February 21, 2018

, , , , , ,   |  

Catch It at the Comic Shop February 21, 2018

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

Scott's Picks:

Hellboy And The BPRD 1955 Burning Season One Shot by Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson, Paulo Rivera, Joe Rivera & Dave Stewart, published by Dark Horse.
It took me a while to warm up to this series.  It's not quite Hellboy and it's not quite B.P.R.D. but it leans more toward the John Arcudi-penned B.P.R.D. series as it's more of a team book.  Roberson is getting his chance to really build this new cast, developing some characters that are as rich as any we've seen in the Mignolaverse.  The Rivera art team returns as well, sure to give this one-shot a wonderfully classic feel.



Future Quest Presents #7 by Phil Hester, Steve Rude and John Kalisz, published by DC Comics.
BIRDMANNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
STEVE RUUUUUUUDDDDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you've ever wondered if as he's gotten older if Steve Rude has lost it, his run on Future Quest Presents proves that he hasn't.  As an acolyte of Alex Toth, Rude perfectly draws this comic as a Saturday morning cartoon.



Mighty Thor Vol 2 #704 by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman and Matt Wilson, published by Marvel Comics. 
Have you seen this preview of this issue?  Is this the first time we've Dauterman's artwork in black and white?  It's incredible to see what's actually there on the page-- just see the energy on the page on that first page.  But it's also amazing to see what's missing when Matt Wilson's colors aren't there.  I think that just goes to show how much his candy-colored hues contribute to the feel of this series.


Mother Panic Vol 2 Under Her Skin by Jody Houser, John Paul Leon, Shawn Crystal, Dave Stewart and Jean-Francois Beaulieu, published by DC Comics.
Mother Panic has been the oddest of the Young Animal books, I think, and that's saying something when the line includes Doom Patrol and Shade, The Changing Girl.  Oh, and while you're picking this up, also grab the Cave Carson/Swamp Thing Milk War comic that's coming out this week even if it's just for Langdon Foss's stunning artwork.

James' Picks:

 
Dept. H #23 by Matt and Sharlene Kindt, published by Dark Horse Comics.
This is an intense read. A highly claustrophobic comic, it's both a tense murder mystery and also a deep psychological exploration of people rapped undersea, any one of whom could be a murderer. It's also an exploration of a near future world and the many strange creatures waiting for us under the ocean. I definitely recommend picking it up from the beginning. 


Lazarus Sourcebook Vol. 3: Vassalovka by Greg Rucka, Eric Trautmann, David Brothers, Robert Mackenzie, David Walker, Gareth-Michael Skarka, Neal Bailey, Michael Lark, Tristan Jones, Tyler Boss, and Santi Arcas, published by Image Comics.
I absolutely love these Lazarus sourcebooks. Greg Rucka and company have worked overtime to take on some incredibly detailed world building, and it all comes together here in these issues, which take an in-depth look at the various families in the futuristic world of Lazarus.  The first 2 have been incredibly informative and they really show what a well-thought out world this story truly is. A must-read for any fan of the series. And if you're not a fan of Lazarus you absolutely should be.  It's hands-down one of the very best comics of the last 10 years or so.

February 16, 2018

, , , , , , , , , , ,   |  

I wish I could have given Harvey Kurtzman a big hug! (Weekend Pattering for February 16, 2018)

Panel

Robert Crumb giving Harvey Kurtzman a big smooch.  (From Crumb's "Ode to Harvey Kurtzman" in Harvey Kurtzman's Strange Adventures, 1991.)

Previously on Panel Patter

Cover of the Next Week


DC's sure getting their use out of that Multiverse map lately.  It's been showing up everywhere in the extremely messy event book Metal and here it is in a much smaller event, The Milk Wars.  This cover to Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye Swamp Thing Special #1 by Rian Hughes almost looks like my desk, without the coffee stains.  Milk Wars has been a fun event so far and I'm looking forward to the final two parts of it.

Interviews

*** GET A GRIP! Healing by Millimeters – Nate Piekos on how lettering injured his entire arm (The Beat)-- Kriota Wilberg, the creator of the upcoming book Draw Stronger: Self Care for Cartoonists and Visual Artists, talks with letterer Nate Piekos about his work injuries from working in comics.
Nate Piekos: My new physical therapy place is fantastic. But I’m sort of a conundrum to them because this is injury from art! They’re used to sports injuries or older clients. I had to introduce them into the world of comics to show them why I’m like this. They were all kind of scratching their heads. But they’re really good and encouraging and helpful.


