This year's HollyShorts Alumni block had a huge variety of different films of all genres. This selection ran the gamut between funny and scary, heartbreaking and powerful, and everything in between.
Things get a little weird.
It’s no secret that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the adventures of the terror upon cute that is Gertrude, former Queen of Fairyland. In this issue, Mr. Young brings in guest artist Jeffery “Chamba” Cruz who partners with series colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu to give us a sweet alternative kind of tale for our demonic damsel. (Sweet as in badass, not tea parties.) We’re now into the series proper, and things are working well with the episodic nature. We now get to see Gert kick a little butt on the page instead of inferring between issues.
So it ends. Well, this volume, at least. With the last issue of the Rising Action arc, the book finally sees the six issues of battle really come to a head with some major twists, turns, and big changes to go along with the witty banter and classic Keiron Gillen humor that we've come to know and love from the series.
A cover can say a lot to the reader, and in the case of Demonic #1 (Image Comics), it says everything. The image of an ordinary man in an alley, his shadow twisted into something evil as it overtakes most of the cover - one can instantly surmise that whatever is between the covers cannot be good.
When you like your action slow, thoughtful, and callous.
There’s an obvious swing in comics towards physical perfection in male characters, and impossible contortions of anatomy and sense in female ones. Mark Hobby’s book, Job Dun: Fat Assassin, eschews that standard in its main character, giving us an overlarge guy who bulls through a world that prides itself on looks and the application of social expectations that can boggle the mind. Taking the path of least resistance in all things, Job Dun is like a foul-mouthed Buddha chucking fools to the afterlife while keeping after what’s important.
This is going to come as a surprise to exactly no one. I am a big fan of Doctor Who. A superfan. A -willing-to-pay-way-too-much-money-to-have-a-picture-taken-with-Captain-Jack-Harkness-at-Comikaze fan. But as geeks, most of us are.
I’ve spent many an hour both onstage and backstage creating impassioned pieces of live theatre, probably more hours than I care to admit. James Tynion IV is a writer whom I like very much; his Memetic and Cognetic books are trippy, David Cronenberg-esque sci-fi horror films that play as social satire, his UFOlogy harkens back to '80s films in which kids have to become the heroes, and his runs on a few different Batman titles - now specifically Detective Comics - have all been inspired. The Backstagers is nothing like any of them. It’s more of a Young Adult fantasy about the people who really bring to life the plays you might see or be a part in when you were in high school.
Reading House of Penance is like bathing in madness. It creeps into your psychological cracks like a good David Lynch film. This current issue finds that Sarah’s sister has returned to have her carted off to the madhouse. This inspires the first instance of violence we’ve seen on the Winchester’s mansion. You see, Sarah Winchester, who owns half of the Winchester fortune (the guns) has hired on a platoon of killers to work on her mansion. The workers create and recreate this maze of a mansion. Some doors lead nowhere, and some hallways and stairways lead nowhere. The banging of the hammers are supposed to keep the vengeful spirits that haunt Sarah at bay, but with that first instance of outright violence, order begins to lose against the chaos.
I think I’m addicted to Dept.H. I’ve been waiting an entire month to know what was going to happen next. With a novel, when you finish a chapter, you can turn the page and continue following the characters. Waiting a month is part of the thrill and part of the annoyance with a comic series this good. Like Jeff Lemire (who has his new continuing series out this month), Matt Kindt is working on so many titles right now that it’s amazing how he can keep up the pace. But everything that he touches is gold - Dept.H included.
The first episode of a new sitcom is usually the least funny. You have to set up the world, introduce the characters, usually the situational part is missing, and once everyone is in place, if the show is good, the second episode hits the ground running. The second issue of Jeff Lemire’s (Moon Knight, Old Man Logan, Descender . . . what isn’t he writing right now!) Black Hammer hits the ground running. The first issue was enough to intrigue: An odd assortment of superheroes are trapped on a farm and forced to live a “normal” life. Somehow, a black hammer has something to do with their being there. It was a quick pan across the world we’re entering. I wrote that once we get to know these characters a little more, I would return to the first issue again and watch it spring to life.