Jocelyn Sakal Froese, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor

Jocelyn Sakal Froese, Fanbase Press Guest Contributor

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.

The opening epigraph of Mike Garley, Lukasz Kowalczuk, and Lukasz Mazur’s Samurai Slasher: Late Fees reads, “Remember, kiddo: not every story has a happy ending.”  This epigraph is apt, as Late Fees is an exploration of coping mechanisms that artists and everyday humans alike take on as they live and work through unhappy, and sometimes even traumatic, situations.

Political power in the city of Transylvania has been concentrated in the hands of Mayor (formerly Count) Dracula and now serves the interests of only one third of Transylvania’s population. Tired of their interests taking a back seat to those of the Vampires, and aware of rising political tensions and that real oppression may be only just over the horizon, the Werewolves and Witches decide to take matters into their own hands, after a fashion: They resurrect Frankenstein (He can’t go by “monster” forever.) who, being a one-of-a-kind supernatural being, is without a natural political alignment, and so potentially a very balanced (or at least a more balanced) candidate for mayor. This is where installment #1 of Chris Allen, Jack Wallace, and Rei Lay’s Frankenstein for Mayor leaves its readers.

The Mouse Guard Alphabet Book is exactly what it sounds like: an alphabet book grounded firmly in the fantasy world of David Petersen’s Mouse Guard cannon. For those who are entirely unfamiliar with the world of Mouse Guard, it is a fantasy space that centers on the trials and challenges of a mouse civilization whose collective survival depends on their adopting a united front in opposition to mouse-predators, such as ferrets, owls, and foxes. Mouse Guard, like many fantasy texts, has a bit of a medieval-inspired feel, and generally reminds this reader of Brian Jacques’ Redwall series.

Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunlavey, and Adam Guzowski’s The Comic Book History of Comics: Birth of a Medium is a treatise on the place of comics as an important part of the fabric of American popular culture. Readers who are familiar with American history and culture may catch that Birth of a Medium is a citation of D. W Griffith’s early American film, Birth of a Nation, but non-American readers (like me!) may not get the reference and may be surprised at the American-centric nature of this text. Though I do think that readers will want to be aware that Birth of a Medium doesn’t offer a comprehensive account of the rise of comics as a medium globally, I count the extreme focus of the text as a positive; Lente and Dunlavey are excellent historians of American comics, and they’ve produced a detailed and relatively balanced text on that topic.

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