*** After 10 Years We Want to Try to Find Ways to Surprise Us as Well as the Readers” – Looking Back on a Decade of Latvia’s Eisner-Nominated kuš! Comics with David Schilter and Sanita Muižniece (Broken Frontier)--  I think I've been subscribed Kus comics for the past year or two but I really know nothing about them other than the books they publish.
The series started as a way to give young artists a way to do something in between a short anthology story and a graphic novel, basically as a step to try to create longer stories. For many of the artists it was their first longer comic, while some of the more established artists of course have done longer work. For them we offer it basically as a playground where they can create and experiment as much as they want, just based on the limitations of the format but with no restrictions on the content. While they might face restrictions by bigger publishers to do something commercial, with the minis they have the space to weird out.


*** “I Watch For Patterns”: An Interview with Aleš Kot (The Comics Journal)-- Tucker Stone has a fascinating and strangely (and maybe brutally) honest correspondence with Ales Kot about this new series Days of Hate.
I struggle with whether art really changes anything. I struggle whether anything really changes anything. But I’m choosing to believe that, in a meaningless world, we have to build our own meaning, and put it into the world. If everything I did would amount to “I write stuff for a living,” uh, I don’t think I’d like myself much at all. If all Days of Hate amounted to in my head would be another violent comic with two-dimensional characters, I wouldn’t bother writing it — I’m not at all invested in those narratives, which should be pretty clear from my previous work, though I actually really appreciate it being questioned, which is what I think many artists today could use a whole lot more of. What I am invested in is taking those narratives and turning them over in my hands, seeing what they are made of, where they are falling apart, what alternatives there are to them, what could be good about them, what could be bad about them, what's more complex than the binaries (everything), what the narratives mean historically, what does happen to people caught in them. I also think it’s not just about chipping away, but also about building, and stories have an ability to let people know they are not alone. How do I know that some kid in the middle of nowhere won’t read this and write me something like “hey, this comic helped me say something to my racist uncle” or “reading this helped me get the fuck out of my hometown and look for something better”?

This and That

Run artwork by Afau Richardson

*** Congressman John Lewis' Next Book, Run, Will Pick Up Where Award-Winning March Left Off (Time)-- Lily Rothman has the announcement that John Lewis and Andrew Aydin are working on their followup to Lewis' autobio March series. Afau Richardson will be the artist with March artist Nate Powell also supplying some work in this book.

Trouble was brewing within the civil rights movement too. Run: Book One tells of how Lewis led SNCC — the group TIME called in 1966 “the most militant of all U.S. civil rights organizations” — during the tumultuous period that followed, as the organization lost support from its institutional allies and debated what it meant to be a nonviolent organization in world with no simple path to progress.

from Deathstroke #11, written by Christopher Priest, drawn by Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz

*** Transmyscira: The Second Amendment Doesn’t Apply to the Fourth Wall (Comicosity)-- A day after another school shooting, Veronique Emma Huxbois takes a look at the gun culture in comics, citing everything from old Danger Girl comics to more recent work by Christopher Priest. 
Priest was, in my estimation, absolutely correct in suggesting that incompetent and trigger happy white gun owners can escape culpability for shooting people of color. This was illustrated deftly by a scenario in which the police are initially willing to let a white woman off the hook for shooting three innocent Black people to death by falsely designating the two men as would-be rapists and justifying the child’s death due to his involvement in drug dealing. It’s a phenomenon that manifests itself in real life with sickening regularity from the death of Renisha McBride, which did result in a conviction to that of Colten Boushie, which did not, despite his killer mounting a defense that had “no air of reality.”
***  Comics Industry Asks ‘NYT’ to Restore Graphic Bestseller Lists (Publishers Weekly)-- Calvin Reid has the lowdown about the effort to get the New York Times to reinstate its Graphic Bestseller List.  When I first read about this effort, I was a bit wary of it as it seemed a bit self-serving but as I thought about it, I began to wonder more and more about the effect of the best sellers list on sales.  We all know that the Direct Market is in a bit of a freefall (depending on who you talk to) so it doesn't surprise me about a lot of the names that signed this letter but when you have cartoonists who exist outside of the DM like Raina Telgemeier adding her name predominantly to this list, that makes me think a bit that there may be something here.  I wonder how her sales were last year without the list compared to the years where she dominated the list.

[Literary agent Charles] Olsen emphasized that the lists help “the visibility of our medium, and thus helps advance comics as serious literature.” He also writes that the lists “play an indispensable role in helping new readers discover books,” and without the lists, “it’s harder for us to sell books, which makes it more challenging for publishers to take chances on new voices.”

Current Mood


February 14, 2018

, , , ,   |  

Catch It at the Comic Shop February 14, 2018

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

James' Picks:



The Black Monday Murders #8 by Jonathan Hickman, Tomm Coker and Michael Garland, published by Image Comics.
It's been a little while since an issue of this comic came out, but it's been one of my favorite comics in a long time. It's dark and complex and full of mystery and secrets, and the art from Tomm Coker is just fantastic.




