Tag Archives: graphic novels

Review: Diary of the Black Widow

BlackWidowCoverAs children we are taught that evil has a certain look. The bad guy always wears black, witches are misshapen crones, and thieves are small wily creatures. We never look for the bad guy amongst our trusted friends and family. I’m reminded of a line from Mike Newell’s Donnie Brasco, when the mobster Lefty in a state of paranoia scolds Donnie, “When they send for you, you go in alive, you come out dead, and it’s your best friend that does it.”

I, on the other hand, have learned that Evil is a looker. She has a beauty that rivals that of Helen of Troy. His blue eyes outshine those of Narcissus, and his rock hard countenance matches that of Adonis. Her weapons are sleek and beautiful. His blades are made of silver, with golden hilts. Her guns are well-crafted oiled machines of deadly recoil. True psychopaths are not dorky, vile, or sniveling beings. At their best they are fully functioning charismatic aristocrats at the top of the ruling class, with murderous powers of impunity; at their worst they are ordinary looking killers, hiding amongst us common folk. They can be the neighbor next door, or a favorite aunt or uncle.

Bret’s psychopathic Black Widow is such a person. She is extremely beautiful, and she’s known it since birth. She realizes at a very young age that she has the “powers of persuasion” that can help her in her “life’s work.” Showing a total disregard for laws and social mores, she guiltlessly dispatchers lovers for financial gain. Her innocent tale of woe is repeated, ad nauseum, to the point of absurdity—and if you think such a thing can never happen in the real world, then read Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City for an eye opening reality check.

The Black Widow’s diary continues its murderous autobiographical account, until finally someone does notice; and therein, lies the tale. Can the Black Widow continue to murder unabated, without fear of punishment? Bret’s dark and simple inks move the dark comedic story along, with uneasy satire. If you listen hard enough, you can almost hear the Addam’s Family finger-snapping theme song, as you read through the basic black and white funny pages. You’ll chuckle nervously with amazement at her surreptitious ability to kill, and then, suddenly, you’ll just stop. You’ll know why.

Story and Art: Bret M. Herholz Lettering: John Shaver Cover Colors: Rori Shapiro
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Alterna Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Previews Releases Top 100 Graphic Novels for January 2016

Previews has released the top 100 graphic novels for January 2016. Marvel had success with Star Wars. The company had nine of the month’s top ten graphic novels and of those nine four are Star Wars.

Oni Press had success with Invader Zim‘s first volume which came in at #7. Image, which usually dominates graphic novels, had Lazarus Vol. 4: Poison as their top item at #11. DC Comic‘s best-selling graphic novel for January was The Flash Vol. 6: Out of Time at #20. Dark Horse ComicsThe Savage Sword of Conan Vol. 21 was their best at #56. IDW Publishing‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 13: Vengeance Part 2 was their top at #63.

TOP 100 GRAPHIC NOVELS
Based on Total Unit Sales of Products Invoiced in January 2016

