Ken Reynolds is back with a new issue of Sliced Quarterly, collecting short comic works for our collective enjoyment. This issue is stuffed full of moving and intriguing work, with more emphasis on irregular or deconstructed narrative and experimental art. This issue will make you think, it will make you feel, and it has some really lovely instances of emotional communication. I'll briefly cover each one and my reactions to it, as I feel this collection is more about the artistic value and the discussions that could be prompted from the different reactions that they elicit.
“A mountain walked or stumbled. God! What wonder that across the earth a great architect went mad… The Thing of the idols, the green, sticky spawn of the stars, had awaked to claim his own. The stars were right again… After vigintillions of years great Cthulhu was loose again, and ravening for delight.”
Zombies are no stranger to the horror genre, having slowly (or quickly - depending on your zombie mobility preference) crept into the pop culture zeitgeist over the past fifty years. From Night of the Living Dead to iZombie, re-animated corpses have not only come to pervade the horror genre, but they have paved their way into various other genres and mediums of entertainment. Given the ever-present nature of the zombie tale, it takes a truly special story to stand out from the ambling crowd, and Bliss on Tap Publishing's Train 8: The Zombie Express does just that.
Issue #13 of Grass Kings finds a really nice balance between the war that’s been brewing between the Grass Kingdom and the outside world and the slow burn of uncovering who the serial killer is that might be hiding nearby. For me, it’s the first time this perfect synchronicity has been reached - though it wouldn’t be working as well as it is if building blocks weren’t previously put in place.
My Ainsel #1 marks the beginning of the second arc in the American Gods series adapted from Neil Gaiman’s classic novel. We jump right in to Shadow and Wednesday continuing their travels across America. In this issue, they begin in a snow-covered Wisconsin. The pace of the main action in this issue moves rather slowly, but that gives us time to appreciate all of the other stories that contribute to our understanding of this world.
Issue number 4 of the Valderramas’ Giants leaps a year into the future. Usually, time jumps like this so early on (or near the end of a story) are bold moves to take, but, logistically, it’s a smart one for the story, which is... The above world has been covered in snow and kaiju (For the uninitiated, think giant monsters like Godzilla or Pacific Rim.) These kaiju fight territorial fights. Meanwhile, in underground cities, violent gangs fight for control over what little territory there actually is to live in. Two ambitious lads, Zedo and Gogi, wanted nothing more than to join one of these gangs, so they were sent above ground to gather some ambernoir, which is a bit like Unobtanium from Avatar, just with a better name. It’s a rocky substance that’s incredibly volatile but creates energy needed for life and growth. Above ground, the two brothers were separated when a kaiju attacked. Thinking the other dead, Zedo went back underground, and Gogi met a peaceful group of people who were managing to survive above ground. Cut to a year later and wheeling back around.
In many readers’ minds, the term “gothic” likely evokes literary references to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula – elements of romance, the supernatural, and dark, foreboding tones permeate such timeless stories. During the 1960s and 1970s, such elements reappeared in the sequential art medium, being stimulated by the diminishing control of the Comics Code Authority in 1971. Jacque Nodell (Sequential Crush), in the book’s foreword, explains that gothic romance comics “were short lived, merely a blip on the radar of the mainstream comic book industry.”
Colin’s Godson is a Scottish power pop band from Glasgow who take their music to a transmedia level. Aside from releasing their particular brand of power pop/Britpop/punk-pop via digital, cassette, CD, and vinyl means, they also flirt with the comic book medium. The physical releases of their music, such as Colin’s Godson in Space and The Timely Demise of Colin’s Godson, all have comic books, starring the band in outlandish adventures, as part of their packaging. The Colin’s Godson Annual collects these comic adventures into one 84-page omnibus. As with the physical releases of their albums and EPs, the Colin’s Godson Annual was produced in an extremely limited quantity (20 copies in this instance). The collection includes the comics Colin’s Godson in Space, Colin’s Godson in Time, Colin’s Godson Comic No 2, Colin’s Godson at the Speed of Sound, The Timely Demise of Colin’s Godson, and Colin’s Godson in Silicon Heaven with parody adverts and games peppered throughout.