Tag Archives: College

Review: INTRO TO ALIEN INVASION

Intro-to-Alien-Invasion-Scribner-2015

“Intro to Alien Invasion,” published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, is a cheeky story about what happens when extraterrestrials take over a secluded liberal arts college nestled in the Vermont hills. All is not quiet and mellow at Fenton College once the biggest life lesson of all opens the eyes, and tears the limbs off, a bunch of sheltered and pampered brats.

Member of the library staff caught in sheer terror.

Member of the library staff caught in sheer terror.

In the same spirit as “Rushmore” and “Animal House,” it’s the exceptions to the rule, the small fringe element of misfit students, that will prove their mettle and perhaps save everyone else’s sorry asses. This very funny graphic novel has some great talent behind it. Owen King is author of the novel, “Double Feature.” And Mark Jude Poirier is the screenwriter of the 2013 film, “Hateship Loveship,” starring Kristen Wig. The artwork is by newcomer Nancy Ahn.

Nancy-Ahn-Intro-to-Alien-Invasion

Much of the story revolves around nerdy and mousy Stacey, an otherwise brilliant mind, who is vulnerable beyond measure. Bumbling Professor Evans, plans to exploit his status as an expert in astrobiology, and lure Stacey into his snare. And then there’s a huge change in plan. Something that the professor smuggled back from Siberia has come to life.

The story will bog down a bit when it gets to a lot of explaining as to the what and the why about goopy things running amok on campus. Really, at some point, nobody cares anymore and have settled in for a gross-out yuck-fest which this book happily provides. That said, these asides don’t ever last too long and, in the spirit of Lisa Simpson, are edifying in their own weird way. There are times too when Ahn’s loose style will get rather too loose and slack. That can be attributed to some extent to the easygoing, and unconventional, narrative. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’d want this book done any other way considering the offbeat vision.

As it seems to be de rigueur in even the most crass humor, a tender thoroughly sensitive love story is included here. It proves to give an overall nice balance to the belly laughs and/or mild amusement you’ll find here depending upon your temperament. It’s a credit to the writing that it actually does work. You have characters here that you grow to care about. It’s not just Stacey and some creepy prof but all of Stacey’s friends and frenemies. At the end of the day, this is a fun book and will appeal to a lot people, like fans of “The Simpsons” and “Adventure Time,” which is, at last count, a whole lot of people. “Intro to Alien Invasion” is a 224-page black & white trade paperback, available as of September 15th. You can find it at Amazon right here. Visit our friends at Simon & Schuster right here.

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Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Satire, Sci-Fi, science fiction

Giant Days #1, published by Boom! Studios

Giant Days, drawn by Lissa Trieman

Giant Days, drawn by Lissa Treiman

Giant Days, drawn by John Allison

Giant Days, drawn by John Allison

Not too long ago, I reviewed a John Allison comic under the same title. This first issue of “Giant Days” is different material and published by Boom! Studios. It is very cool to see this comic getting a higher profile. This one is by John Allison and Lissa Treiman. It is the same trio of college friends from the webcomic. But, just so you know, Allison only writes it. And it is Treiman who does the art. Now, I know Allison has a strong following that know his work as the result of his writing and drawing. For those fans, how do you feel taking his characters in a new direction as it were? It does not completely sit well with me. But should that really be the case? Probably not.

Having another artist draw one’s comic creates a whole new dynamic to say the least. The original Allison characters are delightful: very deadpan, droll, with an overall cool demeanor. This new version warms up Daisy, Esther, and Susan in a way that is subtle but still there. This got me to thinking. It seems like you can get away with that with Adventure Time characters being drawn by various artists. That’s because they’re such broad and elastic characters drenched in irony. But you could never truly get away with the Peanuts gang being drawn by someone else. That’s because they’re such personal creations. I submit to you the newer Peanuts animated TV specials for your review. The oldest ones, you know the ones, may not have been drawn by Charles M. Schulz but they sure had the look and feel of the characters spot on.

There’s definitely a shift in tone here. So, I thought some more. It’s like once you’ve seen Ricky Gervais in “The Office,” you’re kind of spoiled and won’t ever fully accept Steve Carell, even though he’s a comic genius. Hmm, that said, it has to be an honor for Allison to see his characters transcend his own depiction of them. That part is nice. And Treiman does a fine job. And, well, if you didn’t know this already, it is Allison who requested that Treiman pursue this latest run that revisits the girls getting used to university life.

But you see my point, right? Comics are a very tricky thing. They involve body language, style, and a whole way of looking at the world. Hmm, for me, the change in the art alone made this comic feel less British. It is, mind you, still set in Britain and the dialogue alone attests to that from time to time. Maybe some small adjustments have been made in the bargain so it’s just not quite as British. But, to heck with it, I do enjoy the American version of “The Office!” If you’re not easily won over, this different Giant Days may throw you threw a loop but, at the end of the day, it’s very funny. I dare say, what with all the changes, it has a nice charm about it.

“Giant Days #1” is available now. For more details, visit our friends at Boom! Studios right here.

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Filed under Adventure Time, animation, Boom! Studios, Cartooning, Cartoonists, Cartoons, Charles M. Schulz, Comics, Comics Reviews, John Allison

Interview: Liz Plourde and Randy Michaels and HOW I MADE THE WORLD

How-I-Made-The-World-Plourde-comics

“How I Made the World,” is an intriguing title, don’t you think? It happens to be the title for a series of comics about Liz, a college student and writer who expresses herself in true epic glory, like any young person should. Now, this is most assuredly a SERIES, not a ONE-SHOT. There may have been a bit of confusion regarding this since the Diamond Previews catalog, the monthly bible for all comics retailers and regular comics buyers, has given the “one-shot” label to this series. Okay, now that we have that cleared up, here is an interview with the creators. It was a pleasure to get to chat for a bit with Liz and Randy.

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Filed under Comics, Interviews, mini-comics, Xeric Grant

Review: HOW I MADE THE WORLD #1 by Liz Plourde and Randy Michaels

How-I-Made-The-World-comics-Plourde-Michaels

“How I Made The World” is a Xeric Award-winning comic that follows the misadventures of Liz, a college student and aspiring writer. From her vantage point, just about everything in her life is epic. And so we begin in this first issue with not just a midterm art project deadline on the horizon. No, this is fodder for our first big story, “The Monster.”

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Filed under Alternative Comics, Autobio Comics, Comics, Comics Reviews, Xeric Grant