Misplaced Trust in Coda 2

by Drew Baumgartner

Coda 2

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

There’s a scene in Coda 1 where our protagonist hesitates to smell the wine he’s just been handed — he knows his host too well to trust them. It’s a revealing moment that also cleverly sets up a spiked wine gag a few pages later, driving home the point that nobody in this world can be trusted, least of all the characters we know. And it’s a point Simon Spurrier and Matías Bergara reemphasize towards the start of this issue, revealing their glowing wizard’s tower to be little more than a dank cave. The protagonist’s senses may be as difficult to fool as ever, but now we have to know not to trust our own eyes. And yet, the rest of the issue lulls us into putting our guards down, allowing us to believe we’ve found a refuge from the violence and deceit of the outside world. Which makes it all the more shocking when we learn all of those assumptions were bad, and that there really is no honesty left in this world. Continue reading

The Past is Rosy in Lumberjanes 50

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The ancient Greeks had an idea that the past was always better than the present. They arrived at this notion by comparing their present society to those which existed in ancient times. When they did this, they compared the men of their present day to the likes of Heracles and Achillies, which explains why they thought of their time as inferior. Modern day society has the propensity to look at the past as better than the present in the same way. The fact that our current president won the election by claiming the 1950s were the pinnacle of society proves this true. Still, consensus these days is that the past isn’t all that rosy, but that would be a hard point to prove if you were using Lumberjanes 50 as evidence. Continue reading

Conscience as a Bug and as a Feature in Coda 1

by Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

There’s little point in being nice to people unless the act of being kind itself brings you happiness. Rude people are not unhappy — not categorically, anyway — because they don’t care that they’re rude, and there’s an undeniable freedom in not caring. Having a conscience is arguably a bug as well as a feature, since it’s easier to achieve your goals if you don’t care about the people you hurt in your pursuit of them.

In Simon Spurrier and Matias Bergara’s Coda 1, former bard Hum is determined to rescue his wife from a clan of savage orc-like creatures at the cost of everything and everyone else; as the issue closes he’s willing to potentially sacrifice the population of an entire city if it gets him one step closer to her. But it’s clear that Hum’s selfishness can’t last, and Coda is poised to be a series about one man in a terrible situation learning to put others above himself. Continue reading

Sticking Close to the Source Material in Labyrinth Coronation 2

By Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

In this site’s Best Writers of 2017 list, we praised Simon Spurrier as one of the best — if not the best — world-builders in comics today. So it’s not that Labyrinth Chronicles 2 is bad or boring or otherwise deficient, it’s just that it feels like a waste of Spurrier’s considerable talents. At this point, the world of Labyrinth Chronicles is defined by the movie on which it’s based, and even though there is some opportunity for invention (The Owl King and Sir Skubbin are original creations), Spurrier seems boxed in by the creative choices of a film made over 30 years ago. Continue reading

It’s Not Fun Being a Cassandra in Lumberjanes 48

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

In the grand scheme of things, it’s tempting to think that any conversation that centers on horoscopes is going to be pretty innocent, right? Well, not so fast. There have been multiple occasions when, for some reason or another, I’ve found myself talking horoscopes with someone who believes they’re real while I’m convinced they’re a load of crap. If anything else, it’s the vaguery of horoscopes that gets me. If a horoscope isn’t specific in any way, then of course a person can find ways to connect it to their own life. But if horoscopes were eerily accurate, would that change my mind? Continue reading

Japanese Influences in Lumberjanes 46

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Being a middle school teacher helps me keep my ear to ground when it comes to trends that the young folk are into these days. Of these trends, one that seems to be the most popular is manga. Manga isn’t new to American and it certainly isn’t new to pop-culture. However, it has now become a mainstay in youth culture, or are least middle school culture. Most kids have read at least one manga by the time they’re in 7th grade, and it’s safe to say more have read this version of pictoral stories than their American (or European) counterparts. As such, it’s no surprise Ayme Sotuyo is the chosen artist of the Lumberjanes series, as it’s the perfect style for a comic written with young readers in mind.

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Abbott 1: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Mark Mitchell

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Patrick: I love the moment in every episode of X-Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer where whatever otherworldly threat our heroes are facing reveals itself to be alarmingly similar to some current societal ill. Sometimes it comes late to the story, and it’s not until two episodes into a three-episode arc that you realize these demons are riffing on toxic masculinity. I suppose that’s been the M.O. for science- and genre-fiction forever: lure the reader in with the hook and then gradually reel them in to the message. Writer Saladin Ahmed and illustrator Sami Kivelä work that formula in reverse in Abbott 1. The setting, a racially divided Detroit in 1972, and the supernatural mystery are slowly collapsed into one cohesive experience. Continue reading

Monster Malaise Sets In in Lumberjanes 45

by Taylor Anderson

Lumberjanes 45

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

At this point, the Lumberjanes have encountered just about any type of weird monster/creature that you can dream up. They’ve faced giant stone statues, huge ravens, ghosts, and dinosaurs just to name a few. When all is said and done, there’s not really a whole lot of things the Janes haven’t faced. As the 45 issue of the series shows, this is beginning to take a tole on the Janes, and, in some ways, perhaps the creative team as well.

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The Seeds of Doubt in Judas 1

By Drew Baumgartner

Judas 1

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

In a religion built on redemption and forgiveness, one man had to sacrifice himself for everyone…and it wasn’t Jesus.

This text appears in the back of this issue, serving as a kind of tagline for the series. This might put it a bit too bluntly (I can almost hear the record scratch on that ellipsis), but the notion that Judas is the true victim of the story of his betrayal is an intriguing one. After all, if Jesus needed to suffer and die in order to redeem humanity, then he must have needed a betrayer — Judas is essential to our salvation. Moreover, while Jesus’s suffering was great, it was temporary, and was ultimately followed by eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. That seems a heck of a lot better than eternal damnation. That bitterness creeps in at the edges of Jeff Loveness and Jakub Rebelka’s Judas 1, but it’s really a manifestation of something much more profound: doubt. Continue reading

Lumberjanes 44 Isn’t Just For Kids

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Lumberjanes is ostensibly a comic geared towards a younger audience. The young protagonists, the summer camp setting, and the the fantasy elements all suggest a title that is purposely trying to engage young comic readers. There’s nothing wrong with that and in fact it’s vitally important to foster a love of comics in young people by making titles expressly for their consumption. However, as with all art, Lumberjanes frequently isn’t heralded as much a titles written for older audiences. But as issue 44 shows, there’s no reason why that should be the case.

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