Industry veterans Mike Kennedy and Wes Harris announced today the formation of MAGNETIC PRESS, a new publishing label with a focus on premium graphic novels by talent from around the world. Magnetic’s two founders came together around a shared desire to create a compassionate home for innovative creators and projects that have been underrepresented in the current comic and graphic novel marketplace, including new talent deserving a debut and established talent looking to establish a solid presence in the North American and English language audience.
Category Archives: Comics
Into the night, we pressed on in search of the heart and soul of Ballard.
Portraits of Jennifer at Ballard Inn.
She and I had ventured onto an interesting journey.
Sights. Sounds. History. Ghosts. Maybe some answers.
Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting have both been making comics long enough to where they can make them in their sleep. They choose to not be complacent about it. With this comics venture, the team of writer and artist come to it full of energy. Velvet is a well crafted comic. It functions in the way a successful comic does: it does not take itself to seriously, it provides a vivid story, and it gets down to action from the get go. Velvet was falling out of high rise window when we last saw her. She figures out a nice save and then some.
Getting back to that visual of Brubaker and Epting asleep in their respective beds and dreaming up the script and artwork. The comic does have that sense of ease about it. There are a variety of scenes of Velvet Templeton fighting for her life, racing this way and that, and each scene is different and refreshing. No filler. No dead space. There are a number of extended bits of internal dialogue and each bit is clever, interesting, and fun to read. The ball is not dropped once. This back and forth dynamic of sharp and witty script and artwork is downright poetic.
For a moment, I wonder if a Mission Impossible Tom Cruise would have handled a similar challenge the way Velvet did. That comes to mind as Velvet has to figure out what to do when she’s suddenly airborne. I think it’s a toss up, just to give Tom his due. What Velvet does next, right after flying out of a window, is a fine moment in comics. This whole issue is a fine moment in comics and it looks like it will just keep getting better.
Velvet #2 is available now. Visit our friends at Image Comics here.
“The Lengths” is a graphic novel about addiction, published by Soaring Penguin Press. The title refers to the lenghts to which a young man, Eddie, will go to feed his desire. Howard Hardiman has written and drawn a graphic novel about a youth out of control and in conflict. It is a very rough story about a rough subject that Hardiman navigates quite well. His character, Eddie, is a 24-year-old art school drop out who is gay and unsure about what he wants. He may want a relationship but he is also attracted to what he gets from his role as Ford, an escort. It’s a pretty lurid and gritty premise. Something like this could easily fall apart, as can happen with any story that deals with sex. But sex is only part of what Hardiman has to talk about. And to create some distance to better address and understand the content, he represents all his characters as dogs. It may seem odd at first, but it turns out to be a wonderful narrative device.
Pick up your copy of the new collection of work by cartoonist Farel Dalrymple, Delusional: The Graphic and Sequential Work of Farel Dalrymple. It has been my honor to have interviewed him and review his work. I have great admiration for him and can easily look back to many highlights in his growing career including working for Marvel Comics on the special Omega The Unknown project with writer Jonathan Lethem. You can order this gorgeous 232-page hardcover from the publisher, Adhouse Books, here.
There are so many superhero comics out there but readers are always open to a new wrinkle. How about a comic that encompasses a world made up of trillions, a hundred times more populated than Earth? That is a world that we all live in now, inside our own bodies, made up of trillions of cells. Welcome to BIOWARS.
This is definitely something new within the superhero genre. What will first interest readers is how this comic engages with real biology. With a majority of superhero comics heavily tied to either pulp fiction or mythology, BIOWARS, published by Gabriel Creations, confidently goes deep inside a vast alien world with many possibilities. Creator Gabriel Shaoolian envisioned a comic that dove into a whole new terrain. With a story that literally takes place inside and outside, there is great potential here.
The story begins with a sounding of alarms in the first issue, aptly entitled, “Infection.” We see the emerging war take shape. Written by Mark Powers (Marvel Comics, Devil’s Due), we get a nice dose of action, and even humor. Microphage armies and B-Cell forces, given human-like form for the sake of more vivid storytelling, are deployed to subdue the enemy invader. The artwork (Lucius Cross, Joana LaFuente, and Gonçalo Lopes) brings it all to life with impressive results. The next time you get a cold, you can picture a war like this one raging through your bronchial passages.
