Not all art is about entertainment. Sometimes, art exists to challenge, teach, or heal us. A better way to describe art is to say that all art exists to help us. How it helps us changes from piece to piece. I had the opportunity this week to read Ingrid Chabbert’s Waves, the topics of which are of a grim seriousness that I don't want to obfuscate or shy away from. I'll start this review by saying that if you're searching for a lighthearted comic book, you might want to pass on this one. If you’re looking for something that will move you and, quite possibly, help you in your own life, then you need to learn more about Waves.
Nina Rodriguez always knew that magic was real, she just couldn't prove it. But when her sister Marissa is kidnapped by the Great Beast, Nina charges head first into the mystical world of spells and paragons hidden in the streets of Los Angeles. Blackbird Vol. 1 collects the first six issues of Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel's visually spectacular urban fantasy.
Class hierarchy, social status, racial discrimination, and sexual discrimination are all themes being handled deftly in Greg Pak and Giannis Milonogiannis’ Ronin Island.
Empty Man #7 goes above and beyond, shifting from survival horror to something more along the lines of existential and philosophical dread. Not only does Cullen Bunn take what is probably a simple concept and make it mind-bogglingly esoteric in the best way, but what has been to this point a hellish landscape of chaotic, uncontrollable horror chasing down our heroes has become something that you maybe can’t just outrun.
Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s meta tale of superheroes without a story has sprawled every which way since its first issue about two years ago. I say “without a story” not because things haven’t happened - so much has happened - but because for much of the series our heroes have been without anything to save. Their story was stripped away from them, and they’ve been forced to live out different stories. What happens when you take away a superhero’s main reason for existing?
Reading She Could Fly is like slipping into someone else’s madness, and it fits far too comfortably.
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.