Jocelyn Sakal Froese, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor

Jocelyn Sakal Froese, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor

In his introductory note, David Petersen describes Mouse Guard: The Black Axe as a creator’s quest, a text that challenged him to produce more detailed characters and worlds alongside a standard quest narrative. Two mice, Em and Celanwe, discover that they are distantly related and the last living members of their bloodline, and they go in search of the Black Axe - a prized family artifact. Their quest takes them to distant lands and into the kingdom of dangerous enemies, and it is well balanced with character development and worldbuilding.

Hazel and Mari are each other’s one true love in a time when same-sex attraction is seen as repulsive, and even sinful. Torn apart by their families, they each find socially suitable partners (men), marry, have children and grandchildren, and build their careers. When they eventually reunite, they find their love has remained over time, and this time, they can’t let it go. Bingo Love is a tale of heartbreak, social change, and redemption.

Knight in the Snake Pit #1 is a chilling comic that tells the beginning of the story of Allister Ward, a man who wakes up in an asylum with no memories and no concept of why he’s there. Madness is the only constant in Allister’s life, and the text follows him as he moves between a confusing, maddening reality and paranoid episodes with narrative coherence and structure far beyond what he experiences otherwise.

A lonely, brooding detective takes on the case of an ex-girlfriend, only to have two things confirmed: He won’t get the girl, but is he a great detective.

The Jem and the Holograms: Dimensions comics run has made some great progress in terms of LGBTQ2* representation and race and body type diversity while still centering music and taking its aesthetics from the '80s pop-punk scene, and this installment furthers that work. Comics in the Dimensions series include two short stories each, with the ultimate intention of showing Jem, the Holograms, the Misfits, and even a pretty well-developed set of groupies in a multi-dimensional way through extended world building and character development. Each story is written and drawn by a rotating crew, meaning that each comic contains two distinct story and art styles. This installment includes Sarah Kuhn and Siobhan Keenan’s “Face Off” and Sarah Winifrid Searle’s “Star Girl.”

Jem and the Holograms: Dimensions #1 is a quirky, fun read. The comic features two short stories. “Catnap,” written and drawn by Sophie Campbell and colored by Victoria Robado, follows Misfits groupie Clash as she attempts to juggle cat sitting, skiing, and Holograms-inspired pranks. Not only does this story feature a somewhat frivolous (deliciously so) storyline-- I mean, character development, sure, but the plot is light and entertaining—but Campbell and Robado have really leaned into a particular ‘80s comics vibe, featuring banana yellow and puffy white coordinated ski suits. I found it a little refreshing, too, to see the Holograms/Misfits rivalry/obsession figured in a not-so-one-sided way; it’s the Holograms, or at least their fans, that come out looking a little shady in this one.

Rick and Morty: Book Two carries on major themes from the animated series: nihilism, human connection (or lack thereof) and family, power, and ethics, and how the heck one is supposed to care about school when offered a rotating sequence of incredibly high-stakes adventures.  That said, Rick and Morty fans will not be disappointed by Rick and Morty: Book Two, the second installment of Rick and Morty comics. This text is longer than some might expect - 290 pages in total - but interested readers shouldn’t be put off by the length; Rick and Morty: Book Two is a surprisingly fast read, both because of its form - a collection of short stories - and because the content is expertly rendered. Not only are the narratives of each story engaging, but the art and character development are - with one minor exception - in line with what readers familiar with the animated series have come to expect.

As Halloween is fast approaching, the Fanbase Press staff and contributors decided that there was no better way to celebrate this horrifically haunting holiday than by sharing our favorite scary stories! Be they movies, TV shows, video games, novels, or any other form of entertainment, members of the Fanbase Press crew will be sharing their “scariest” stories each day leading up to Halloween. We hope that you will enjoy this sneak peek into the terrors that frighten Fanbase Press!

“But when this darkness is faced, even metaphorically, I believe that a certain sense of liberation occurs which is healthy for people—it is the liberation of integration, the relief that comes when we realize that no more dirty, closeted secrets remain.”  -Steve Rasnic Tem, "The Subject Matter of Horror,” Exploring Short Dark Fiction #1: A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem

Yowza village is a place governed by patriarchal principles, so much so that when a daughter is born to the village guardian, Tane, the village doctor and nurse conspire to switch out the guardian’s natural-born daughter with the only other baby born on the same day - the shopkeeper’s son.

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