Captain America #698 by Mark Waid, Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson, published by Marvel Comics.
I've been enjoying this newest run on Captain America. The last issue I enjoyed slightly less than the previous two, but I love the classic adventure feel that Waid and Samnee and Wilson have brought to the book.



Cold War #1 by Chris Sebela and Hayden Sherman, published by AfterShock Comics.
This sounds like a very cool science fiction read, about people brought to the future through cryogenics and made to be soldiers in a mysterious war. I really enjoy Sebela's writing, and Sherman drew The Few, one of my favorite comics of 2017. So, I'm very excited to check this out.

February 9, 2018

, , , , , ,   |  

REVIEW: Vs. #1

 


Vs. #1
Written by Ivan Brandon
Illustrated by Esad Ribic
Colored by Nic Klein
Design by Tom Muller
Published by Image Comics

It’s been a little while since I read a debut comic that got me really excited. A few years ago it felt like every week there was a mind-blowing new comic (most likely from Image Comics) but I haven’t felt that way recently. Could be the existential ennui. Regardless, I’m very happy to say that I’ve read the first great new comic of 2018, and it is Vs 

Vs. Is exactly what I want in a debut issue of a comic; it’s fast-paced, engaging, immersive, and it makes me want to know more about the world that I’m seeing. It's like The Truman Show meets Robot Jox meets Starship Troopers (the movie, not the book). Ivan Brandon is a skilled writer of intelligent and intriguingly weird science fiction (such as Drifter), and here he's telling a very "now" story about brutal, futuristic gladiatorial combat.  And the art (from illustrator Esad Ribic and colorist Nic Klein) is just stunning (much more about the art later).  More than stunning - there are panels that are positively breathtaking. This is a very strong debut.

February 7, 2018

, , , , , ,   |  

Catch It at the Comic Shop February 7, 2018

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...



Rob's Picks:


Twisted Romance #1 by Alex de Campi, Katie Skelly, Magen Cubed, and Sarah Horrocks, published by Image Comics
Just in time for Valentine's Day comes this limited series running all month long from some great names in horror with erotic themes. Alex and Katie, two of my favorite creators, team up to tell the story of a woman who wants her amorous competition eliminated--and there's an agency who can take care of it, with a secret all its own. Katie as usual draws sexy horror perfectly, showing the link of desire and blood, while Alex's dark side reigns supreme, which is when she's at her best, in my opinion. Meanwhile, Horrocks's style is a great contrast to Skelly's and her story of lovers whom death can't separate is a great closing piece. This is a nifty anthology you shouldn't sleep on!

February 3, 2018

, ,   |  

Celebrating Black Creators Day 3: Joel Christian Gill

As much as I can, I always try to make sure that Panel Patter is a site where we cover creators of all kinds, with a special focus on those creators who don't always get the appreciation they deserve. Given all that is happening, both in comics and in the wider nature of our country, I wanted to sit down and talk a bit about a different black creator that I dig each day this month.

This isn't meant as a review or an overview so much as a, "Hey, this creator is really cool!" My goal is to do this as many years as I can without repeating a single person.

I'd love it if I never ran out.


If you want to learn about the parts of Black History they don't teach you in school, Joel Christian Gill is the person to talk to. I first met him years ago at SPX, picking up the mini-comic version of what later became Strange Fruit Volume 1 (the good one, not that monstrosity Boom! put out). I thought it was great, and was excited to learn about his collection of the stories (which I reviewed here). Strange Fruit II is out now and I can't wait to read it.

Joel's work as a historian is top-notch. His comics are well-researched and aren't afraid to go straight at the most difficult parts of their subjects. After all, African Americans have had to struggle through almost unimaginable horrors, and if you're going to talk about this properly, you have to show it. Gill understands this, yet it never feels like he's being lurid. Like the best of the non-fiction comic creators (Andy Warner, Sarah Glidden), he also knows how to balance necessary textural information with the visuals. This is, after all, a comic, and no matter how interesting or unique the subject, if Joel can't draw it, no one's going to read it. That's certainly not a problem at all, however!

Over time, I've come to know Joel a bit, and he's not afraid to continue the activism of his comics into the real world. Joel is the founder of #28DaysIsNotEnough, in which people stress the fact that we can't just toss black people in a corner as soon as the calendar turns to March. (Speaking as a former teacher, it killed me when my kids once asked, "Why are you talking about Dr. King today? It's not February yet?")

In addition to his own comics, Gill periodically does spot pieces, but he's mostly been working on Strange Fruit Vol 2, which debuted this month. I'm greatly looking forward to seeing what new stories he has to tell me. Even though I consider myself to be better educated on "hidden" history than most, there's always something new to learn. Educate yourself with some Joel Christian Gill comics if you haven't already. You'll be glad you did.
, ,   |  

Celebrating Black Creators Day 2: Taneka Stotts

As much as I can, I always try to make sure that Panel Patter is a site where we cover creators of all kinds, with a special focus on those creators who don't always get the appreciation they deserve. Given all that is happening, both in comics and in the wider nature of our country, I wanted to sit down and talk a bit about a different black creator that I dig each day this month.

