It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët's Beautiful Darkness has been one of the undisputed standouts in the not unglorious year of comics 2014. Originating from the mind and sketch/notebooks of Marie Pommepuy (she, and partner Sébastien Cosset collaborate under the pen-name Kerascoët), the story of a group of tiny people springing from the body of a dead girl in the woods and the vicious lengths and efforts they go to to survive is appreciable on several, complex levels. One of the facets of great art is that it lingers in the mind, burrows and shifts, dredging up thought and questions, analyses, re-evaluation, and Beautiful Darkness is no different. And so, to accompany my original review, I've compiled a deconstruction of sorts presented here as various questions (answered and unanswered) and theories that dig further into the text and its potential readings.
Graphic Novels - Page 3
Koyama Press announced its spring 2015 lineup of graphic novels this week, and the books coming down the pipeline range from personal, diary-format comics to a weird, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pastiche. There's also a surreal deconstruction of superheroes and an effusive celebration of color. Creators include Dustin Harbin, A. Degen, Alex Schubert and Ginette Lapalme.
Though hugely influential on characters including Vampirella, Jean-Claude Forest's Barbarella graphic novels haven't really made a huge dent in American comics culture. Many fans are likely familiar with the 1968 movie starring Jane Fonda, but Forest's French comics haven't been printed in English since appearing in Heavy Metal back in 1978.
That's about to change thanks to Humanoids Publishing and writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. A new translation of Forest's Barbarella, scripted by DeConnick, is set for release September 24, with the first-ever English reprint of the second book, The Wrath of the Minute-Eater, coming in January.
While at Comic Con, Grant Morrison dropped several enigmatic hints and subliminal messages to ComicsAlliance about his next mega-event, Multiversity, broke down the divisions between fictional universes, and even proclaimed that he thinks that he's made the world's first real superhero. He says things like that. Some people like him, many love him, and some people straight up hate him. With Multiversity starting up in August, you can be sure that there will soon be legions of detractors proclaiming that Morrison is the most overrated writer in comics, and nothing he's ever done has ever made any sense.
The release of DC's Doom Patrol Omnibus finally equips us to give these people the bludgeoning they deserve. (Metaphorical bludgeoning. ComicsAlliance does not condone actual bludgeoning.)
When discussing the oeuvre of David Lapham, the comic that comes up again and again is obviously Stray Bullets. As great as Stray Bullets is, though, it tends to overshadow the rest of Lapham's body of work rather unfairly in some cases. Despite the several very good comics that Lapham has produced besides his most famous title – including the incomplete Young Liars, the raucous Juice Squeezers, and of course WWF Battlemania – none can match the near-mythic level of quality and reputation of Stray Bullets, and tend to just get left out of the conversation.
The new trade paperback collection of Murder Me Dead, available July 23 from Image Comics, could help change that trend. A dark, stirring, and emotionally manipulative noir about self-destruction, lies, and guilt, it may be the best “other” Lapham comic in his catalog.
A 1968 script by Jim Henson and longtime collaborator Jerry Juhl is finally being produced, as a TV special and as a brand new graphic novel by Snarked, Popeye and The Muppets cartoonist Roger Langridge.
Archaia will publish the Thanksgiving themed graphic novel The Magical Monsters of Turkey Hollow in October, which means the project has a real Henson pedigree. Not only has Langridge produced acclaimed Muppets comics for Archaia parent Boom! Studios, but the graphic novel that really put Archaia on the map in 2011 was Tale of Sand, an adaptation of another unproduced Henson/Juhl script.
Graphic novelist Paul Pope has been busy of late. He released two graphic novels in 2013: Battling Boy and The Death of Haggard West, and another, The Rise of Aurora West, is on the way in September.
And yet the prolific artist found the time to work with film director and writer Sridhar Reddy on a brand new short film, 7x6x2, based on one of Pope's graphic novellas. The story is sort of a sci-fi Western, a bit of a take on the effects of war, and absolutely full of nefarious, ape-like creatures.
With his first two English language releases, What A Wonderful World and Solanin (both published by Viz), Inio Asano had gained a reputation for creating thoughtful slice-of-life stories that earned him the reputation as being the voice of a generation. March saw the debut of the Fantagraphics' edition of Nijigahara Holograph, a book that's as difficult to read as it is stunning to look at. Ostensibly about the repeated sacrifices of a young woman to save the world from apocalypse, the introduction of alternating timelines (with no clear delineation) and mature elements elevates it beyond exploitation, even as it forces the reader into uncomfortable territory that's reminiscent of the work of David Lynch.
There's still several weeks before James Stoke‘s Wonton Soup gets collected in a new 6 x 9" trade paperback by Oni Press, but the publisher is aiming to whet readers' appetites for the previously out-of-print comic in a glorious 30-page preview of the upcoming Wontomnibus. Have some water handy, though, we don't want you burning your tongue.
If you've ever wanted to see the entirety of culture in the early 1990s captured in 35 seconds, then you could do a lot worse than to watch the famous Levi's Button Fly Jeans commercial starring Rob Liefeld, directed by Spike Lee. It's a testament to the overwhelming popularity of comics in general and Liefeld in particular during that era, but more than that, it's a snapshot of the time in pop culture.
Now, cartoonist Ed Piskor has recreated it in the form of a comic strip, depicting Rob Liefeld in the style of Rob Liefeld, and it is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.