QTY
RANK
DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 STAR WARS DARTH VADER TP VOL 02 SHADOWS AND SECRETS $19.99 OCT150987 MAR
2 STAR WARS TP VOL 02 SHOWDOWN ON THE SMUGGLERS MOON $19.99 OCT150986 MAR
3 COLOR YOUR OWN DEADPOOL TP $9.99 NOV150950 MAR
4 DEATH OF WOLVERINE TP $19.99 JUN150829 MAR
5 STAR WARS TP LANDO $16.99 OCT150988 MAR
6 DEADPOOLS SECRET SECRET WARS TP $15.99 OCT150977 MAR
7 INVADER ZIM TP VOL 01 $19.99 OCT151564 ONI
8 THOR TP VOL 01 GODDESS OF THUNDER $19.99 OCT150985 MAR
9 STAR WARS DARTH VADER TP VOL 01 VADER $19.99 JUL150827 MAR
10 CIVIL WAR TP $24.99 JAN072436 MAR
11 LAZARUS TP VOL 4 POISON (MR) $14.99 NOV150672 IMA
12 SAGA TP VOL 05 (MR) $14.99 JUL150565 IMA
13 DEADPOOL FLASHBACKS TP $19.99 MAY150835 MAR
14 SUPERIOR IRON MAN TP VOL 01 INFAMOUS $19.99 OCT150982 MAR
15 STAR WARS TP JOURNEY TO SW FORCE AWAKENS SHATTER EMPIRE $16.99 AUG150915 MAR
16 STAR WARS TP VOL 01 SKYWALKER STRIKES $19.99 MAY150811 MAR
17 SAGA TP VOL 01 (MR) $9.99 AUG120491 IMA
18 WALKING DEAD TP VOL 01 DAYS GONE BYE $14.99 NOV128157-M IMA
19 RAI TP VOL 01 WELCOME TO NEW JAPAN $9.99 AUG141740 VAL
20 FLASH TP VOL 06 OUT OF TIME $16.99 OCT150257 DC
21 DEADPOOL VS THANOS TP $16.99 SEP150876 MAR
22 GRAYSON TP VOL 01 AGENTS OF SPYRAL TP $14.99 OCT150253 DC
23 GRAYSON TP VOL 02 WE ALL DIE AT DAWN $14.99 OCT150254 DC
24 BATMAN BY ED BRUBAKER TP VOL 01 $19.99 OCT150242 DC
25 AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE TP VOL 01 ESCAPE FROM RIVERDALE $17.99 FEB140918-M ARC
26 SOUTHERN CROSS TP VOL 01 (MR) $9.99 AUG150495 IMA
27 STARVE TP VOL 01 (MR) $9.99 OCT150605 IMA
28 ULTIMATE END TP $16.99 SEP150866 MAR
29 BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT TP VOL 01 $14.99 OCT150245 DC
30 ONE PUNCH MAN GN VOL 01 $9.99 JUN158141 VIZ
31 BATMAN DETECTIVE COMICS TP VOL 06 ICARUS $16.99 OCT150247 DC
32 SUPERGIRL TP VOL 01 THE GIRL OF STEEL $16.99 OCT150252 DC
33 HELLBLAZER TP VOL 12 HOW TO PLAY WITH FIRE (MR) $19.99 OCT150281 DC
34 BATGIRL TP VOL 01 SILENT KNIGHT $19.99 OCT150244 DC
35 SILVER SURFER TP VOL 03 LAST DAYS $17.99 AUG150886 MAR
36 PUNISHER MAX TP VOL 01 COMPLETE COLLECTION (MR) $34.99 OCT150993 MAR
37 BATMAN THE JIRO KUWATA BATMANGA TP VOL 03 (OF 3) $14.99 OCT150250 DC
38 ONE PUNCH MAN GN VOL 04 $9.99 NOV151742 VIZ
39 RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS TP VOL 07 LAST CALL $14.99 OCT150260 DC
40 NEW TEEN TITANS TP VOL 04 $19.99 OCT150259 DC
41 BATMAN DETECTIVE COMICS HC VOL 07 ANARKY $24.99 SEP150289 DC
42 ALL NEW X-MEN TP VOL 07 UTOPIANS $19.99 OCT150983 MAR
43 BATMAN THE KILLING JOKE SPECIAL ED HC $17.99 NOV070226 DC
44 FLASH HC VOL 07 SAVAGE WORLD $22.99 SEP150296 DC
45 AVENGERS TIME RUNS OUT TP VOL 03 $19.99 OCT150979 MAR
46 BEE AND PUPPYCAT TP VOL 02 $14.99 NOV151159 BOO
47 JESSICA JONES TP VOL 01 ALIAS (MR) $24.99 JUN150831 MAR
48 SWAMP THING TP VOL 07 SEASONS END $16.99 OCT150262 DC
49 SHOWCASE PRESENTS BATMAN TP VOL 06 $19.99 OCT150261 DC
50 SAGA TP VOL 04 (MR) $14.99 OCT140644 IMA