This isn't meant as a review or an overview so much as a, "Hey, this creator is really cool!" My goal is to do this as many years as I can without repeating a single person.

I'd love it if I never ran out.


Today let's go with my friend Taneka Stotts. She's an Eisner nominated writer and an Ignatz-winning editor, and all around cool person who doesn't take any crap, either online or in person. I think we first met around the time of the Kickstarter for the first Beyond anthology (more on that later) and it's been my distinct pleasure to see her get well-deserved recognition for her work in making comics a place for everyone, not just the ones who cling to weekly superhero books.

Though she's also an excellent writer (it's great to see Full Circle back in action), Taneka's skills as an editor are particularly strong, whether it's putting together two of the best anthologies I've read in recent years (the first Beyond, and Elements: Fire) or guiding a long-form project from others (such as Afar). It's not easy to make an anthology hold together from start to finish, but Taneka handles it so well. If you haven't gotten Elements: Fire yet (and why not?), you'll be amazed at how the stories change in style, yet never stray from the overall theme and are curated to use the limited color palette so very, very well.

But being a great editor or writer isn't what makes Taneka so special--it's that she's both extremely loyal to her friends and that she always says what she thinks. Some creators will say, "Be careful what you say, because it might cost you a job." That's not Taneka's style. She has no problem letting the comics industry (or other forms of media) know what they are doing wrong, and is one of the strongest voices for creators who are often pushed aside by bigger publishers that I know. We need people like Taneka, or we'll never move past into being better, both as people and as an industry.

As for what she's up to now, Full Circle, the web-comic she's so-created with Christianne Goudreau, is updating again. She also does Love Circuits with Genué Revuelta, which is...a thing. You'll have to try it for yourself. Beyond 2 is out now (I'm just waiting for my physical copy to read), and my understanding is that Taneka is working on her plans for the second Elements anthology. I can't wait. She'll also be at Emerald City Comic Con.

If you aren't familiar with Taneka's work, I strongly encourage you to start. She'll challenge you, and that's a good thing.

February 1, 2018

, ,   |  

Celebrating Black Creators Day 1: David F Walker

[Sometimes ideas hit you mid-day. This was one of them. -Rob]

As much as I can, I always try to make sure that Panel Patter is a site where we cover creators of all kinds, with a special focus on those creators who don't always get the appreciation they deserve. I was thinking a lot about this today, and decided that while I believe strongly that 28 Days is Not Enough, given all that is happening, both in comics and in the wider nature of our country, that I'd sit down and talk a bit about a different black creator that I dig.

This isn't meant as a review or an overview so much as a, "Hey, this creator is really cool!" There's no shortage of black creators that I know about, so if I miss any days, it's because Rob has trouble keeping to a schedule, NOT because there's only 28 African Americans in comics. Hell, if I do this right, my goal is to do this as many years as I can without repeating a single person.

I'd love it if I never ran out.

David F. Walker
So who's first? Well, it's David F. Walker, mostly because I was reading one of his books today (more on that in a moment). David is an extremely talented guy, and one of the best people I've seen on panel programming (hint hint, conventions). I think the first thing I ever read that he was involved in was Army of Dr. Moreau (I reviewed the first issue here) and it's been great to watch him work on much larger projects, such as bringing Shaft to comics. (You HAVE read those, right? If not, go do so now! Don't delay!) I also reviewed the first issue of that series, too. David's also done some work with Marvel on one of my favorite characters, Luke Cage, and also on DC's Cyborg.

David's ear for dialog is simply outstanding. His characters may share some characteristics, like being tough and dealing in worlds where others fear to tread, but they each have their own unique voice, and within each series, the supporting cast also speaks distinctly enough that you feel like you're in that world. He's good with a plot twist, knows how to keep a reader turning the page, and has the flexibility to work with a wide variety of art styles, from the more realistic Bilquis Evely to the stylistic work of Sanford Greene.

And speaking of Greene, David and Sanford have a new comic coming up from Image, Bitter Root, that I cannot wait for. Imagine monster hunters that go back generations fighting evil in 1920s Harlem.

Yeah, exactly. I can't wait, either!

Oh, and lest I forget--he's also a prose novelist. I'm finally getting to Super Justice Force, and it's great so far. Easily jumped into the world without giving too much detail, characters with distinctive voices, and some really cool concepts so far. I miss seeing a visual partner, but if you are looking for some superhero prose, I recommend it!

Every time I've spoken with David, he's been a pleasure to talk with, and he spends a lot of time with anyone who comes to his table, whether he knows them well or is just steering them into his comics orbit.

