Eternity Girl 4 Skips Through the Comics Multiverse

By Drew Baumgartner

Eternity Girl 4

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

Comics critics are bad at talking about art. I suspect there are a few overlapping causes — some critics are diehard fans of specific characters, so are more invested in what happens to those characters than they are acknowledging that they live in a fictional world created by real human beings; others are (nominally) writers, so are have an affinity towards writing, which doesn’t leave much room (or knowledge) for anything else. And to be clear, I’m not suggesting that I’m any better. As a non-artist, it’s easy for me to get caught up in the most superficial elements of a given artist’s style. Defying that tendency has always been what excites me about artist Sonny Liew. My first exposure to Liew’s work was his original graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, which is part biography, part retrospective on a fictional comics artist, requiring that Liew modulate his style between the docudrama and epistolary elements. The effect was downright magical, creating the sense that there truly was a second artist creating all of the diegetic comics. It effectively defies my tendency to pigeonhole an artist based on “their” style. It’s that skill that Liew taps into with Eternity Girl 4, offering us multiple iterations (and styles) of the life and times of Caroline Sharp. Continue reading

The Timelines Dissociate in Eternity Girl 3

By Drew Baumgartner

Eternity Girl 3

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

Spoiler alert for season one of Westworld, but I’m now deeply suspicions of non-explicit linearity in sci-fi. Fiction has long featured flashbacks and achronological storytelling, but usually by being up-front about when and where those things are happening. Westworld reminded us that stories don’t have to be transparent about when things are happening in relation to one another, and with characters that are impervious to age, we might make bad assumptions (or be intentionally misled). It’s unclear to me how much this applies to Eternity Girl, but that’s exactly why I’m so wary of jumping to any conclusions. Continue reading

Losing (and Taking) Control in Eternity Girl 2

By Spencer Irwin

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

Caroline Sharp isn’t quite all there. I don’t mean that to be a dig at her mental health — she’s literally never just in one place at one time, but rather, being pulled in several directions at once, her consciousness torn between past and present, fantasy and reality, the planet Earth and the far reaches of space. I don’t think it’s the more far-out aspects of this situation that bothers Caroline — it’s the fact that she can’t control it. Continue reading

Eternity Girl 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Spencer Irwin


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

Mark: People who suffer from chronic depression are often very good at putting up facades of happiness; it’s part of why suicide can be surprising to the friends and family of the person who took their life. These facades are a coping mechanism for a depression sufferer in a number of ways, including stopping people from inquiring about their happiness. If you look happy — if you act “normal” — then people are more apt to leave you alone. But keeping up appearances for the benefit of others is exhausting, and sometimes the facade breaks down at inopportune moments — at a friend’s wedding, the night before a big paper is due, in front of your co-workers at the office.

The performative aspect of keeping up appearances is made literal in Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew’s Eternity Girl 1, a new title in DC’s Young Animal line. Continue reading

Bug! The Adventures of Forager 6: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Drew Baumgartner

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

“Come now — what’s more believable? A teddy bear that talks? A ghost girl who doesn’t? Spontaneous resurrections? Infinite Realities? Or the simple fact that you’re dead?”

-Chagra, Bug! The Adventures of Forager 6

Patrick: Longtime readers of this site will know that I’ve got a limited amount of patience for stories that refuse to ground themselves. Often, this is literal — my favorite Green Lantern stories are those that tie back to Coast City, or Earth, or even just Hal Jordan. My attachment to the characters wane when they start to slip through time, space or even layers of reality. As such, I’ve always had something of a hard time with Fourth World stories and the whole cast of New Genesis characters. They’re fucking weirdos, in weird situations, somehow both a part of and separate from the multiverse. Lee, Michael and Laura Allred have been telling a story that leans into my biggest fears about Kirby’s opus, but wraps it all up by insisting on the purity of the simplest explanation: what you see is what you get. And they make “what you see” something truly worth the readers’ time.

Continue reading

Bug! the Adventures of Forager 5: Discussion

By Michael DeLaney and Spencer Irwin

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

Michael: Comic book superheroes and their exploits are now more mainstream than ever. We take Kryptonian sun gods, spider-proportionally-strong teenagers, and wise-cracking space raccoons at face value — most likely because they’re presented to us as “real” on the big screen. In the face of this mainstream, watered down mass appeal, I find it important to recognize and celebrate the stories that embrace their truly bizarre and outrageous origins. Case in point: Bug! The Adventures of Forager 5. Continue reading

Reverence Meets Irreverence in Bug! The Adventures of Forager 4

by Drew Baumgartner

Bug! The Adventures of Forager 4

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

Dense mythologies are both the greatest strength and weakness of modern comics. We could spend ages parsing out how the major companies have approached those mythologies in recent years, but all of those broader approaches are largely irrelevant when talking about Bug! The Adventures of Forager, which continues to march to the beat of its own drum. It’s attitude is deeply reverent of Jack Kirby’s contributions to the DC mythos, systematically touching on each forgotten storyline from his time there, while somehow also taking a completely irreverent “don’t sweat the small stuff” approach to the material. Completist Kirby fans will recognize every situation Forager encounters, but newcomers (like me) are left largely in the shoes of Forager, who mostly sees all of this stuff as kooky weirdness. It’s a balance that shouldn’t work nearly as well as it does, somehow knitting all of this kooky weirdness into the dense mythology it always was. Continue reading

Allusions Become the Text in Bug! The Adventures of Forager 3

by Drew Baumgartner

Bug! The Adventures of Forager 3

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

That this series riffs on the entirely of Jack Kirby’s DC work isn’t just a given — it’s a primary draw. And there’s plenty of work to touch upon. While this series is tangentially related to Kirby’s well-known Fourth World mythology, much of the focus has been on Kirby’s lesser-known DC creations. But what fascinates me about this issue isn’t just the presence of deep-cut characters like Atlas (and his vendetta against Hyssa the Lizard King), but that it does so while also making allusions to non-comics works. The effect is a densely literate work, as crystalline as the shards of “possible outcomes” that feature so prominently in this issue. Continue reading

Remixing Jack Kirby in Bug! The Adventures of Forager 2

by Drew Baumgartner

Bug! The Adventures of Forager 2

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

How do we characterize a remix? As a self-aware riff on whatever work is being remixed, it feels somewhat postmodern, but in my mind, remixes don’t necessarily share the skepticism and ironic distance we associate with postmodernism. Indeed, many remixes might be better understood as reverent tributes to their source material, taking what I’d argue is a decidedly romantic approach: offering an unabridged window into how the remixer sees a given work of art (or entire oeuvre). I was first struck by this idea when listening to The Beatles’ Love, which feels very much like bouncing around inside a Beatles fan’s head, but it came back in a big way as I read Bug! The Adventures of Forager 2, an issue that takes the same approach to comics mythology (both DC’s and others). Continue reading

Bug! The Adventures of Forager 1

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Bug! The Adventures of Forager 1, originally released May 10, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: One of the inherent problems with superhero stories is that the characters are often immediately knowable. That guy in the bat costume? He’s Batman, dead parents, war on crime, world’s greatest detective. You know him. You know his secret identity, his home, his son, his butler, his past, his present, his future. That makes Batman familiar, comfortable. In Bug! The Adventures of Forager 1, Lee and Michael Allred make an argument for the power of not knowing, striking out boldly with a story that is as enigmatic as their main character. The thing is, they deploy just enough alluring clues and leading hints to get readers guessing, leveraging what we think we know against what we’re still ignorant of. It’s a trip. Continue reading