51 WALKING DEAD TP VOL 02 MILES BEHIND US (NEW PTG) $14.99 SEP088204 IMA
52 SAGA TP VOL 02 (MR) $14.99 APR130443 IMA
53 HOUSE OF M TP WARZONES $15.99 OCT150975 MAR
54 SPIDER-WOMAN TP VOL 02 NEW DUDS $17.99 NOV150946 MAR
55 SANDMAN OVERTURE DELUXE ED HC (MR) $24.99 JUL150333 DC
56 SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN TP VOL 21 $19.99 SEP150097 DAR
57 DEADPOOL AND CABLE OMNIBUS HC $125.00 JUL140716 MAR
58 BITCH PLANET TP VOL 01 EXTRAORDINARY MACHINE (MR) $9.99 MAY150482 IMA
59 X-MEN TP VOL 01 INFERNO $34.99 OCT150984 MAR
60 SHIELD TP VOL 02 MAN CALLED DEATH $17.99 NOV150945 MAR
61 SONIC MEGA MAN WORLDS COLLIDE COMPLETE EPIC TP $29.99 FEB150982-M ARC
61 GUARDIANS OF GALAXY HC VOL 02 $34.99 JUL150826 MAR
63 TMNT ONGOING TP VOL 13 VENGEANCE PT 2 $17.99 NOV150369 IDW
64 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HC VOL 01 $34.99 OCT150969 MAR
65 INHUMANS TP ATTILAN RISING $16.99 NOV150941 MAR
66 SAGA TP VOL 03 (MR) $14.99 JAN140556 IMA
67 DAREDEVIL EPIC COLLECTION TP TOUCH OF TYPHOID $39.99 OCT150991 MAR
67 DOCTOR WHO 2015 FOUR DOCTORS HC $19.99 AUG151715 TTN
69 DEADPOOL KILLS MARVEL UNIVERSE TP $14.99 AUG120709 MAR
70 BATMAN TP VOL 01 THE COURT OF OWLS (N52) $16.99 DEC120323 DC
71 WALKING DEAD TP VOL 24 LIFE AND DEATH (MR) $14.99 JUN150590 IMA
72 MY LITTLE PONY EQUESTRIA GIRLS TP $17.99 NOV150426 IDW
73 BATMAN SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN TRINITY DLX ED HC $29.99 SEP150286 DC
74 MMW SUB MARINER HC VOL 07 $75.00 JUL150824-M MAR
75 SHUTTER TP VOL 03 QUO VADIS (MR) $14.99 OCT150609 IMA
75 DEADPOOL TP VOL 01 DEAD PRESIDENTS NOW $15.99 MAR130727 MAR
77 RICK & MORTY TP VOL 01 $19.99 JUL151482 ONI
78 ONE PUNCH MAN GN VOL 03 $9.99 SEP151697 VIZ
79 GUARDIANS TEAM-UP TP VOL 02 UNLIKELY STORY $16.99 OCT150980 MAR
80 SEX TP VOL 04 DAISY CHAINS (MR) $14.99 NOV150692 IMA
81 DEADPOOL CLASSIC OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 $125.00 SEP150859 MAR
82 MIND MGMT HC VOL 06 THE IMMORTALS $19.99 SEP150068 DAR
82 RASPUTIN TP VOL 02 (MR) $14.99 NOV150688 IMA
84 ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN AND WOLVERINE PREM HC $24.99 MAY110733 MAR
85 ONE PUNCH MAN GN VOL 02 $9.99 JUN158140 VIZ
86 GROOT PREM HC $24.99 NOV150925 MAR
87 BATMAN HUSH COMPLETE TP $24.99 MAY090178 DC
88 WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM TP VOL 01 (MR) $59.99 MAR092419 IMA
89 BOOK OF DEATH TP $14.99 NOV151724 VAL
90 BATMAN DARK KNIGHT RETURNS TP $19.99 NOV118095 DC
91 AGE OF REPTILES ANCIENT EGYPTIANS TP $14.99 SEP150062 DAR
92 SHADOWLAND PREM HC BLOOD ON STREETS $19.99 JAN110835 MAR
93 X-MEN BY CLAREMONT AND LEE OMNIBUS HC VOL 02 $125.00 AUG110684 MAR
94 100 BULLETS TP BOOK 04 (MR) $24.99 OCT150272 DC
95 MS MARVEL TP VOL 01 NO NORMAL $15.99 JUN140725 MAR
96 WHAT IF TP INFINITY $14.99 NOV150944 MAR
97 WICKED & DIVINE TP VOL 01 THE FAUST ACT (MR) $9.99 SEP140684 IMA
98 ARMOR WARS WARZONES TP $16.99 NOV150937 MAR
99 DESCENDER TP VOL 01 TIN STARS (MR) $9.99 JUL150554 IMA
100 STAR WARS PRINCESS LEIA TP $16.99 JUN150822 MAR

