it didn’t serve a purpose or wasn’t used to pronounce the story in any meaningful way. Here, it does.

Angelic is a freaking beautiful and soulful comic about flying monkeys. How can that even be?

Have you ever sat flipping through television stations or scrolling through things on Netflix far too late at night, unsure what to watch, and you stop on something you’ve never heard of and it turns out to be one of your most favorite things ever? That happened to me one night at 2 a.m. with Dog Day Afternoon, the Al Pacino movie. In a similar fashion, it has happened to me again with Evan Dorkin (writer) and Jill Thompson’s (artist) Beasts of Burden Volume 1: Animal Rites.

Recently, I wanted to sit down and read through all of the Hellboy stories. I know I had read some of them, but I couldn’t remember how many, and I was looking forward to starting on that journey again when Dark Horse announced the arrival of the first of what sounds like a handful of Omnibuses following the types of paranormal adventures that Hellboy likes to find himself in.

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil takes place in one of my favorite comic book universes right now, that of Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Black Hammer. It also happens to deal with two of my favorite characters from the world: Lucy Weber (the daughter of Black Hammer) and Golden Gail. The main character of the story is Lucy Weber as she uses her journalistic training and unending gumption to track down any answer she can find involving the disappearance of her father and the rest of the heroes after their fight against Anti-God. Doctor Star, another hero (who is currently heading his own Black Hammer spinoff series) gives Lucy the push she needs to begin her hero’s journey. Of all of the characters in the Black Hammer world, she is, by far, the most motivated and strong willed.

There’s a great moment, a sort of getting splashed in the face with cold water moment, in Issue #3 of Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows. We get to see our Golden Age hero, Doctor Star, come face to face with the realities of Vietnam. It’s not lingered on, but that moment says everything about the Black Hammer universe. There was an innocence about the Golden Age of comics which our heroes lived in on a meta-reference level, and now they have to deal with the harsh, post-modern, psychological tortures of our current times.

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