But there’s far more going on. Whatever this virus or bacteria is, it is unlike anything the immune system A-teams have ever encountered. And things aren’t any less tense in the great unknown world outside. Out there, on the streets of New York’s Chinatown, there’s a young man, Alex Hawking, running for his life. Outside, danger looms even closer as Alex is being chased by a killer. The killer is quite familiar with what’s wrong with Alex from the inside.
The intrigue continues as more details are revealed in the second issue, entitled, “Revelations.” With two issues in, a suspenseful story has unfolded that carries the weight of a first-rate superhero tale. We know that Alex is in a lot of danger. And we have some clues as to what he might do next. Good use is made of superhero tropes. There’s Janice Lee, the reporter who gets too close to her story and is now wrapped up with Alex’s fate. There’s Alex’s classic conflict with his father, Marcus. And there are two villains: a mad scientist, Ernst Kelso, working in the outer world; and Raze, the master mold, working in the inner world. All in all, a pretty promising start to a new all-ages comic.
BIOWARS #3, entitled, “The Virus Invasion,” comes out January 14, 2014. Visit our friends at the BIOWARS website here.
Editor’s Note: Percy’s & Co. is a shining example of how old and new can come together. Percy’s & Co. is not some cute name that a marketing team came up with. It refers to Percy Sankey who built the building in 1893 to house his dry goods business. The Sankey building has mostly housed liquor purveyors of one form or another. Even when it was a dry goods business, there was a speakeasy in the back room.
Percy’s & Co. might be mistaken by tourists as a business going back over a hundred years. It’s actually brand new but it’s not brash. Just some local kids providing unique cocktails and working with local growers. Percy’s & Co. offers apothecary inspired cocktails. As its website states, these drinks feature “infused spirits, fresh purees, and beneficial tinctures.”
Thankfully, here’s a place that looks like it has a bright future because it bothered to take a careful look at the past. Visit Percy’s & Co. here.
Review: THE BLACK FEATHER FALLS Book One (of four), by Ellen Lindner, published by Soaring Penguin Press
Ellen Lindner has a wonderful way with prose and composition. Her intricate artwork and distinctive voice give life to her latest creation, “The Black Feather Falls.” This is a webcomic told in four parts, which you can view at ACT-I-VATE here. The first part is now collected and will be published by Soaring Penguin Press.
The beauty of Lindner’s work is on many levels, not the least of which is her dynamic composition. We begin with the main character, Tina Swift, juxtaposed by her striking view of two pyramids that act as visual and symbolic thrust. They lead us to more energetic play with geometry of body language and setting.
Take a closer look at Tina Swift. On Page 2, we see her face is a crisp collection of lines and angles with a few accenting curves. We take in the rest of the page: in the first panel, we see a typewriter rendered to the last detail acting as a still life accompanied by Tina’s sharply rendered hands. The last panel caps off with another view of those pyramids. In the span of time that we’ve read the first two pages, we already know a mighty adventure is about to be retold.
And, by Page 3, we have entered a new world. Tina is an American abroad. She’s in 1920s London. As engaging as Lindner’s artwork, her prose charms you and immerses you in the customs and logic of another time. Lindner was an American abroad herself and you sense a loving attention to her past home byway of this murder mystery. It’s as if Lindner travelled back in time and is reporting to us her observations with a fresh vitality. She provides a somewhat similar treatment of Brooklyn in the early 1960s for her work, “Undertow.” The writing for this story is quite fun and feels in step with such British writers of the time as Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and the Mitford sisters.
Our team of brash young American, Tina Swift, and young British spinster, Miss McInteer, are delightful as polar opposites that manage to attract. They do have quite a compelling murder mystery to solve that apparently will turn into another cold case if not for them. All the elements are in place for a delicious read.