Ryan North Reveals Noelle Stevenson’s Romeo and/or Juliet Cover

tumblr_inline_o17nnvxi981qdh99d_500Earlier today, Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) revealed the cover for his collaborative choose-your-own-adventure book titled Romeo and/or Juliet. The book is based on the classic Shakespeare play, but, in choose-your-own-adventure fashion, has more than 100 possible outcomes. Romeo and/or Juliet features cover art by Noelle Stevenson, and interior art by nearly a hundred artists, including Joe Quinones, Kate Beaton, Emily Carroll, Chip Zdarsky, and more.

The book is now available for preorder, and will be released on June 7, 2016. According to the website, preorderers will receive the book at a guaranteed price of $20 and “MYSTERY PERKS??”. Ryan North’s work on The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl means it will probably be hilarious and make for far more fun summer reading than Shakespeare’s version.

Check out the book’s website for more information on how to preorder.

Jeremy Whitley Discusses His Princeless Anthology

Princeless_V4_01-1We first caught wind of an anthology of stories revolving around the world of Princeless when writer (and Princeless creator) Jeremy Whitley joined us on Graphic Policy Radio. We’ve seen some teasing as to what we can expect out of what sounded like a who’s who of comic creators.

Whitley was kind of enough to take some time out of his schedule to spill the beans about the graphic novel, who’s participating, and the charities it’ll benefit.

Graphic Policy: So tell us about this anthology you’ve put together for Princeless.

Jeremy Whitley: It’s something I’ve been working on for about a year and a half now. It started out as me trying to find a way that Princeless could be of real concrete help to some of the people that I hope it inspires in a less concrete way. I wanted the book to be able to give back to people who supported it.

GP: How’d the idea come about?

JW: Ever since Princeless started out, there have been some amazing top tier writers and artists who have been great supporters. They’ve said great things about the books both to me and in public. I’ve been so grateful for their support.

So, first I asked a couple people that I thought might say yes. And they did. So I asked some more people and, frankly, I was astonished at who said yes. Everybody has time constraints, so we decided to make them all short stories and I gave people the options of using our characters, creating their own within the Princeless world, or writing something completely of their own creation that fit thematically with Princeless.

GP: You mentioned it when you were on our podcast a bit ago, how long has this been in the works?

JW: We had started it up about a year and a half ago and due to some tragic circumstances, it sorta fell apart. The idea hung around in my mind for a while, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

Then Action Lab started this year by celebrating its fifth anniversary and I realized that Princeless’s fifth anniversary would be later this year. It seemed like the perfect time to revive the anthology and make something really amazing.

PrincelessVolume5Iss0CoverGP: You’ve teased what sounds like an amazing group of individuals to participate. Who’s involved in the project?

JW: Ahem, so here’s who we have set to participate. Things may change a little bit before the release, but this is more or less our final list:

Kelly Sue Deconnick and Kit Cox are co-writing a story to be illustrated by the Pirate Princess art team of Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt.

Gail Simone, who is recreating classic kick-ass female characters over at Dynamite, is writing a story to be drawn by Princeless artists Emily Martin and Brett Grunig.

