There is no role small enough in the Black Hammer universe that doesn’t deserve to be dug into. Afterall, Black Hammer is all about stories, and everyone, no matter how seemingly inconsequential or powerful, has a story. What felt like a throwaway punchline character, Cthu-Lou, fit snugly into the Golden Age-era tropes of the 1950s superhero genre that the Black Hammer universe plays in. Now, that trope has been turned on its head, and we are introduced to Cthu-Lou’s teenage daughter, Cthu-Louise.

Little Guardians: Volume 2 - Bandits and Betrayers opens in media res, partway through the attempted robbery of Verdo the Whole-Saler by a group of unidentified ruffians, setting the reader up to expect troubles for Verdo (now with only half of his stock), as well as the return of the ruffians and the treat of lawlessness they bring. Good thing for Subira’s mentor and guide who expertly cons their way out of the village for Guardian training, so that Subira can earn her spirit orb. Or, this is the story that is forecast in the opening pages; we don’t get much exploration of Subira and her story in this installment. Instead, we get a bit of movement in her storyline. She is well on her way to Guardian training by the end!—and a lot of stage-setting in her home village of Yowza that helps to build stakes for her eventual, triumphant return.

I remember when Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds came out. I was excited because it was hyped up around a very specific idea: that it would be taken from the point of view of the common person. No science, no government explanation, Tom Cruise would have no idea what was going on. Maybe it was because the story was familiar, but it fell entirely too short of that promise. When I experience (Because you don’t just read I Am a Hero, you experience it.) Kengo Hanazawa’s zombie epic, every step I take is with the characters it follows. Whatever they feel, I’m feeling it right along with them.

Pandora’s Legacy is a fun and charming Young Adult adventure story that delves into the myth of Pandora’s Box in a really clever and fun way. Creator and Writer Kara Leopard doesn’t waste any time, sending siblings Janet, Charlie, and youngest brother Trevor into the woods to retrieve their silly cat named Po. Po leads them further into the woods than they’ve ever been, where they stumble upon a strange piece of architecture that resembles something right out of Clash of the Titans, amidst the trees. It’s full of beautiful carvings in the ground, life-like statues (two of which hold up a large circular mirror), and an old jug…which they happen to break. Except, that’s no ordinary jug, but an updated version of Pandora’s Box, and the kids have to figure out how to deal with the chaos they’ve unleashed along with their cat who has now been taken over by Prometheus.

The Resurrected is a dark, sci-fi thriller from Carnouche Productions that “delves into dark social-political issues, most significantly those dealing with the colonisation of Australia and the treatment of the local indigenous population” (Kickstarter campaign).  With this near-future story, writer/creator Christian Carnouche seeks to give the Indigenous-Australians voice, because their representation in all forms of media is often suppressed, or when inserted in media, it is to their detriment, such as through minimizing stereotype characterization.  In this successfully crowdfunded comic book series, Carnouche explores themes of mortality, redemption, and personal culpability for one’s actions.  

“It Takes You Away” started off slow but then won me over in the second half.

The truth is out there.

In October, the Bram Stoker Award-winning small press, Omnium Gatherum, specializing in “dark fantasy, weird fiction, and horror,” released The Fat Lady Sings, a novella written by native Los Angeles writer Sean Patrick Traver.  This is the first of eight novellas to be collected in Bruja Chica: The Education of a Witch and is part of the Temple, Tree & Tower series.  Traver introduced this series, which focuses on the underground occult scene in Los Angeles, with Graves’ End: A Magical Thriller (2012), followed up with Red Witch: The Tales of Ingrid Redstone (2017), and expands this world with The Fat Lady Sings.

"Nah-nah, Nah-nah, Nah-nah, Nah-nah . . . BATMAN!" "CHUNG CHUNG CHUNG CHUNG CHUNG" . . . The Maxx! Two great tastes that taste great together? Sure, but you should see the newsome twosome take on The Outback! ...and it's inhabitants.

I’ve been a mostly avid tabletop gamer for much of my life, and there’s always that one person who takes the game way, way to seriously. For them, it’s life. Here is a comic that feels a bit like It meets The Chronicles of Narnia, but with roleplaying, and with someone who takes it way, way, way too seriously. I could throw in a few more “ways,” but I think you understand.

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