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!

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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!

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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

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

She-Hulk 12

Alternating Currents: She-Hulk 12, Drew and Spencer

Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing She-Hulk 12, originally released February 18th, 2015. 

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And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory.

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Drew: I fully appreciate what’s disturbing about historical revisionism — the above passage is undoubtedly the scariest thing I read in high school — but I’m less certain why people seem to be so opposed to similar revisions to fictional continuities. Retcons (or retroactive continuity) might be one of the most reviled devices in all of comicdom, but I honestly don’t understand why. Nobody is more invested in the idea that each issue matters than the publishers (or at least their marketing teams), so fears that a single retcon represents a first step on a slippery slope strike me as totally alarmist. Instead, publishers tend to use retcons to clean up continuities that have become overly complicated after decades of embellishment. Still, being told the opposite of a fact we know is unsettling, even if the “fact” describes something in a fictional world. It’s that exact phenomenon — that the facts both do and don’t matter — that makes She-Hulk 12 so much fun. Continue reading