You can read the latest installments of The Black Feather Falls at ACT-I-VATE here. Be sure to pick up the first collection of The Black Feather Falls from Soaring Penguin Press and look for updates here. And do visit Ellen Lindner at her site here.
Puck Magazine, an impressive collection of some of the leading comix artists and much more, launches its crowd funding campaign today. This is truly an international collection. If you are a fan of offbeat humor and you’d like a taste of it from around the world, then this is for you. Join the campaign here. It runs from November 26, 2013 thru January 4, 2014.
What follows is an informative essay on the Apocalypse, the history of alternative comics, and how that relates to Puck Magazine:
Welcome to the Apocalypse
Historically speaking, the Apocalypse is always now. By that I mean that at every period in human history, someone somewhere was certain that the world was about to end. Whether it was the author of the Biblical “Book of Revelation” (or “Revelation to John”) — surely one of the most mischievous tracts ever written — or some Vedic bard predicting the Kali Yuga, or urban street corner prophets ranting that “The End is Nigh,” the human imagination has repeatedly fixated on the end of the universe and the end of life as we know it.
It is not difficult to figure out why this is. At some undetermined point in time, for each of us, the universe will end. Death awaits us all, whether in a sudden accident or heart attack, or in a long lingering illness. That this is so seems like a monstrous joke, and so we repress the thought or, for many of us, we project it upon the world at large, finding solace in the thought that if we must die, so must everyone else, preferably all at the same time.
And yet, life goes on. Every prophecy of the End Times is, in some sense, a false prophecy. Predicted dates come and go, and true believers’ expectations fizzle out, only to be succeeded by new expectations which will eventually fizzle out as well.
Much of this apocalyptic fervor has been driven by religion, especially fundamentalist Christianity and Islam, which share similar scenarios of a Final Judgment. But there are no lack of secular apocalypses to choose from: catastrophic climate change, nuclear war, the end of Capitalism (a particularly elusive apocalypse), an impending police state, and the list goes on.
All of which brings us to the volume you hold in your hands, a smorgasboard of personal apocalypses conjured up by a stellar crew of cartoonists from around the world. For most comic artists, apocalypse looms as the rent comes due at the end of each month, so this theme was one that the assembled artists could really get their teeth into. As you will discover, some took the challenge lightly, producing humorous strips (including the inevitable Mother In Law joke), while others dove into full-fledged horror and paranoia.
The result is a well-balanced collection of unique visions that you will not find anywhere else. The locations change from strip to strip, usually manifesting the apocalypse in the artists’ own locales. If you’ve ever dreamed of making an Around the World Tour, but know you never will, this volume is a suitable substitute, albeit with rather more demons, cannibals, black holes, and Avenging Angels than you would likely encounter in hopping from country to country.
Sadly, I am told that this is likely the last PUCK volume for years to come, so it represents an apocalypse of sorts for the whole PUCK enterprise. PUCK’s staff has beat all odds in uniting cartoonists from numerous countries in its group projects that are done for the love of free and uncensored cartooning.
The Underground Comix movement was launched in the U.S. during the Sixties and spread its influence to England, the Netherlands, Spain, France, and Italy (among others), in the following decades. PUCK has been one of the most energetic recent manifestations of the underground impulse and Ivan and the rest of the PUCK gang deserve a round of applause for keeping the torch held high.
The Apocalypse is always now. Enjoy it while you can.
Jay Kinney was a participant in the Underground Comix movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He edited and co-edited Young Lust, Occult Laff-Parade, Cover-up Lowdown, and Anarchy Comics, and contributed to many others.
He has since been a magazine publisher, book author, and antiquarian bookseller. Recently published is: Anarchy Comics: the Complete Collection (PM Press), a retrospective anthology of the hard-to-find four originals issues, plus never before published strips and sketchbook pages.
Caption for Mavrides-Kinney Armageddon panels…
The “End Times” erupt in “Armageddon Outtahere” by Paul Mavrides and Jay Kinney in Anarchy Comics #4. This story and all others from the comic series can be found in Anarchy Comics: the Complete Collection (PM Press).
Press release follows: