Erica McCrystal, Fanbase Press Contributor

Erica McCrystal, Fanbase Press Contributor

Poe Noir is sheer brilliance. Tim Zajac, Miguel Acedo, and Graham Sisk take Edgar Allan Poe’s classic gothic tales and put a noirish spin on them. They capture Poe’s great ironies and inquiries into the sinister, immoral nature of mankind. The two episodes in this issue are captivating and have me itching for more.

As we follow Shadow on his journey through America, the lines between fantasy and reality continue to blur. A brilliant piece of modern-day mythology, American Gods takes the world that we know and lets gods, creatures, and magical beings in. Dreams become indistinct from reality, the dead don’t stay dead, and we never really know who or what to trust. Shadow is not really concerned but just rolls along with all of the weirdness and chaos happening around him. Sometimes, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but I think that’s part of the Gaiman fun that P. Craig Russell and Scott Hampton have captured so well.

This volume is stellar. Adam Knave and D.J. Kirkbride have created an exciting, modernized version of the legendary tales of King Arthur, and Nick Brokenshire has illustrated a 21st-century icon in Rani as an ordinary, young, half-Indian woman who becomes a powerful, punk heroine with a perfect crown hairstyle. This volume exudes energy, and the characters are vivacious and inspiring - the perfect specimens of modern-day heroics.

The following is an interview with D.J. Kirkbride, Adam P. Knave, and Nick Brokenshire, the creative team of the comic book series, The Once and Future Queen, which will be releasing the collected trade paperback on Wednesday, November 1, from Dark Horse Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Contributor Erica McCrystal chats with Kirkbride, Knave, and Brokenshire about the inspiration for the series, their shared creative process, what the team has planned for the continuation of the series, and more!

American Gods: Shadows #8 continues to encourage us to think about American land and the land’s relationship with people. By providing some history of settlement in America, the series asks how our history contributes to how we identify as American today. And then, of course, there’s the mythos factor that shapes the American identity, as well.

When Paul Dini and Bruce Timm created Harley Quinn for Batman: The Animated Series, she was a sidekick - a laughable, lovable jester with an awesome voice. She was a minion to the Joker but much more entertaining than any of his thugs. With the release of "Mad Love," her character acquired depth through her backstory, her ability to love, her motivations, and her desires. She is a powerful manipulator while simultaneously a victim of domestic violence. Because the Joker successfully turns her toward villainy, and because her love is nauseatingly strong, it would seem that the Joker has Harley completely under his control; however, in The New 52’s Harley Quinn series, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti allow Harley to break free from her Puddin’, giving her autonomy and new motivations. As an independent woman, Harley adopts multiple roles, depending on her needs or current passionate impulses.

The following is an interview with actor Joe Macaulay on his role in the film, Native. In this interview, Fanbase Press Contributor Erica McCrystal chats with Macaulay about his creative inspiration, his role in the upcoming sci-fi film, his experiences in a variety of entertainment mediums, and more!

Issue #7 opens with a beautifully eerie, noir moment of headlights gradually approaching through the darkness. The brightness pops out of the dark surroundings but still distorts our ability to see anything clearly. Neil Gaiman is a narrative master of distorting fantasy and reality (The main character’s name is Shadow, after all.), and Scott Hampton’s illustrations perfectly capture that technique. In this series, we never really know whether we can trust what we see, especially with the frequent re-occurrence of magical illusions, ghosts, and gods.

The presence of mystical elements really shines in Issue #6, and the discussion about gods in America makes us think about the relationship that gods have with man and with the land. The gods have essentially immigrated to America and taken root in the land. They are outsiders but work to be productive on American soil. I’ve never thought of gods as national before. Wednesday’s discussion about the gods makes them seem more human than celestial, which creates some potential vulnerability. It also makes the gods seem more real and regular. They are like us, so perhaps we can understand them better.

Time for a vampire showdown. All of the plotting, secret meetings, and questioning of loyalties culminates in the final installment of Anno Dracula. The plot has been building to this moment, and we’ve been anxiously awaiting Dracula’s arrival. But along the way, the other characters have made for such an exciting and enjoyable adventure. Though it has existed on the backdrop, we have felt Dracula’s presence throughout the series while the other characters have driven the action. Kim Newman has created powerful, clever, and amusing personages of Victorian London. And each one is always ready for a fight.

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