We're really living in a golden age of webcomics. I'm old enough to remember their early days. They were mostly short-format comedy pieces or over-wrought teenage dramas. Now, webcomics can have sweeping narratives and art to rival any major publisher, and they’re getting trade paperback editions and anime adaptations! Give it a few years, and we'll be seeing webcomic films! Ophiuchus is one of these webcomics that now sees itself reaching new audiences in the form of a trade paperback.
Think what you may about Disney's recent string of films, but the company’s mascot, Mickey Mouse, has been enjoying a resurgence these past few years. There was a time in the early 2000s when the famous mouse was starting to lose his stardom and other Disney characters were coming to fill the spotlight. But, ever the stalwart, Mickey welcomed his 90th anniversary with a bevy of quality comics and the phenomenal Mickey Mouse TV series. As part of that celebration, Mickey Mouse: The Quest for the Missing Memories, an eight-part miniseries, was released in late April of 2019.
I must admit I haven't ready nearly as much of Neil Gaiman's work as I probably should. I'm most familiar with Gaiman through the book, Coraline, but his reputation precedes him. I can barely go a week without colleagues recommending one of his books to me. Shirking suggestions to read American Gods or The Sandman, I decided to pick up an adaptation of one of Gaiman's lesser-known stories: Snow, Glass, Apples (specifically the graphic novel adaptation illustrated by Colleen Doran).
I had the opportunity to attend San Diego Comic-Con's Comics Arts Conference Session #9: Focus on Carey Pietsch: Comedy and Fantasy in Comics with Clint McElroy on July 20th, 2019. The panel was billed as an in-depth examination of Carey Pietsch's artistic process during the creation of The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins (an adaptation of the hugely popular podcast, The Adventure Zone, which features a family playing Dungeons & Dragons) with input from one of the book's authors, Clint McElroy.
During my adventure into San Diego Comic-Con 2019, I stopped by the Comics Arts Conference for the Comics Arts Conference Session #12: The Poster Session which was held on July 20th, 2019.
William Gibson’s Alien 3 answers a question I've had since I first saw Alien 3 on a dusty VHS. Alien and Aliens make up one of the greatest duologies of science fiction, but the original Alien 3 revealed the cracks in a franchise that has subsequently teetered between greatness and schlock. A few months ago, I learned that William Gibson had been called to write the screenplay in early drafts but was quickly dispatched from the project. His script was later revived and converted into the graphic novel we have today. I picked up this new (or old) iteration of Alien 3 to answer the question: "Could things have been different?"
At long last, the final issue of Ghost Tree is nearing release. I've reviewed this series from beginning to end, and, looking back, I couldn’t be more glad that I did. Some comics exist purely for entertainment while others strive to become transformative in their medium. Ghost Tree sits comfortably in the latter column, alongside other comics I’ve reviewed such as A Girl in the Himalayas, Green River Killer, and Waves. It’s series like these that show what the comic book genre can truly do.
If there has been a theme in the past ten years of Dungeons & Dragons, it’s been the struggle to bring accessibility to general audiences. While the game has experienced tremendous growth and acceptance and is now truly bordering the mainstream market, it still suffers from one major detractor: D&D is a complicated game and has a high barrier to entry. Dungeons & Dragons: Monsters & Creatures and Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors & Weapons are the latest in a long line of innovations that attempt to convert the game into something more palatable.
Young adult novels are a hit-or-miss sort of thing. Some are breakout successes that speak to any aged reader, and some barely appeal to the very audience they’re targeting. The best young adult stories seem to be the ones that find a balance between tackling big, heavy ideas while also capturing the fantastical elements of life.
We're back for round three of the Japanese ghost story known as Ghost Tree. I reviewed issues #1 and #2 a while back. Going in, I knew nothing about the series, only picking it up because of the appealing cover. I’ve since grown to love this series for its brilliant use of color and sincere look at Japanese culture. Ghost Tree #2 ramped up the intrigue and pacing, so Ghost Tree #3 needed to keep that momentum going if it was going to live up to the first half of this story.