If you haven't read any of David's comics yet, I'd say start with Shaft (if you like crime-related books) or Cyborg (if superheroes are more your speed), and be on the lookout for Bitter Root. It's going to be one of the best books of 2018, I expect. No matter what you choose, you can't go wrong with David. He's quietly one of the best writers in comics right now. Let's make that not-so-quiet, huh?

January 30, 2018

, , , , , , ,   |  

Catch It at the Comic Shop January 31, 2018

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...
James' Picks:

Divinity: The Complete Trilogy Deluxe HC by Matt Kindt, Trevor Hairsine, Ryan Winn and david Baron, published by Valiant Entertainment.
I've really enjoyed the various Divinity miniseries from Valiant. I think they're some of the most ambitious and interesting books that Valiant has published. They've got a big, weird, cosmic scope. And so I'm definitely considering picking up this Hardcover which contains all 3 miniseries. Matt Kindt certainly knows how to tell a big, ambitious weird story, and the art from Trevor Hairsine (with inks by Ryan Winn and colors by David Baron) is very strong.



Dark Nights: Metal #5 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics.
I really want to see where this goes. It's been a fun read but also kind of a weird one. I definitely feel like Scott Snyder is channeling his inner Grant Morrison with this book. It's not Final Crisis, but it's pretty out there and I definitely want to see where all the balls in the air land. As always, the art from Greg Capullo is terrific.

Mike's Picks:


Maxwell’s Demons # 2 by Deniz Camp, Vittorio Astone, and Nathan Gooden, published by Vault Comics.
Maxwell’s Demons follows the genre busting trend of other Vault offerings, Heathen and Spirtus. It’s equal parts space opera and world builder fantasy. If you’re a fan of Saga, East of West, or Copperhead, Maxwell’s Demons is going to be up your alley. Like other Vault publications, this series features some of the best color work you’ll see on the stands. Vittorio Astone colors his line art in a style that almost resembles a muted Fco Plascencia, and it’s a great complement for the tone of the series.


Dark Nights: Metal # 5 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, published by DC Comics.
I feel like Metal has lost its momentum, and I’m entirely unsure if I’m stunned we’ve only reached issue five or shocked that we’re already at the penultimate issue of the (main) miniseries. My concerns over stretching out the story aside, I’m still incredibly eager to see what happens next, and I haven’t felt this excited about an even series in general since either Blackest Night or Second Coming.
 

The Weird World of Lagoola Gardner # 1 by Zach Worton, published by Fantagraphics
The premise of this new book from Klondike cartoonist, Zach Worton, is that a boy inherits occult items from her grandmother, uses them to commune with said grandmother’s spirit, and becomes a private investigator. Worton’s art looks a little slicker than in Klondike, the aesthetic looks very mod, a style I think syncs well with the concept.


Michael Chabon’s The Escapist: Amazing Adventures by Various, published by Dark Horse Comics.
Comics as a medium or form has always struggled for literary recognition, and that’s especially true of the superhero subgenre. In a weird twist of obvious predictability, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay didn’t result in any increased superhero literary prominence. I attribute it to the fact I know few superhero comic readers who’ve delved into Kavalier and Klay, and even fewer diehard Chabonistas who have ever picked up a comic, let alone a superhero one. For those of us who fit into the certain Venn Diagram described above, the long overdue single volume collection of this material is a true delight.

January 24, 2018

, , , , , , ,   |  

Get Lost in the Visual Remix of Samplerman's Fearless Colors

I wish I had a better language to describe Samplerman’s comic collages in Fearless Colors. His comics are collages, remnants and scraps of older comics (I see some EC, some Fletcher Hanks, and even some bronze-age Justice League) remixed into fractal-like tapestries that, if you’re not careful, will trap you and suck you into them. And you don’t want to be careful reading this comic because I think that’s just what Samplerman (the pen name for artist Yvan Guillo) wants- to pull you into his comics with the pull of a black hole. Like any good-to-great remix artist, he takes the past and makes something new from it. He hasn’t remixed these into new stories; in most of the pieces, there’s really no plot as much as there is an invocation happening here. Fearless Colors is a collection of movements, created to enchant the reader with art and accept a narrative where the words and plot are meaningless and nonsense.

Samplerman’s comics (also see mini kuš! #54 for another example of his work) are built upon other cartoonists’ images, cut and pasted into a kaleidoscope of creation, destruction, and recreation. Most of the movements in Fearless Color commence with a single collage that contains worlds unto itself. Some of his initial images begin with a portion of old stories, with easily identifiable characters, dialogue, and maybe even the slightest hint of the plot of the original comic. Other starting points begin with images mixed and matched from other comics to create a whole new experience of reality. From these starting points, Sampleman’s pages twist and turn these images into fractal-like explosions of line, color and word that are from the past but exist in a completely different time and space than their original forms existed.

