Erik Cheski

Erik Cheski

Everything done in Chicago comes with strings attached.  In this alternate history epic, Chicago’s streets are patrolled not only by the police, but superpowered humans who work for the Chicago Organized Workers League, a union of super and non-superheroes who are the check to the supers that fall on the other side of the law.  Allegorical to the union struggles of the same era, the story magnifies the power moves and underhanded dealings that built the modern metropolis that stands today.

What lies on the other side, in the great, undiscovered country from which no traveler returns?

In Chris Sebela’s Ghost series, the answer is cool powers and a whole lot of butt-kicking.  Separated from her mortal coil and her memories, Ghost puts herself in the way of baddies, trying to sling their nasty mojo on the mortals of Chicago.  With a sweet array of powers and surprise pretty much always on her side, she wails on the things that go bump in the night with a vengeance.

Paul Revere, John Henry, Casey Jones (not the one from TMNT), Al Gore.  Huge figures of the American tapestry whose lives became shadowed by the legends they became.  There are stories that folks would tell each other before the advent of TV, YouTube, and smartphones took away the need of entertaining each other with stories in parlors and at the bar.

Regular Show has some ridiculous whackadoo going on, always.  The brilliance of the show for me is just how quickly the world goes from realistic to utterly bonkers in no time flat, and it works for me because of certain characters who can straddle the two with class and understated machismo.  Enter Skips.  This guy hangs out with Death, gained immortality and incredible maturity in a single incident, and had a knockout appearance in one of my favorite shorts of all time from the Kaboom! Free Comic Book Day issue with a 20-sided die.  Seriously, maybe the best series of panels I’ve seen EVER.

Spring Heeled Jack was a British folk tale that grew up from a string of attacks on young women during the Victorian Era, around the same time as Jack the Ripper.  They said he looked liked a devil and had clawed hands.  Terrorizing Londoners, he often escaped capture by leaping impossible distances into the air over walls and onto buildings, thus earning his name.

Swords, sorcery, mystical creatures, and elementals fill the world of Michael Moorcock’s epic fantasy world.  Though this is my first time venturing to Melinbone and her Emperor, as someone who grew up on Dungeons & Dragons in the '80s, I feel right at home.  Magic swords, epic quests, and gods dallying in the lives of poor confused mortals . . . such grand fun!

And then, there were four.

The second issue certainly cashes in on the promise of the first, and though there are some issues, I think this will be a series I’m going to enjoy.

There are a lot of storytellers who like to cloak and hide their lessons in fantastical tales of might and magic, or in the actions of anthropomorphized animals who allow them to reduce complex characters to acceptable stereotypes, because they’re not human.  Jennifer Crute is NOT one of those storytellers.

Inheritance can always cause strife in a family, siblings vying for position and influence over each other with parents or relatives, striving to attain some legacy from them, either monetary or property.  How much harder must it be if the property involved had its own goals?

I love David Petersen’s Mouse Guard series, and some of my favorite stories are the ones that have been released as part of the Archaia Free Comic Book Day anthologies, which have always disappeared quickly from the shelves.  These stories have been collected in a lovely edition, with a couple of new ones added to the mix.

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