Doctor Aphra 16 Finally Lets Aphra’s Queer Flag Fly

by Mark Mitchell

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

Hey, what’dya know, actual queer people in Star Wars. Continue reading

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Motherlands 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!

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Mark: I grew up in a fairly regimented househould. That’s not a complaint, it instilled a lot of (to my mind) positive values in me, but it did definitely affect my worldview. My parents are deeply religious, and accordingly, their religion guides them to seek out things that have redeeming value. Growing up, this translated into strong feelings on what is and is not appropriate. To give you an example of where the line lay: The Simpsons? Not appropriate. When I reached a more rebellious age I began to watch, when I could, things I knew my parents didn’t approve of, but usually with one hand on the channel changer in case they happened to walk into the room. Of course, as I’ve grown older, I’ve determined for myself where the boundaries of good taste are tread, but from birth, a sense of good old fashioned Puritanical Shame has been instilled in me, and occasionally my palms still get a little sweaty when reading a smutty comic, like my parents are going to walk in on me at any moment.

Simon Spurrier and Rachael Stott’s Motherlands 1 is smut — it’s shrill and pornographic and grotesquely violent — but it’s principled smut. 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

Best of 2017: Best Series

Series

We all love a good one-off or anthology, but it’s the thrill of a series that keeps us coming back to our comic shop week-in, week-out. Whether it’s a brand new creator-owned series or a staple of the big two, serialized storytelling allows for bigger casts, bigger worlds, and bigger adventures. That bigness was on full display this year, as series made grand statement after grand statement about what they were all about. These are our top 10 series of 2017.  Continue reading

Best of 2017: Best Writers

Best Writers

In such a collaborative medium as comics, it can be difficult to say where a writer’s influence on the story ends, but there’s no question on where it begins: words on the page. Whether they thrill, elate, chill, or deflate, the best writers create characters, settings, and situations we want to return to, again and again. These are our top 10 writers of 2017. Continue reading

Best of 2017: Best Issues

Best Issues of 2017

Episodic storytelling is the name of the game in monthly comics. Month- or even multi-year-long arcs are fine, but a series lives and dies by its individual chapters. From self-contained one-offs to issues that recontextualize their respective series, this year had a ton of great issues. Whittling down those issues to a list was no easy task (and we look forward to hearing how your lists differ in the comments), but we would gladly recommend any (and all) of these issues without hesitation. These are our top 10 issues of 2017. Continue reading

Angelic 4 Urges Us to Ask “Why?”

by Spencer Irwin

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

While organized religion is well known for rigid rules and requiring blind faith and obedience, I’ve never thought of them as qualities inherent to actually worshipping God. Malachi 3:10 implores worshippers to put God to the test in order to see for themselves the blessings he’ll bring those who love Him, while Genesis 18 describes a lengthy exchange between God and Abraham where Abraham continually questioned God’s intentions to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, bartering for the lives of any righteous who might be in the city. I can really only speak for Judeo-Christian religions, but the point seems clear nonetheless: asking questions certainly seems to be an acceptable part of navigating faith. Forbidding questions only serves to empower men with agendas, as is the case in Simon Spurrier and Caspar Wijngaard’s Angelic 4. Continue reading

Angelic 3: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Taylor Anderson

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

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Mark: There’s no one-to-one mapping of the different species in Simon Spurrier and Caspar Wijngaard’s Angelic 3 onto our world. It’s not like the Monks represent Group X and the Mans represent Group Y. But at the same time, the world of Angelic is our world, and the experience of the Monks and the Mans is our experience. Continue reading

The Missing Angels of Angelic 2

by Mark Mitchell

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

Once again, the cuddly appearance of the characters in Simon Spurrier and Caspar Wijngaard’s Angelic 2 belie their darker, more manipulative intentions. When we met the Mans at the end of the first issue, they seemed like friendly potential allies to young Qora. But like everyone else Qora has encountered, the Mans have ulterior motives — they think Qora holds the secrets to fully reviving their god, Ay, and they manipulate her into entering the toxic mists in hopes of learning more. Yes, they pair her with one of their own, but it’s one they find useless to their own society. The Mans have low expectations that Qora will find success, but what’s a dead Monk to them? 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