The sensation of reading these artistic movements is a lot like reading traditional comic stories. In this book, there is a progression from panel to panel, page to page that is familiar and comfortable. Taking his initial images, Samplerman twists and turns them even more, adding and subtracting elements that form something like a traditional narrative. That’s the movement in his work; taking a comic, deconstructing it, and turning it into something new and different. He’s forcing you to look at these images with new eyes; Fearless Colors is not something that you can read by instinct and gloss over because you think you understand how comics “work.” It’s a work that envelops you and pulls you into its constructed gravity.

These movements create a sensation of stumbling into this new experience. Imagine a Jim Woodring comic, without the characters to get in the way of the experience of it. That’s what he summons in his pages. So allow yourself to get lost in these pictures. There’s depth there so let it suck you in and give yourself over to the art and artist. That’s what these pages want as Samplerman’s artwork craft these new shapes of reality out of the old and familiar. There’s an element of Roy Lichtenstein here as Samplerman appropriates the work of other artists but he pushes the work far more into abstraction and movement than Lichtenstein did in his paintings.


Reading Fearless Colors is like taking a weird acid trip through comics as images fall apart and melt down in front of you, recombining with different images to form brand new comic pages. Samplerman’s collages take existing art and make new art out of the old, and creates comic pages that you just want to get lost in, exploring the smallest details even while wanting to pull out and see how those details collapse into a complete comic experience.



Fearless Colors
Created by Samplerman
Co-published by kuš! Ediciones Valientes and MMMNNNRRRG

January 23, 2018

, , , , ,   |  

Catch It at the Comic Shop January 24, 2018

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

James' Picks:


Southern Bastards #19 by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour, published by Image Comics.
It's been a long time since I read an issue of Southern Bastards. My enthusiasm for the book was a lot higher when it was coming out regularly. I look forward to rereading the first few arcs and getting back into this story. It's a great book and I look forward to reading more of it.


Spy Seal Vol. 1: The Corten-Steel Phoenix by Rich Tommaso, published by Image Comics.
I kinda missed this as it was coning out, but it's pretty unique and different from what I typically read, and a 60's-style spy story with anthropomorphic animals seems like a very fun read. I was a fan of Tommaso's "Dark Corridor" so I'm interested in this which I know is a very different sort of series.



Dept. H #22 by Matt and Sharlene Kindt, published by Dark Horse Comics.
Another month, another time when I tell you what a great series Dept. H is and how you really need to be picking it up.  Matt and Sharlene Kindt are doing wonderful work on a moving series that's also a murder mystery and also a weird and fascinating story of hidden life at the bottom of the ocean. This is a book that's worth your time.


Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil #4 by Jeff Lemire and David Rubin, published by Dark Horse Comics.
So, this book won't be as meaningful if you haven't read Black Hammer. First thing, stop what you're doing and go read Black Hammer. Then come back and read this terrific related story, with great art from David Rubin, one of my favorite artists of recent years.  Black Hammer is a terrific reinvention of superhero stories, and this is a fun companion story.


Rob's Picks:





Abbott #1 by Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivela, published by Boom! Studios.
I've been looking forward to reading Saladin on an indie comic for months now and this one didn't disappoint. Though his characters do talk a lot, he has a strong sense of panel pacing, which is hard for those new to comics writing. The art, starting with a fabulous reveal of the main character, really makes it feel like we are in 1970's Detroit, and when the speculative elements come into play, they mesh well with the world. Join this reporter on a search for truth...assuming it doesn't kill her.




Soulwind by Scott Morse, published by Oni Press.

Soulwind and Scott Morse are very important to me, because this was one of my early entries into non-superhero comics. I think my friend Noah introduced me to it. This story features all the hallmarks of Morse's work, from a mythological story to art that evokes a feeling of impressionist art while still being clear images of characters and creatures. I am so happy to see this in print again.

January 22, 2018

,   |  

New Year, New Banner! Thank you, Ansis Purins


Some of you may have noticed a little change that happened over the weekend. If not, here's your notice!

We're thrilled for everyone to see our new banner, created by talented artist Ansis Purins. We feel like this new banner speaks to what we're trying to be as a site - fun, accessible, and joyful about comics.

Ansis is a Boston-based artist and graphic designer (creator of fun comics like Zombre and Magic Forest) who you might also know as the lead singer of the terrific 90's Ska band Skavovie and the Epitones. Ansis has an Etsy store with all sorts of cool merch, and has a new book coming out soon from Revival House Press.  

