Words have power. That is the underlying theme of the comic, Word Smith, another independent project that I stumbled upon on Kickstarter that hails from Australia. Created and written by Stephen Kok, illustrated by P.R. Dedelis, and with colors by Peyton Freeman, it is an all-ages fantasy Steampunk comic with a well-meaning, yet somewhat naive, protagonist named Victoria and her mischievous pet dragon, Sparky.
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.
Jupiter Jet #1 is a successful Kickstarter-backed comic book from writers Jason Inman and Ashley Victoria Robinson. Inman brings his experience as host of DC All-Access, and Robinson is a winner from the 2013 Top Cow Talent Hunt and Top Cow Head Editor. They both also contributed to the Love is Love anthology, and this is their “first comic book series together as a married couple.”
Comics were never the same when horror writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre) and artist Bernie Wrightson (Frankenstein Alive, Alive, Nevermore) collaborated on the three-issue miniseries, Dead, She Said, back in 2008. They went on to collaborate on The Ghoul and Doc Macabre, and all three stories have been bound into The Monstrous Collection of Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson out from IDW Publishing this week. In addition to the stories, several pages of Wrightson’s drawings from the 1960s-1970s are included in the art gallery section at the conclusion of the book.
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.
Charles Brubaker, the creator of the advice column styled Ask a Cat trade paperback (Check out my review here.), has returned with a new collection published by Smallbug Press. The Fuzzy Princess: Volume 1 collects the first seven issues of eight stories that follows Princess “Kat” Katrina from St. Paws.
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.
Gabriel Rodríguez’s Sword of Ages is a new series from IDW, a neo-peplum comic that combines the sword and planet genre with Arthurian legend. Sword of Ages tells a variation of the origin of the fabled Excalibur by placing the story on a different planet (portrayed as being littered with both ancient and futuristic ruins) and concerns the heroine Avalon, who has been raised by tigers and trained by monks. The first issue sees Avalon part from her tiger family to travel with Merlin (blue-skinned in this incarnation) and his black bird Nikola to rendezvous with a team of other adventurers (Trystan, Lancer Benveek, and Gawyn) and gain an audience with the serpentine Guardian of the Sacred Lake. En route, Avalon and company thwart a band of Planet of the Apes-esque slavers and free their prisoners, which introduces Captain Janek, the supposed law and order of the region.