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

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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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Mythology Bites in Lumberjanes 43

by Taylor Anderson

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

I recently read an article which argued the point that serialized tv is a “disease.” Perhaps a bit hyperbolic, but the author had a good point. In some cases, TV shows forgo quality in the name of developing mythology. My ever-treasured LOST was cited as a prime example of this, and I had a hard time disagreeing with it being so characterized, as I remembered scenes of a church filled with the dead spirits of the show’s main characters. This got me thinking: I’ve always treasured mythology building in my narratives, but does that mean its always good for the story or content? As if to answer this question, Lumberjanes 43 was published and the answer seems to be a mighty, no.

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The Woods 36: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Drew Baumgartner

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

Spencer: Drew and I had the immense pleasure of chatting with The Woods artist Michael Dialynas at New York Comic Con a few weeks ago, and early in our conversation Dialynas caught me off guard by asking me how I wanted The Woods to wrap up. I like endings, and I like endings that surprise me, but I’ve also been following these characters for over three years now, so I answered, “Well, I just want a happy ending for everyone. Especially Isaac.” Dialynas proceeded to sign my comic with the words “I’m so sorry.”

Final issues are always about wrapping things up for beloved characters, but after that conversation, I especially approached The Woods 36 trying to figure out what kind of life each character could possibly live going forward. What kind of futures have Dialynas and writer James Tynion IV granted their creations?  Continue reading

Godshaper 6: Discussion

by Spencer Irwin and Drew Baumgartner

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

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Spencer: It’s a marvelous thing to watch a series come into focus — to reach that eureka moment where you finally get what a creator is trying to say, where a series’ message finally clicks. Simon Spurrier and Jonas Goonface’s Godshaper 6 has been one of those moments for me, a finale that brings all the themes the series has been exploring together in a satisfying, yet completely unexpected fashion. Continue reading