Once you know your enemy, you’ll not fear them. Yeah, sounds good.
Schismatic is based on a solid and horrifying premise, where parents fighting against a Lovecraftian cult are separated from their children and spend 10 years imprisoned in mines before managing an escape. Having sneaked into the heart of their enemies’ stronghold (after making some intriguing allies), they come face to face with their worst nightmare: their children. Having spent the whole of the narrative with the adults, this issue flips the script and fills us in on what the kids have been going through (now that we have confirmed that they are alive) for the last decade. It’s not a story of hope, but my goodness is it one that’s thoroughly engaging.
Tomas Ramirez has no aspirations or dreams -- he’s perfectly content to chill at his gas station job and talk to random lizards. But he finds that the latter has become a lot more literal as some of his fellow townspeople are actually shape-shifting reptilian aliens that want to exterminate humanity. Soon, he finds himself fighting in a secret worldwide war for humanity’s survival with an underground resistance force. He’s way over his head, so he does the most logical thing -- get high.
Fans of Lovecraft literature can be divided into two major factions. The first category are the Lovecraft purists, those folks who hold the works penned by H.P. Lovecraft himself as the only canon worthwhile to read and posit that successor works simply fail to capture the cosmic nihilism of the original texts. The other camp is composed of the Cthulhu Mythos fans, the readers hooked into Lovecraft via its most prominent and popular icon. This camp prefers stories that contain the most recognizable elements, such as the presence of Cthulhu, mentions of Miskatonic University, and throwbacks to the town of Innsmouth. This is a Lovecraft universe shaped by August Derleth beginning in the late 1930s and has been refined and expanded on by other authors since.
I have a deeply personal connection to Wendy and Richard Pini’s ElfQuest series. Decades have passed since I was a young kid that discovered a collection at the library. Their version of elves was a breath of fresh air next to series like Dragonlance and Lord of the Rings. These elves are marginalized, forced to be nomadic, and more tribal rather than being an aloof and magical race. On top of the (at the time) unusual take on elves, the art was so impactful that I still have entire panels etched into my mind, even after all this time. The enduring nature of the series is understandable, and each new collection is a reminder of just how luminary the series really is.
Occasionally, a comic makes you step away from it for a bit. You turn the last page, set the book down, and have to walk away. Maybe sleep on it. Mull it over while you shower. And then, you pick it up again and read it cover to cover. Aleister & Adolf is one of those books. It’s impossible to read it to the end and not want to comb through it again to pick up the pieces you missed. There are moments of genuine horror, revelations, and simply strange moments that are difficult to contextualize. Whether that makes the book good or not will vary wildly, but unlike most books, Aleister & Adolf will foster an internal debate, something most comics simply can’t do.
The fight against the Nine Families rages on with the release of Cryptocracy #5. While the last issue ended on the pretty heavy cliffhanger of the demise of Nick, the leader of the Mars family, with this issue, we get to see the consequences of that act.
*For mature readers only
I’ve never read Manara before now. I knew what to expect, but I had no idea what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect the absolute absurd lengths to which he would actually go. These aren’t just sexual exploits between characters with longing desires, but more like a jump down the rabbit hole into subversive oblivion through which some form of social commentary is arrived at. It is perverse erotic comedy. These stories play like creative daydreams of early sexual progressives.
Eisner and Harvey Awards recipient Roger Langridge brings readers an uplifting tale filled with imagination, humor, and sensibility. Abigail and the Snowman, trade paperback edition, showcases Langridge’s ability to craft an award-winning story alongside characters rich with sincerity and likeability.
Imagine shaking someone’s hand and suddenly the hand, as well as everything else connected, begins to melt like hot wax dripping from a candle. Well, Mycroft Holmes doesn’t have to imagine it whatsoever. He experiences this horrifying moment firsthand in the latest issue of The Apocalypse Handbook.
Whatever happened to Sunday night? Used to be a fanboy/fangirl could enjoy The Simpsons then The X-Files and, if feeling really kooky, maybe watch a late-night rerun of a ST: TNG episode. Now, my goodness, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Preacher, Fear the Walking Dead, Westworld, and Fox’s ongoing animation sort-of-domination have made Sunday a Tivo-filling night. Add in John Oliver, and I’m swamped. [Note to self: Stephen Ogg appears in both The Walking Dead (Simon) and Westworld (Rebus) - crossover character? Is he the thing that ties all of Sunday night’s narratives together? Must watch to see if he shows up in GoT (looks a little Night Watch-y), Simpsons, or Preacher.]1