January 16, 2018

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |  

Catch It at the Comic Shop January 17, 2018

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

Rob's Picks:



Assassinistas #2 by Tini Howard, Gilbert Hernandez, Rob Davis, and Aditya Bidikar, published by IDW

January 14, 2018

, , , ,   |  

Stew Brew #5 by Kelly Froh and Max Clotfelter: Cross-Country Chronicling at Its Finest

Stew Brew #5
Written and Illustrated by Kelly Froh and Max Clotfelter
Self-Published

Kelly and Max fly to Wisconsin to get a free car from Kelly's Mom, then drive back across seven states, encountering the little things that make America so wonderfully strange in this collaborative zine that mixes comics, found objects, and small sections of text, in the best tradition of those in comics who also come from zine culture.

Opening with snippets from items they collected along the way--receipts, tourist pamphlets, postcards, and whatnot, we move into Kelly and Max's comics, sharing moments from their adventures, whether it's forgetting it's 9-11, meeting Rob Kirby and his partner, or an overabundance of possibly rabid prairie dogs. There's no attempt to capture everything, nor should there be. This is like sitting down with the pair and hearing the highlights of their adventure, or sharing an old-school slide show (without the boring parts).

As a person who traveled from Baltimore to Portland, Oregon several years ago, I found a lot to remember fondly, even though our paths were not the same, and due to having three cats in tow, we were unable to stop anywhere. America is really huge, and when you get outside of the major cities and attractions, there's so many curiosities to discover. This is captured well by Max in a panel of roadside billboards for everything from a car show to an 1880s town to an "American Owned" hotel, showing vague racism is alive and well. 

When they do make it somewhere, such as the Bible themed encounter, we don't get a lot of details, but Max's linework really sells the visuals and packs a lot into his panels. We can imagine the wider world they've traveled into, such as the greasy spoon diner that hints at a dirty kitchen without showing it. His sections feature heavy shading, panels packed to the gills, and characters whose wide-eyed expressions evoke a very familiar alt-comix experience.

On the other hand, Kelly's sections have much more open space, with only so much details as are necessary to set the stage, such as a very basic set of lines to represent a table. Her trees and shrubs are abstracts, and cowboy boots on a rack are capital-Ls. Her figures are no less able to tell you what is going on, but they don't carry the details that Max's do. 

Side by side, they offer a contrast that's striking, providing you with two very different parts of the indie comics world. Neither is superior to the other, though depending on your taste, you may find yourself more attracted to one style or the other. These are two people sharing their story together, and their visual voices are as a distinct as would be the case if we were all at the bar together, with Kelly and Max alternating the journey.

Call it a zine or a mini-comic, depending on what tradition you come from. The thing that I like best about Stew Brew #5 is that it's a way for Froh and Clotfelter to share their experience driving across country with you, if you want to come along for the ride. Those who enjoy reading about road trips and keeping up with the events of their friends in comics/zines should plan to join them. There's a lot of fun packed into a small number of pages.

You can purchase Stew Brew #5 here.

January 12, 2018

, , , , ,   |  

Scott's Completely Subjective and Totally Questionable Best Comics of 2017 (Weekend Pattering for January 12th, 2018)

Panels

From Pope Hats #5 by Ethan Rilly

Previously on Panel Patter

Favorite Lists of 2017

Cover of the Next Week

Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise XXV #1

I gave up on Terry Moore's Strangers In Paradise somewhere around 2/3rds into its initial run but I don't really remember why.  While none of Moore's subsequent series have really caught my imagination that much, seeing Katchoo on the cover of a new comic throws me back to the 1990s and the self-publishing boom.

And really, if this was just another SiP comic, I don't know if I'd really care but I love the mystery of this image with Katchoo standing on a train platform, surrounded by people who look like they're on their way to work but have these masks over their faces.  Why?  What's going on here?  This is a great cover that provides a strong hook.

Your Moment of Scott's Favorite Comics of 2017

from The Mighty Thor #700 by Jason Aaron, Russel Dauterman & Matt Wilson

This year I joined the Best Shot's crew at Newsarama and named my Gold, Silver and Bronze comics of 2017.

Gold: Boundless (Drawn & Quarterly)
Silver: Royal City (Image)
Bronze: Batman/Elmer Fudd (DC)

During 2017, I already wrote about Batman/Elmer Fudd and Royal City.  Jillian Tamaki's Boundless has been sitting next to my computer for months now, waiting for me to write something about it.  It is the book that's really stuck with me this year as Tamaki's collection of short stories explore a world that seems just slightly off-center from ours.  She creates these stories around recognizable things but shifts their point-of-views just enough to throw you off any solid footing you may have.  It's a great reading experience.

