Infidel 5: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Drew Baumgartner

Infidel 5

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

The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. […] None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.

Toni Morrison

Patrick: There is a lot to be stressed out about in 2018. One of the more insidious is also one of the more pointless: racism. It’s a series of prejudices and assumptions based on lies passed down by generations of systems put in place to keep the powerful in power. It is literally senseless. But it is also tenacious as fuck. Whatever else is going on, the looming specter of prejudice is going to warp everything else, muting solutions to all other societal problems. Pornshak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell’s Infidel 5 takes this uncomfortable truth and and shows just how persistent racism can be, even in the face of literal demons. Continue reading

Genuine Jump Scares in Infidel 4

by Drew Baumgartner

Infidel 4

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


I’m so enamored of Infidel‘s social commentary, it’s easy to neglect just how skillful of a haunted house story it is. And I say that as someone who isn’t into horror generally or horror comics, specifically. I’m sure the social commentary elements help make the ghouls of this series feel so insidious, but this series manages to be scary far beyond its concepts. That is, the effectiveness of the horror relies on the skills of writer Pornsak Pichetshote and artist Aaron Campbell, and issue 4 perfectly demonstrates how they deliver scares in totally unexpected ways. Continue reading

The Worst Horrors in Infidel 3 are Real

by Drew Baumgartner

Infidel 3

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


Last month, Patrick remarked on how both real and scary Infidel is — that is, the horrors of this book come from societies worst (but all too real) problems. And they really do seem to come from those problems. For some reason, when I read the solicit for this series, I imagined that the specters in this series somehow caused the islamophobia that runs rampant throughout Aisha’s building; that it was somehow responsible for making people hateful. As we spend more time with them, however, (and as more residents seem to encounter them), it seems like they aren’t so much the cause of the bigotry, but the result of it. That is, they are the manifestation of the fear minorities feel when encountering bigotry. Continue reading

Axes of Horror in Infidel 2

by Patrick Ehlers

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


Infidel is tough for me to write about because it is so damn real and so damn scary. To look at how Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell are successful is to look deep into what scares me about the world. We’re talking about highly entrenched societal ills like racism, xenophobia, terrorism, murder. Infidel delivers on what’s scary about all of those enormous concepts, but perhaps more importantly gives similar horrific weight to the mundane inconveniences and atrocities of modern life and connects them to the aforementioned huge horrors. Do you feel safe, a few steps removed from accidentally throwing a loved one down the stairs? Well, joke’s on you: the spectre of Infidel is as close to you as a package of strawberries rotting on your kitchen counter. Continue reading

Infidel 1: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Ryan Desaulniers

Infidel 1

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

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

Drew: I’m not sure there’s anything we fear quite like the unknown. Whether it’s xenophobia or just things that go bump in the night, every fear is defined by the things we don’t (yet) understand. And while our society has legitimized the former (effectively forgetting that it’s as nonsensical as the latter) all fears spring from that same well of the unknown. Which is what makes Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell’s Infidel so alluring; they’ve brought those fears back together, using supernatural elements to illustrate the more pressing real-world fears its characters live with. Continue reading

Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special 1

harley quinn valentine

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Harley Quinn Valentine’s Special 1, originally released February 11th, 2015.

Spencer: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti had a rough road ahead of them when tasked with refashioning Harley Quinn into the star of her own comic book. A villain protagonist must walk a fine line, being sympathetic enough to earn the audience’s affection while still villainous enough to avoid losing the spark that drew readers to them in the first place. Conner and Palmiotti’s approach to Harley Quinn has often involved pitting their villain protagonist against people even worse than she is, having her stand up for animal rights, and giving her a sort-of family in the form of her tenants; judging from sales numbers, it’s been a successful tactic, but has Harley become a better person in the process? Despite being a holiday special, that’s the question at the heart of Harley Quinn Valentine’s Special 1, and it’s a surprisingly rich question to ask, even if the answer is a bit unclear, and the question often muddied and buried within the oversized issue’s many tangents and asides. Continue reading