Cinder And Ashe: José Luis García-López’s Nearly Overlooked Masterwork
Originally published by DC Comics in 1988, Cinder and Ashe is a comic by Gerry Conway, José Luis García-López, and Joe Orlando about two mercenary/detective friends who are unable to escape and reconcile with the horrors of their shared past in Vietnam -- a past which has become actualized with the returning of a mad killer who they both thought was long dead. The story takes place in New Orleans with flashbacks to Vietnam, and some stops in Washington, DC and Iowa. Now available in a collected edition, the book is a well preserved testament to the artistry of one of comics' best storytellers.
The Knife’s Edge Of Western Colonialism: Sergio Toppi’s ‘The Collector’ [Review]
One of the lesser explored stanchions of the Western genre is the fairly consistent notion of the dominant invading culture moving into indigenous lands and, over time, brutally removing said peoples from that land. Usually our focus is so narrow within the genre that we rarely realize that this is exactly what is happening. The dreaded “Indian raids” of many a John Ford classic are lensed so thoroughly through the perspective of the white-faced hero or anti-hero that an audience can’t help but miss the absurdity of maligning sovereign nations responding to mass invasions by another sovereign nation. Go try and start a mass migration into Putin’s Russia and see how that goes for you. I bring this up because Sergio Toppi’s The Collector is acutely focused on this precise issue. The collection of stories which make up this stunning tome from Archaia all occur on the knife’s edge of colonialism and western expansion -- and almost without fail, Toppi’s Collector sides with the invaded side rather than with colonizers the way his forebears -- and, really, antecedents -- might.
Beautiful Horror: Emily Carroll’s ‘Through The Woods’ Is A Comics Masterwork [Review]
Emily Carroll’s collection of horror comics, Through the Woods, operates largely on the alienation of the inexplicable experience. More specifically, with one exception, it explores that alienation in women, particularly young women. The struggle for many of these characters is the insidious horror of trauma, and all of the ways that trauma pulls you apart, both from yourself and your community, and leaves you susceptible to further terrors. This trauma that suddenly makes you unreliable to the world around you, and indeed unreliable to yourself, provides much of the claustrophobia that characterizes the slowly closing trap of Carroll’s flashlight-whispered tales. These are spellbound stories through which every strength of the comics medium is put into employ. There are frankly very few writers in comics who can go toe-to-toe with Emily Carroll in this regard. The totality of these comics is a testament to the largely untapped potentials inherent in this medium.
Image’s ‘Genesis’ Artist Alison Sampson On The Intersection of Comics And Architecture [Interview]
Available for pre-order now, Genesis is a forthcoming graphic novella from Image Comics created by the team of Alison Sampson, Nathan Edmonson, and Jason Wordie. In it is the 56-page story of the awesome thankless burden of one man’s ability to shape and change the world. Edmonson has scripted a moody, horror-tinged tale that captures perfectly the spiraling psyche of a man trying to create a better existence only to be constantly overwhelmed by the obstacles that come with this, not the least of which is a a multicultural and gendered world which seems more than happy to stick to the status quo. It's a mind-melting story brought to uncommonly vivid life by Sampson's artwork and the coloring of Jason Wordie. We sat down to with Alison Sampson to discuss these topics and more, both with respect to Genesis and her approach as an artist in practice. What followed was a really fascinating discussion, delving into the intersection of architecture and comics.
Martin And Mahfood’s ‘Everybody Loves Tank Girl': Beautiful Art, Narrative Dissonance
Everybody Loves Tank Girl is the new Tank Girl book collecting the recent issues drawn by Jim Mahfood and written by Tank Girl co-creator Alan C. Martin. Before getting into things too thoroughly, let's briefly unpack the term "the new Tank Girl," because that's quickly becoming not just a distinction referring to the passage of time, but a term that now encompasses some wholesale shift
Image Comics’ ‘Change’ is a Triumph of Controlled Chaos
Change is the new book from Image Comics by the team of Ales Kot, Sloane Leong, Morgan Jeske, and Ed Brisson. It is the story of loosely associated individuals working against a Lovecraftian apocalypse that threatens to overtake Los Angeles and turn it into New Atlantis...
Modern Horror, Sex and Death: Dynamite’s ‘The Art of Vampirella’ [Review]
Only in comics would you get a character like Vampirella in such a prominent role in the medium's history. Vampirella is arguably, with Wonder Woman and Red Sonja, one of the most iconic female characters in comics. Which is somewhat problematic given that she's meant as a mashup of Uncle Creepy and Elvira -- generally speaking, kind of a sordid mix from which iconic characters grow...
Sublime Artistry And Caged Fear In Lorenzo Mattotti’s ‘The Crackle Of The Frost’ [Review]
One of the more interesting folds of the comic book medium is the level of artistic demands it makes on the illustrator. Occasionally you will read a book containing literally thousands of panels that could each be a painting in a gallery, perhaps selling for tens of thousands of dollars a piece...
Guido Crepax’s ‘Bianca’ Fails As Bondage Porn, Succeeds As Sequential Art Classic
Guido Crepax is the name that first popped into my mind when I was told, "Hey, we wouldn't mind too terribly if you wrote a little bit about comics for us." Arguably the most important cartoonist whose work remains all but completely unavailable in English, the late Crepax is an artist whose work has enjoyed a bit of an uptick in critical response this year, with much of it oriented arou
Ross Campbell’s ‘Wet Moon’ Is Pure Comics [Review + 25-Page Preview]
On sale now from Oni Press is Wet Moon 6, the latest of Ross Campbell's excellent graphic novel series about variously gothic and geeky and gay girls (and some boys) attending art college in the American south. Light on melodrama but heavy on emotion, humor, and character development (and some seemingly supernatural intrigue for good measure), Wet Moon is a soap opera but in the best possible sens