As I dug into my Kickstarter pile, I thought it was time to dive into Pneumatic Cases, a Victorian Steampunk mystery by John Wilson. If you’re a fan of The Thin Man movie series (1934) based on the novels by Dashiell Hammett, then you’ll immediately recognize the similarities between the two lead characters in the comic and the movie. They are married. They love each other and work as a team, and the female character is the snarky one. Why do I point this out? Because we don’t see enough of this type of relationship in storytelling, and I think it’s important to see relationships where both parties love and respect one another. Now, on with the show…
I have always thought that tardigrades would make great sci-fi creatures. They’re the perfect combination of freaky and adorable. If you don’t know what a tardigrade is, they’re microscopic creatures that look a bit like bears, a bit like pigs, but mostly nothing like anything else you’ve seen before. They can survive in virtually any conditions, including the vacuum of space, and are functionally immortal.
I'm noticing a trend in my reading habits. If a graphic novel has ghost in the name, I'm almost certainly going to pick it up. I love ghosts! From a storytelling perspective, they immediately offer up hundreds of different possibilities. Sometimes, this is as simple as a character getting to interact with a lost friend or family member, but, in its extreme, it can open up an entire world of magic on a single conceit. Take Paranorman or Coco; both build expansive worlds just on the question of what is the afterlife. All My Friends Are Ghosts reminds me of the latter, taking the idea of someone who sees ghosts and transforming it into an entire lore.
The penultimate issue of Ronin Island has been released, and what an issue. As the Shogun makes a final attempt at the island, Hana and Kenichi finally speak to the underlying themess of racism and classism that have been a part of each of their journeys. It’s wonderful, and it’s emotional. Pak is a phenomenal writer, and I can’t help but relate to the frustrations felt by Hana. By telling a story so far from where I am and in such a different time period, he’s managed to speak to the most haunting truths of our modern society - right here in the great old US of A.
I love a good, real-life twist in a superhero comic, and Stealth gives me just that. For decade,s we have read superhero stories, and, after a while, they tend to get repetitive and stale. It takes a twist like putting Daredevil in jail or letting Doc Ock take over Peter Parker's body to give it life again.
Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? The Jim Henson's The Storyteller series does it again with a new series of ghost stories. If you are not familiar with this line through BOOM! Studios, it is a series of short stories told by a character called ”the storyteller” with his faithful dog at his side, listening to his tales. The stories themselves do, in fact, come from The Jim Henson Company and continue to carry the torch of telling touching, mythical fairy tales (like The Dark Crystal).
Horror comics are an acquired taste, and one that I usually find hard to stomach. That’s why I’m more than surprised that I loved the first 2 issues of The Red Mother as much as I did. This is a supernatural horror story with a clear footing in reality - a comic book genre that is leaps and bounds out of my usual comfort zone. I’ve always been a fan of the “cape and cowl” comics. You know, superhero books full of SNIKTs, THWIPs, and BAMFs. There is comfort in familiarity, but I’m well aware that the medium is limitless, and the comic landscape can support any type of storytelling.
Blackwood is a wonderfully strange and absolutely charming series. It poses the following question: What if a group of modern-day, Breakfast Club-like, outcast college kids ended up at what is essentially Miskatonic University from the H.P. Lovecraft universe?
The fourth and final chapter in the first story arc of Tales from Harrow County is haunting and beautiful.
We're back one last time with the Young Adventurer's Guide series of Dungeons & Dragons books. At least for now, Dungeons & Dragons: Wizards & Spells will be the last in a series that captured my heart back in July of 2019. If you haven’t been following the series, it began with Warriors & Weapons, followed by Monsters & Creatures, and then Dungeons & Tombs. Now, Wizards & Spells wraps up the ensemble by diving into the magic at the heart of D&D.