Bri Rudd is writing a story to be illustrated by Kyle Latino.

DeWayne Feenstra and Axur Eneas, of Action Lab’s Aero-Girl are teaming up to bring their style to Princeless.

Ivy Noelle Weir and Christina “Steenz” Stewart of Archival Quality are cooking up an awesome story for Princeless fans that you can’t miss.

The amazing Emily Willis and Ann Uland of Arbitrary Muse Comics are bringing us a great tale of Raven the Pirate Princess.

David Pinckney, creator of Action Lab’s Fight Like a Girl is teaming up with Maggie Venable to bring a fresh and exciting story to the world of Princeless.

Katie Cook (from everything) is writing and drawing her own beautiful short story.

Newcomer Alicia Whitley is teaming up with the artist of House of Montresor and Order of Dagonet Jason Strutz.

Writer and horror podcaster Wes Knipe is teaming up with the talented artist Sorah Suhng.

PRINCELESS RAVEN, THE PIRATE PRINCESS #1Kelly Thompson of too many awesome comics to name is working with Tara O’Conner who did Roots, In Your Wake, On the Morrow, and Puddles.

The multitalented Joe Illidge will be working with Marcus Williams who currently is in the process of getting his red-hot Kickstarter project Tuskegee Heirs funded.

Greg Pak, who is currently writing Totally Awesome Hulk for Marvel (among other things), is teaming up with Jules Rivera who has done some Princeless covers.

Bryan Q Miller, whose career spans comics and television, will be spinning up a story with Brenda Hickey who has been handling some of the art duties for various IDW My Little Pony series.

Tini Howard will be bringing her talents and writing a story with writer/artist Tony Fleecs.

Whit Taylor who is a Glyph award winner and Ignatz nominee, will be working with Jenn Blake whose fantastic work you can check out yourself.

Writer and feminist activist, Mikki Kendall will be putting together a story with Ted Naifeh who is the person behind his own kick-ass Pricess series, Princess Ugg.

Tristan J Tarwater who writes The Valley of Ten Crescents series, will be contributing with G Pike.

Jamal Igle, who is no stranger to kick-ass women with his own series Molly Danger, will be contributing a story as writer and artist.

Susan Beneville and Brian Hess, the team behind the series Awake, will be participating.

Kimya Dawson will be working with the amazing Janet Lee.

Gemma Bedeau, the co-creator of the Glyph Award nominated Afroella will be working Telênia Albuquerque, the creator of Amazonomachy.

PRINCELESS THE PIRATE PRINCESS TPBGP: That’s a hell of a lineup. With all of those individuals, is this an oversized single issue? Multiple issues? That’s a lot of talent to fill in one comic!

JW: Definitely an oversized volume. We’ll be looking at something in the trade paperback vicinity.

GP: What Princeless characters can we expect to see in the comic? Is this in “continuity”?

JW: Both the trio of Adrienne, Bedelia and Sparky and the crew of Raven’s pirate ship will feature prominently. You’ll also get to see a few of the supporting cast from previous volumes.

Even more exciting is that we’ll get to see a number of original creations from some of the great creators on this. My only requirement for stories was that they stay thematically in line with Princeless. They’ve made some amazing stuff.

GP: You’re all doing this for charity. What charity is this project benefiting?

JW: We are working together to benefit Girls Leadership Institute and Girls Rock NC here in my home state of North Carolina.

GP: How’d you learn about them and why’d you choose them?

JW: Girls Leadership Institute I learned about via Kelly Sue Deconnick and Matt Fraction who had worked with the group in the past. They’re an amazing group that does great things for girls.

Girls Rock NC was a group I was made aware of because a friend of mine had worked with them. They put together some great camps and teach skills in much the same vein as Girls Leadership, but with rock music here in NC.

GP: What was the reaction from the creators when you approached them about doing a comic for charity?

JW: It was overwhelmingly positive. People have been incredibly giving with their time and even the handful of creators that had to turn me down only did so for scheduling reasons. Everybody seems really excited about making this book as amazing as it can be.