Here are other books from 2017 that deserve to be celebrated as some of the best comics and, if I wrote about them, links to those reviews. (Of course, these are the best that I read.  I'm sure that there's plenty of books that I didn't read that should be up here on this list.)
from Palookaville #23 by Seth

Current Mood


January 11, 2018

, , ,   |  

Breaking the Boundaries of Art in Emil Ferris' My Favorite Thing is Monsters


The first volume of My Favorite Thing is Monsters makes no judgments about art. As the first half of a planned two-volume series, this debut book incorporates art from everywhere, from horror magazines to classic paintings found in the Art Institute of Chicago. But for Karen, the young protagonist of Ferris’ book, there’s no difference in the meaning or in the value of the art. Pulp art and fine art are the same things and each has an equal influence on how she sees the world after a neighbor is killed in an upstairs apartment. As the young girl tries to unravel the mystery of who killed her neighbor and friend Anka, the world around her is changing in both monumental and minuscule ways, and in many of these seismic shifts are not even related to the murder. Against the civil unrest in America, Karen and her brother also have to deal with their mother, who is far sicker than she lets on to her daughter. Ferris’ book is broad in its approach, looking at the lives of both Karen and Anka but incredibly focused on this girl who has to learn at an early age about the spiritual murkiness of the world.

For most people, a ballpoint pen is a conveniently clumsy device for taking notes or scribbling doodles but for Ferris, it’s as expressively lush as any brush ever set to canvas. Drawn in a schoolkids’ spiral-bound notebook, every page of this book reminds you that Ferris is telling this story through the eyes of a young, adolescent girl. This is Karen’s journal as much as it is Ferris’s book and we see the world as Karen does, informed by monster magazines and centuries-old paintings. Karen’s own self-image of herself is as one of those monsters but for her being a monster is not a curse but an aspiration. Picturing herself as a young werewolf private eye, complete with fangs, trench coat, and fedora, Karen is on the case, chronicling the men, women, boys, and girls she runs across as she tries to make sense of her neighbor’s murder. 

Emil Ferris

Every page of Ferris’s work is in itself a piece of art, longing to be observed, absorbed and lived. That’s what’s arts is in Karen’s Chicago; it’s a part of life and it doesn’t matter if it’s in a pulp magazine, in a museum, or even if it’s a tattoo on her brother’s body. In telling a story about a murder, Ferris is also creating a story about art and the ways that it shapes us and our own worldviews. As a young girl and a bit of an outcast, she identifies more with the werewolves, Frankenstein monsters, and werewolves from her beloved magazines more than she does with most of the girls and boys her own age. And in a time where both her neighbor and Martin Luther King Jr. can be killed, it must make a lot of sense to see everyone else in Chicago as one of those mobs out to destroy the beauty and souls of those monsters.

Trying to solve a mystery as only a 10-year-old girl can, Karen is forced to grow up and learn truths about her neighbor Anka, a European Jew who survived World War II, and about her brother Deeze, a local lothario who is haunted by his own demons. Karen is still young so her own demons are self-imagined and self-projected; she’s the innocent in a world which seemingly abhors innocence. While Anka and Deeze’s demons are more formed, they are still reflected in their faces just as Karen’s are. But where Karen thinks she wants to be her own type of demon, these people who she thinks she knows hide their demons from Karen. They have lives and experiences that Karen doesn’t know anything about. As she tries to play detective, it’s difficult to know just how much of the truth of the world is changing her.

Set in 1968, Ferris’s story is a long way away from any “summer of love” or any “peace, love and happiness” sentiments. It’s important to realize the time of this book as the world then was falling apart socially and politically even as our modern day seems to be on the brink of some kind of collapse as well. It’s not that Ferris has created a political book but she acknowledges that politics are a part of our lives that influence us. Karen’s politics are what she knows from her mother and her brother so you have to wonder how do events like the assassinations of President Kennedy (a memory for her) and Martin Luther King Jr. (an event that happens during this book) affect how she sees the world.

Emil Ferris

Chronicling her investigation in a ruled-line notebook, Karen’s visions of the world alternate between incredibly beautiful and monstrously ugly. Anka is usually drawn with a blue pen, shading her in a chilling beauty. Others get this same blue line, giving them the icy appearance without the beauty. Karen’s image of the world acknowledges and accepts the coexistence of beauty and ugliness. Ferris’s depiction of late 1960s Chicago is a tapestry of types and a more honest portrayal of the makeup of a city months away from rioting at the Democratic National Convention. Again, it’s not the politics of the story that influence Karen but it’s how those politics flavor the atmosphere of Ferris’s story.

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is a child’s romanticized view of an ugly world. Emil Ferris gives us a violent, horrific Chicago that is full of real monsters and people who are unfairly labeled as “monsters.” And among all of that, we have Karen, our innocent child who wants to be a monster even though she is anything but one. Her desires come from the magazines and movies she enjoys but it’s also a desire to be strong enough to face the real terrors that live in her neighborhood and maybe even in her building. Even as she hides behind her fantasies, Karen has to learn to see the world beyond those fantasies. Emil Ferris’ book perfectly captures that moment in our lives where we’re between seeing the world through a child’s eyes and understanding it from an adults point of view.