At its core, Kill Me is a really simple story. It’s about a man who ruins his life, then has a chance to go back in time and fix things. But, surrounding that basic concept are a whole lot of other events that make the story seem much more complicated than it is.
There have been any number of versions in the past of the story of Joseph Merrick—a real person who lived in the late 19th century and whose deformities earned him the nickname “Elephant Man”—including a stage play and a 1980 film starring Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt. Merrick deliberately doesn’t follow the path of any of these previous versions, though, and makes a point of saying so. It’s an all-new take on the life of Merrick, but still at least partly based in fact. I haven’t seen any other versions of Merrick’s story, so I can’t say how similar or dissimilar it is from any of them, but, as far as I can tell, this one does seem to be wholly unique.
Andrez Bergen, writer of the comic anthology Black/White, may be one of the few people who loves noir more than I do. Noir elements are staples in a lot of his work, from the broadly comedic, supernatural, hard-boiled detective antics of his “Roy and Suzie” stories to the dark dystopia of his novel Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat. Black/White is a collection of a number of Bergen’s specifically noir-based stories, illustrated in comic form by a number of different artists. Because of the different artists, each story has a completely different visual style, ranging from high contrast to realistic to somewhat cartoony. The only thing they have in common, other than Bergen’s words and a noir motif, is that they’re all in . . . well, black and white.
As the story in City: The Mind in the Machine continues to unfold in Issue #2, we get to explore further some of the moral conundrums hinted at in the first issue: security vs. privacy, the consequences of ultimate power, etc. Shy, unassuming Ben now has his eyes—and his mind—directly connected to every surveillance camera in the city, both private and public. With a little practice, he can control them and switch between them just by thinking about it. But, more than that, he can also control just about anything else that’s connected to the network: traffic lights, streetcars, facial recognition software, and more.
Captain Midnight Archives Volume 2, a collection of the classic superhero’s (mostly standalone) adventures from the late 1940s, has a distinctly different tone from that of the first volume. For one thing, Volume 1 took place during World War II and specifically focused on Captain Midnight thwarting the Nazis. Here in Volume 2, the war is over and the Captain has turned his incredible intellect towards loftier pursuits.
Spy fiction can be difficult to do successfully. Its well-worn tropes make it difficult to play seriously, but its already over-the-top nature also makes it difficult to parody—or at least, difficult to parody well. It takes a lot of talent and careful effort to craft a compelling, entertaining spy story. Velvet has been succeeding in that task with flying colors, though, and I’m pleased to note that Issue #4 is no exception.
Love is in the air at Fanboy Comics! In this magical month of romance and enchantment, the FBC Staff and Contributors decided to take a moment to stop and smell the roses. In the week leading up to Valentine's Day, a few members of the Fanboy Comics crew will be sharing their very personal "Love Letters" with our readers, addressed to the ones that they adore the most.
Dear Hitchhiker’s Guide,
How do I love thee? I won’t count the ways, but if I did, you can bet there’d be 42. I’ve fallen in love with so many books in my life, more than I could ever count, but when someone asks me to list my favorites, I don’t even have to think about it. You’ll always be right at the top. You’ve been with me through good times and bad. Through Vogons and Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters. And, whenever I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle, you tell me “Don’t Panic,” and cheer me up like Eccentrica Gallumbits, the—OK, I’ll stop with the references now.
City: The Mind in the Machine #1 is an interesting beginning to what promises to be a fun series. Set in the near future, it depicts a security-obsessed San Francisco, under the constant watch of 40,000 cameras. It’s implied that this is practically Big Brother-level surveillance, and that it makes catching and prosecuting criminals a piece of cake—though, honestly, there are about 10 times that many CCTV cameras in present-day London.
As far as superheroes go, the original Captain Midnight was nothing special. I reviewed a collection of his adventures from the 1940s not long ago, and, while they were mildly entertaining, I was generally less than impressed. This new version, however, succeeds on all the levels where the original failed, and it got me invested in Captain Midnight and his adventures in a way that the original comic couldn’t.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to say that the Mr. Peabody and Sherman comic is back in full force. If you’ll recall, after a stellar beginning, the next couple of issues weren’t quite up to par. But, Issue #4 may very well be the best of the lot. The puns are terrible (in the best way), the stories are silly, the historical figures are clueless, and it’s packed with obscure references. I laughed and smiled my way through the whole thing.