An Unwelcoming Welcome in Curse Words 11

By Patrick Ehlers

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

Curse Words 11 ends with a welcome letter from writer Charles Soule. Is the end of the issue maybe kind of a weird place to welcome his readers? Well, that’s the trick — it’s not particularly welcoming, and neither is the rest of the issue. You’ve got a weird issue of a weird series in your hands, and if the rapid expansion of cast and the mythology is making your head spin, then you’re feeling exactly what Soule and artist Ryan Browne want to you feel. This is Curse Words in all of its cold, unwelcoming glory: which of course means that it’s impossibly fun. Continue reading

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“High” and “Low” Art Collide in The Wicked + The Divine 1923AD

by Spencer Irwin

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

The difference between “high” and “low” art has always seemed rather arbitrary and elitist to me, but that hasn’t stopped debates about the two from raging in one way or another for centuries. That conflict is the heart of The Wicked + The Divine 1923AD, manifesting both in the actual plot and in the format in which Kieron Gillen chooses to tell his story, a tale and a format that can really only serve as celebrations of all kinds of art: “high,” “low,” or otherwise. Continue reading

Obliterated Boundaries in Vs 1

By Patrick Ehlers

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

While the concept of war is terrifying on its own, the actual reality of it is alien to a lot of us. Myself included, and I have a brother, a sister, and a brother-in-law that have served in the US Army and seen combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. What it really means to be “at war” is far enough divorced from my day-to-day life, that I can comfortably sort it into an experience that someone else has. Vs takes the “otherness” of war and smashes it into the everyday, making the reader question the separation between entertainment, spectacle, and violence. Continue reading

Relishing the Details in Outcast 33

by Drew Baumgartner

Outcast 30

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

One of the most distinctive stylistic choices of Outcast has always been its use of small insert shots, inset into larger panels. Early in the series, those inserts were largely used to capture small scene details and gestures, but as the cast has grown, they’ve increasingly focused on faces, offering us the emotional state of several characters at a glance — especially those who might not be actively participating in the action/conversation of the scene. We might understand that as reflective of Kyle’s own shift in priorities, focusing less on the textural trappings of his life and more on the people he loves, but the effect is a series that now has an audience surrogate on virtually every page, reflecting our own shock and horror back at us. Continue reading

Days of Hate 1: Discussion

by Ryan Desaulniers and Patrick Ehlers

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

Fom ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Ryan D:  The Capulets and Montagues. The Hatfields and the McCoys. The Shiite and the Sunni. These famous rivalries span generations, with their common point being that the reason which the fighting began has long since ceased to matter. The conflict now revolves around the most recent slight or atrocity perpetrated by the other side. In the aptly named Days of Hate, writer Ales Kot and artist Danijel Zezelj bring us a speculative world where our current political divide is seen played out to one natural conclusion in which the catalyst has been lost in four long years of partisan turmoil and war. Continue reading

Black Magick 10 Defines its Allegory

by Drew Baumgartner

Black Magick 10

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

[W]e conceive the Devil as a necessary part of a respectable view of cosmology. Ours is a divided empire in which certain ideas and emotions and actions are of God, and their opposites are of Lucifer. It is as impossible for most men to conceive of a morality without sin as of an earth without ‘sky’. Since 1692 a great but superficial change has wiped out God’s beard and the Devil’s horns, but the world is still gripped between two diametrically opposed absolutes. The concept of unity, in which positive and negative are attributes of the same force, in which good and evil are relative, ever-changing, and always joined to the same phenomenon — such a concept is still reserved to the physical sciences and to the few who have grasped the history of ideas.

Arthur Miller, The Crucible

I don’t think I fully appreciated The Crucible until this last year. Or, more precisely, without any direct reference for McCarthyism, I couldn’t fully appreciate the allegory that underpins The Crucible. That we once again live in a world where problems can be made up and pinned on innocent individuals gives The Crucible an unfortunately renewed relevance, suggesting once again that we haven’t come as far from 1690s Salem as we might like to think. Black Magick 10 carries a similar allegorical weight, also centering around the persecution of witches, with the obvious difference that the witches in Black Magick actually exist. In this way, the parallels to our modern political climate (and, heck, that of McCarthyism) might be stronger — the persecuted class does actually exist, they just aren’t the scapegoats society has made them out to be. It reflects the attitudes that politicizes someone’s very identity, suggesting that peace and happiness should only be reserved for those who conform to society’s norms. Continue reading

“Adventures” in Aging in The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson 1

By Spencer Irwin

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

Where are we gonna go, now that our twenties are over?

The Menzingers,Tellin’ Lies

I turned 30 last year, and it was both as overwhelming and as underwhelming as I’d been led to expect. It was underwhelming in the sense that I didn’t (and still don’t) suddenly feel any different, but also overwhelming in the sense that it’s a major life milestone, a pretty decisive end to my youth. You’re “supposed” to have your life together by 30, to have some sort of direction, but so many of us (especially now in the Millennial generation) don’t. I often feel just as aimless as I did at 18, only with the added bonus of feeling like my opportunities to find that direction have all but vanished. I’m not necessarily full of regret, but I still can’t help but to sometimes look back at my youth with nostalgia for all the possibilities I once had, and I’m rather certain I’m not alone in that regard. Nick Wilson, the titular star of Eddie Gorodetsky, Marc Andreyko, and Stephen Sadowski’s The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson, certainly knows how I feel. Sure, he once had all the direction in the world, but now he’s as aimless as the rest of us. Continue reading

Angelic 5 Reveals the Origins of the Universe

by Mark Mitchell


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

There’s a unique gut-punch to finding out you’ve been lied to, a pit-in-the-stomach loss of faith in the person or institution that betrayed you. After four issues of laying the groundwork, Simon Spurrier and Caspar Wijngaard reveal the origins of Angelic’s world in Angelic 5. There have been enough hints throughout the previous issues that nothing here comes as too much of a surprise to readers, but watching Qora and Complainer learn the truth about their origin is still hard. Continue reading

Smooth Transitions in Kill Or Be Killed 15

By Ryan Desaulniers

Kill or be Killed 15

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

Despite all of the guessing and theorizing which this title forces upon the audience in regards to the narrative, after fourteen issues of KOBK, it was safe to say that readers know at least a little about the world and its rules. We know there’s a haunted young man who lives in New York who spends time with his on-again/off-again girlfriend who also runs off to murder mob bosses in town. We’re used to some big swerves at the end of any given issue regarding the nature of the Beast that plagues Dylan by now, too. What caught me completely by surprise in issue fifteen, however, is the transition out of New York City, and how cleanly the creative team handled it. Continue reading

Too Many Premises in Ice Cream Man 1

By Patrick Ehlers

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

There is an often-repeated, often misunderstood, rule of improv called “yes and.” What it boils down to is that when you’re in an scene with another person, it is your job as a performer to not deny any of the reality your partner has set up, and everything you say should add to that reality. Mechanically, it looks like this: you hear what your partner said, acknowledge and affirm it, and then add something that respects what has already been established. This is great for starting scenes, but beyond the first couple lines, the “and” half of the equation gets dangerous. That’s how you start to get President Michael Vick drilling for pirates’ gold on Jupiter. See how fast that sentence got away from me? That’s too many premises to deal with in any way that makes sense, and is totally divorced from reality. Continue reading