I have reservations making the review of Humanoids’ newest Life Drawn title, States of Mind, about me, but, in many ways, the purpose of this graphic novel is to show people that are struggling with depression, bipolar disorder, manic depression, and other mental health disorders that you’re not alone. As someone who can get lost in depressive states, stories like this are good to keep on hand.
Is there anything more intrinsically '90s than Todd McFarlane’s Spawn? It’s perfect. The content is edgy, the art is gritty, and the capes are long as heck. It has been a very long time since Spawn was a hit, but lest we forget, it was a major hit. There was an HBO show along with a feature film and successful cartoon. Impressively enough, Spawn managed to thrive under the umbrella of an independent comic book publisher (Image Comics) which was run by a group of renegade writers and artists, unsatisfied with the deals they were offered at the two major comic book outlets (Marvel and DC).
Just about every kid in the '90s had some exposure to R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps. The books were wildly successful and even spawned a TV series that Stine occasionally cameoed in. The plots were often simplistic: Kid(s) discover some dangerous/scary secret, shenanigans ensue, good (usually) trumps evil, though often with a twist. That’s your Goosebumps primer.
Spencer & Locke 2 hits stores on May 1, 2019, as it continues a well-established story featuring a fierce detective (Locke) and his imaginary partner-in-crime (Spencer). After its five Ringo Award nominations in 2018, including Best Series, the “Calvin and Hobbes meets Sin City” team is back, leading fans into the near future beyond those events of the first story arc.
There is something timelessly charming about the Firefly universe and its carefree, witty cast of unflappable characters. If I were to try to define it, I would say that Joss Whedon successfully married three very different genres: Westerns, science fiction, and romantic sitcoms. The Western aspect of it comes alive in the backstory and legacy of the characters. One could imagine the exact same cast making their way across the expanse of the unsettled great west shortly after the end of the Civil War. The author, Greg Pak, does a great job of keeping this vibrant ethos alive in the 152 pages of this collective work. He force lands our heroes on a sparsely settled moon where they pick up a job to escort pilgrims to the holy land – horses and wagons in tow.
The Tuskegee Airmen are the prime influence for Black Hammer ’45, as a squadron of pilots during Black Hammer’s version of WWII. This version of WWII is bonkers in all of the perfect ways. Superheroes and supervillains weave in and out, giving us some chaotically fun dog fights, with giants guarding the borders of countries, Russians marching along in giant mech suits, and in the midst of this, the heroes of the Black Hammer squadron doing their best to complete their mission – sans powers.
When it comes to the sword and planet genre, Edgar Rice Burroughs was certainly the genre progenitor with his Barsoom series of books starring John Carter. Maybe not as renowned as the Barsoom books, but just as beloved, is Burroughs’ other sword and planet line, the Venus series with Carson Napier. This series of books imagines Venus (long before the Soviet Venera probes exposed the planet as a hot, harsh, and unforgiving place) as a oceanic planet, much like Earth. While the Venus series of books concluded decades ago, Napier’s adventures continue in other media, with American Mythology’s comic series, Carson of Venus: The Flames Beyond being the newest story arc.
I wish I had a more inspired rationale for why I choose the comics I'm going to read. Many are either properties I already like or recommendations from other fans. When it comes to finding new works, I tend to choose based on the cover and title. The one good thing about this is that I often go into stories with little to no expectations which is exactly how I approached Ghost Tree #1.
Well, bah. I’m late to the party for Descender, but not too late to get in on the ground floor of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s continuation in the upcoming series, Ascender. The original series centered on Tim-21, a robot who lived in a galaxy where androids were illegal and humans hunted them. The new series carries over a few characters from the previous series, along with introducing new ones, but with a fantasy twist.