GP: When can we expect this to come out?

JW: We are aiming for a release date in late 2016 (about the time of year the first Princeless volume released). We’re still not 100% on dates as we are working around and in between a lot of schedules, but we are definitely aiming for this year.

Preview: Minions Vol. 2 HC

MINIONS VOLUME 2 HC

WRITERSTÉPHANE LAPUSS’
ARTIST: RENAUD COLLIN
PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS
PAGE COUNT: 48 PP
FORMAT: HARDCOVER
PRICE$14.99
RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 20

The Minions return for more laughs and another helping of madcap fun in this second hilarious comic collection.

CoverA

Preview: Clusterf@#k

CLUSTERF@#K

Graphic novel release
Diamond Order Code: JAN161027
$14.99,  160 pgs, Full Color, Mature Readers
(W) Jon Parrish
(A) Diego Toro
Available to pre-order NOW in January Previews JAN161027
Set for release on March 30th, 2016

One demon. One jackass. One AWFUL Saturday night…

After defeating an evil wizard, two private investigators suddenly find themselves being pursued by werewolves, vampires, and worst of all – GOVERNMENT AGENTS! Luckily, Karl can transform into a powerful DEMON and Jim can transform into a GIANT… pain in the butt. Will they survive the night? And more importantly… will they get PAID?? Yeah… it’s just one big CLUSTERF@#K!

0

Check out Rep. John Lewis’ March this MLK Day

March Book One CoverThe three volume graphic novel series March chronicles Rep. John Lewis‘ experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. The first two volumes have been released and you can read my review of the first volume and the second volume. Short version, they’re amazing.

Reception has been so good IDW Publishing and Top Shelf will be launching a super-sized hardcover edition collecting the first two volumes. Plus, this year’s Free Comic Book Day features a FCBD March Trilogy Sampler.

To honor the Civil Rights Movement and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., March is being spotlight around the media today, MLK Day.

The Diane Rehm Show will be re-running their hour-long interview with Congressman John Lewis and co-writer Andrew Aydin. The show airs on NPR and Sirius Satellite Radio.

Additionally on Monday, CSPAN-2 will broadcast (twice — at 2:30pm and 8:30pm EST) the one-hour BookTV speech by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin from the Miami Book Fair.

After MLK day, there will also be a MARCH interview on Fusion’s America with Jorge Ramos (10pm EST).

March is an amazing graphic novel. Not only does it entertain, but it brings real history to life recounting the amazing experiences of Congressman Lewis and everything he fought for. I can’t stress enough how good it is. You can pick up a copy of the first volume here and the second volume here.

Review: Manchette’s Fatale

Manchette_Fatale_CoverReading for me can be euphoric. Then there are times when I come across a body of work that causes me nothing but pain. I want to stop, but I suffer from a nerdy quirk that compels me to finish what I started, regardless of the mental anguish it causes.

Machette’s Fatale is a 137 page graphic novel adaptation, by Max Cabanes and Doug Headline, of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s same titled 90-page novella (who is also the original author behind the ‘The Gunman’ movie starring Sean Penn). I have never heard of Manchette before, but supposedly he is like a French Dashiell Hammett and famous for writing dark crime noir with nihilistic existentialist themes critical of the French Bourgeoisie during the 70s and 80s (unfortunately this adaptation has not inspired me in any way to read his work).

The back cover bragged that it was nominated at the prestigious Festival international de la bande dessine d’Angoulême (kind of like our American Comic Con, but a bit more literary and French, with a lot less cosplay), so I was expectant of a good read.

In excruciating detail—no hyperbole—I was introduced to Aimée Joubert, an extremely beautiful killer, with a chip on her shoulder against all men. Her modus operandi is to ingratiate herself into the current locale’s high society, to take advantage of private scandals, and drum up clients for her gun-for-hire business.

