J. Caleb Mozzocco
One Exclamation Point Isn’t Enough For Peter Bagge’s ‘Fire!! The Zora Neale Hurston Story’
Peter Bagge's particular cartooning style is immediately identifiable as his and his alone, signified by big expressive faces, seemingly boneless rubber limbs, hunched question mark-shaped postures, and such gag comic staples to underline emotions as surprise lines, anger-waves and floating hearts. Despite a long, varied and successful career in comics, he's probably not the first creator anyone would expect to produce a thoroughly researched comic-format biography of American literary giant Zora Neale Hurston.
Enter A Strange State Of Nature With Michael DeForge’s ‘Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero’
Who is Sticks Angelica? According to no less an authority than Stick Angelica herself, she is a 49-year-old former Olympian, poet, scholar, sculptor, minister, activist, and all-around hyphenate celebrity who has left the public eye after a scandal involving her politician father, and moved into the Monterey National Park in Ontario. She is also the title character of Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero, a comic strip-turned-graphic novel by Michael DeForge.
The Obamas Return For Another Surreal Adventure In Steven Weissman’s ‘Looking For America’s Dog’
Is America lost, or has America merely lost its way? That’s a question that a little more than half of the Americans who voted in this year's presidential election --- those that cast their votes for the former Secretary of State and United States Senator over the scandal-plagued, race-baiting demagogue with no experience in government at all --- have likely been pondering in recent weeks. I suppose we’ll find out over the course of what promises to be a very tense, very anxious few years. Here’s a much easier, less stomach-churning question; Has America lost its dog? Yes, yes it has, at least within the pages of Steven Weissman’s Looking For America’s Dog, the sequel to his Barack Hussein Obama.
Romeo Remixed: Ronald Wimberly’s ‘Prince of Cats’ Is Comics As Cross-Media Hip Hop
Ronald Wimberly is hardly the first person to note the similarities between Shakespeare’s poetic dialogue and hip hop, and stage a performance of the former in the trappings of the latter. Nor is Wimberly the first to note the parallels between modern gang culture and the warring houses in Romeo and Juliet. Nor is he the first to extrapolate an entire new story based on a minor character in one of Shakespeare’s plays. He may, however, be the first to do all of that simultaneously, while including other elements of apparent personal fascination, and the first to do so in the comics medium. The result is the original graphic novel Prince of Cats, originally released by Vertigo and recently remastered and reissued by Image. The book stars Juliet’s cousin Tybalt, the “fiery” dueler who is mocked with the words that give the book its title. The dialogue reads like Shakespeare, the action moves like manga, and it looks like nothing else --- even if the sources of the individual elements are readily apparent.
Jill Thompson’s ‘The True Amazon’ And The Secret Strength Of Wonder Woman’s Confusing Origins
Gender is far from the only thing that separates Wonder Woman from her DC Comics peers Superman and Batman. One rather dramatic difference that has grown more and more pronounced over the course of the last three decades is the fluidity of the character’s origins. Jill Thompson’s Wonder Woman: The True Amazon responds to the ambiguity around Wonder Woman's origins, not simply by filling a perceived hole with an analogue to Batman: Year One, but rather by capitalizing on that fluidity to tell a Wonder Woman story unlike any other.
Tom Gauld On ‘Mooncop’, His Melancholy Comedy About A Cop On The Moon [Interview]
British cartoonist Tom Gauld's new graphic novel Mooncop imagines an actualization of the lunar colony concept of moonshot-era pop culture as it might be if the colony had followed the path of our collective gradual disenchantment with space. Gauld employs his signature simple style in service of a story that is at once an accomplished work of deadpan comedy and a meditation on the passage of time. ComicsAlliance spoke to to Gauld about his inspiration and his work.
‘Birds of Prey’ TV Rewatch, Episode 13: ‘Devil’s Eyes’
This is it! The final episode of the series! A newly empowered Harley Quinn attacks the Birds of Prey head-on, taking over their base and plunging all of New Gotham into complete, apocalyptic (and decidedly off-screen) chaos! It will take the combined efforts of all three Birds of Prey and both Bros of Prey (Alfred and Reese) to punch and kick the city back to safety!
‘Birds of Prey’ TV Rewatch, Episode 11: ‘Reunion’
In this episode, Helena Kyle (Ashley Scott) is completely uninterested in attending her five-year class reunion... until her former classmates start showing up dead, the apparent victims of a metahuman killer. Meanwhile, Barbara Gordon (Dina Meyer) struggles to balance crime-fighting with her relationship with Wade (Shawn Christian), Alfred (Ian Abercrombie) cleans stuff, and Dinah (Rachel Skarsten) wanders around aimlessly, looking for stuff to do.
Can Batman Be The Hero In Paul Dini’s ‘Dark Night: A True Batman Story’?
It's no secret that, before he came to comics, Paul Dini worked as a writer in animation on series including Batman: The Animated Series and, before that, Tiny Toon Adventures --- both from the then-resurgent Warner Bros Animation studio. Dark Night, his new graphic memoir detailing a traumatic event from that time in his life, is premised as the Dini of 2016 pitching the story as he might have pitched an animated episode, pinning sketched-out storyboards to a wall before an unseen audience that will have their say when his presentation is over. The elaborate narrative set-up isn't the only unusual thing about Dini's Dark Night. Unlike the vast majority of comics memoirs, in which the memoirist is also a cartoonist and thus writes and draws the story, this one has the more traditional division of labor/creation of superhero comics, with Dini scripting and artist Eduardo Risso handling the art. And it's also got Batman in it. A lot.
Imaginary Friends Turn Fiends In Brecht Evens’ Harrowing ‘Panther’
I just read one of the most remarkable comics that I've experienced in recent memory and, as is often the case when I read a really great comic, I wanted immediately to tell everyone about it and suggest they seek it out to experience it for themselves. When I sat down at my computer to do just that, however, I found that this particular book, Brecht Evens' Panther, presents a challenge to the critic. The subject matter is as dark and disturbing as it can get, but a large part of the book's power is the way that Evens only very gradually reveals what's really going on. Panther seems slightly off, then hints, then suggests, and ultimately demonstrates that something sinister and sickening is going on, before a somewhat equivocal ending that implies it's far worse than one initially thought.