Fifty pages in, I couldn’t care less about her, or Baron Jules, or any of the other townsfolk. There was nothing in this story that stirred any kind of emotion in me. The characters were vile and repulsive; and Aimée, although attractive, was numbingly dull. The art was flat, no better than that of what I’ve seen in the past within the more dramatic Sunday dailies of Brenda Starr; and the written detail of no import was painful to work through.

Maybe it went over my head, but the only good moment I can recall was the relief I felt when I saw these two words: “The End.” This is at best a niche book for a limited audience of French Lit lovers of purposeless nihilistic violent endings.

If you’re not a member of this exclusive club, pass it by on the rack.

Story: Jean-Patrick Manchette Adapted: Doug Headline Art: Max Cabanes
Story: 6 Art: 6 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

 

 

 

Signing With Starve’s Brian Wood at JHU

Starve1Yet another Wednesday signing at Jim Hanley Universe (JHU). At first, I was going to skip it. I had plenty of excuses. Wednesday is hump day, I have a long commute from Mid-CT to NYC (and vice versa); and around 6 PM all I want to do is get on the train for my afternoon nap on the ride home. However, I already owned a signed copy of Brian Wood‘s the DMZ Vol. 1 TPB, and rationalized that the admission price of a signed $9.99 Starve TPB–even though I really had no interest in a book about a celebrity chef–was well worth the effort to get my copy of DMZ Vol. 2 TPB signed to add to my collection.

Man, was I so wrong on this one.

Wired and wide awake from the long cold walk from East 32nd to Grand Central; on the train ride home, I cracked open my signed copy of Starve to see what it was about.

Initially, I had mixed feelings after reading the first chapter.  I was intrigued by the drug addled Gavin Cruikshank celebrity chef character, but a little put off by the dog episode. Still, I needed to know what happened next. About a half an hour later, a third of my train ride was over, and I was on Chapter 4 … like goddamn … this is pretty damn effin good.

Starve2At times the resolutions were a tad too neat, but the writing was superb, and it kept me awake the entire train ride home. This is no easy feat; usually the rhythmic motion of the train knocks me out cold in 15 minutes or less; but by the end of Chapter five (set in Brooklyn, my old stomping grounds), I was surprised to realize I was only about ten minutes away from my stop. I had been in the reading zone, where time flew by at a rapid clip unawares to me.

After reading it, I still didn’t know how to categorize it. A blurb on the back cover from Eater.com makes reference  to a “golden era of food comics.” I’m not aware of any such genre, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

What is it about? It’s about a present-future dystopian society focused on a dysfunctional celebrity family, at odds with each other amidst a subversive society of uber shallow one percenters flaunting their wealth in the middle of a looming class war. It’s a gut wrenching horror story that brilliantly satirizes the reality tv programs of today. It’s a dark bloody and violent televised contest between the young and the old. It’s the heartwarming reconciliation story of an out of the closet 1970s  queer coming to terms with his abandoned ex-wife, and barely 18 year old daughter. It’s all these things and more.

Zezelj’s art with Stewart’s colors is disturbing. It is tinted mauves, grayish blues, greens and yellows with heavy dark black inks. It is a visceral gory mess that you don’t want to look away from.

Don’t let this one pass you by like I almost did. Give Starve a chance.

And thanks again to Brian Wood for the sigs and the photo op! Now I gotta go and catch up on Season 2.

20160113_180523.jpg

Preview: Machette’s Fatale

MANCHETTE’S FATALE

WRITER: JEAN-PATRICK MANCHETTE
ARTIST: MAX CABANES
PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS
PAGE COUNT: 136PP
FORMAT: HARDCOVER
PRICE: $25.99
RELEASE DATE: IN STORES NOW
ISBN: 9781782766827

Aimée is a beautiful young widow – she’s also a killer. Driven by a deep-rooted desire for revenge, she sets about uncovering the secrets of the inhabitants of the sleepy rural town of Bleville, before ruthlessly murdering them. Faced with corruption of a kind she had scarcely imagined, she discovers a deeply moral core under her murderous instincts.

Manchette_Fatale_Cover

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