In 1989 Daredevil‘s “Inferno” storyline from Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr offered some pointed social commentary about NYC. It returns in Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, and Mattia Iacono‘s current series made for some uncanny reading for New Yorkers today.
November isn’t just the election it’s also the hit hardboiled graphic novel series from Elsa Charretier and Matt Fraction. A special commentary edition of the book is on its way and Elsa has the scoop! Fraction and I also chatted about Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, his series with Steve Lieber- and there are some interesting connections between the two very different works!
Once again a black man is on death row for a murder he didn’t commit. But what if the white veterans who did the murder came forward? What if the murder was just the US military industrial complex doing what it was built for? What if the vets who were commanded to do the murder want to come clean to get the falsely accused man freed? And what if the so-called Justice System just didn’t care?
Bad Karma is the action and feelings comic you’ve been waiting for. Written and lettered by my friend Alex de Campi and art by Ryan Howe, and Dee Cunniffe, you can find it self published on Panel Syndicate.
This series is the spiritual successor to the Hell’s Kitchen Movie Club fan comics that de Campi developed with a rotating crew of artists showcasing charmingly mundane interactions between one Bucky Barnes and one Frank Castle as they try to enjoy a regular movie night while coping with trauma. Just vets being vets. It’s warm and funny and insightful and if you’re the one person in comics who hasn’t read it yet, get on it.
Regardless of the earlier fan works, the main characters in this series feel completely fresh yet are so thoroughly inhabited they are easy to get charmed by, especially for their flaws.
These are two veterans, Ethan and Sully, who are wrestling with the pain and loss that they endured– both physical and emotional. They are working-class Boston guys (Southie to be precise) who enlisted young and fought in combat units in Afghanistan. Their friendship and history together, the way they take care of each other and try to balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses are central. I love the extremely honest and upfront ways Ethan and Sully address aspects of their disabilities and the subtler ways in which they don’t cope with other parts of them.
The third member of the party is Ethan’s ex-wife Cheryl. We find her trying to wrangle their kids as the only responsible person around. She’s got a quick wit and her clothes make sense. When’s the last time you saw an action story where the protagonist’s ex-wife isn’t just sympathetic but is actually someone you cheer for? Was it Die Hard? Would you believe you don’t have to turn ex-wives into humorless unfeeling monsters and nags? Who knew? (Pssssst…women knew). If you’re someone who avoids stories without women— this one has quite the woman.
Like any action story worth its salt this one has politics. Race and class shape the world and the ways it plays out in US institutions that claim to be fair but are extremely obviously unjust is central to the story.
This comic says fuck the CIA, fuck the private military contractor CEO’s and fuck the “Justice System”. It shows how working class people are exploited and the poor are dehumanized by these systems. It shows how some men get rich from the military while others are left with trauma and unemployment. Unlike my review, this story is not didactic about it. The intrigue is rewarding.
I had the pleasure of first reading Bad Karma when it was just a film script. I read it on a flight and I was riveted to my seat. I’m so excited that this story is now going to be readable by anyone with a computer.
This series also stands out because the art is fucking great. The art strikes the right balance of heightened cartooning and realism especially character design, facial expressions and body language. The full character acting. The care that went into showing how someone with a specific amputation might walk.
The environments the story takes place across are so believable. From a Waffle House to a working class Boston home to a Virginia mansion built on the bodies of the dead, the detail shines through. Not just in the background of the panels but in the voices in the background of the panels.
The cover of each issue is a snapshot from the characters’ pasts. I don’t know if I’ve seen a comic do this before for each issue but its an excellent way to develop the world of the comic. My heart breaks a bit when I see them at bootcamp because I know what comes next.
Redemption and forgiveness are themes I see through this text. Do our protagonists trying to right a wrong absolve them in some way? Is that even what they are seeking? Are Ethan and Cheryl able to build a healthier relationship as parents even if they aren’t married? And what does Aaron Carter, the man unjustly imprisoned for murder for YEARS get out of this?
I’m on the edge of my seat for them all.
I was provided free review copies but I also bought them on Panel Syndicate.
Tabletop roleplaying games are a hot social activity. Many have played for decades, but some have always wanted to try but haven’t found a group to join yet. This episode features a diverse crew of TTRPG experts answering your questions on everything from how to get started, how to make your games more inclusive, how to adapt your offline games to online AND recommend awesome games you haven’t heard of yet (those may involve neither dungeons nor dragons).
Jess Ross is an editor, writer, and podcaster. She plays D&D with the d20 Dames, a family-friendly actual play podcast https://d20dames.com/ You can find all of Jess’ writing on their website http://writejess.com
Mike Kelly is a cohost of the One Shot Test Kitchen podcast https://anchor.fm/one-shot-test-kitchen, which is a real-play podcast of different indie pen-and-paper RPGs. He is a game designer/writer and public speaker about games based out of Brooklyn
April-Lyn Caouette is a cohost of the One Shot Test Kitchen. She’s a cofounder / Chief Resource Nerd at Love Thy Nerd, a nerd culture ministry that exists to love and serve their nerdy neighbors through thoughtful content, intentional community, and relational outreach. lovethynerd.com.
“disrupting the idea of superhero vs super villains and more about what happens within any community”
Music critic Matt Perpetua is writing about X-Men comics on his new site https://www.houseofx.org. He is also the sole writer of the independent music site Fluxblogsince 2002, more recently expanding beyond the site itself to playlist curation on Spotify. In addition to the site, has also contributed to Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NPR, and New York Magazine, and was the founding editor of BuzzFeed Music.
Our critically acclaimed coverage of Doom Patrol–-DC Universe‘s critically acclaimed show–continues with this episode on Season 2.
Joining me are guests:
Sarah Daniel Rasher is an erstwhile professor of Shakespeareology who now tries to save the world through educational data. They also occasionally write about figure skating and Star Trek on the internet.
Winn Periyasamy is a Fordham law student and advocate working and organizing in New York City. She has her master’s in public health and her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Nation, and more. You can follow Winn at @wperiyasamy
“I’m so thankful that my job is to sell people art.” – John Arminio, Comix Connection.
Guest John Arminio shares what it is like working at a comics store during this unprecedented time and how fans can support comics retail staff. Plus he makes some great suggestions of comics to buy.
John is a long-time comic book devotee and retailer who peddles his wares at Comix Connection in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Along with comics, another of his great passions is film, and you can hear him discuss that artistic medium on recent episodes of the podcasts Hellbent for Horror, Film ’89, and 26 Movies from Hell.
John has joined Graphic Policy Radio before to talk about:
Comics’ harassment crisis isn’t just caused by the names you’ve seen in the comics news. It is enabled by an entire system of employment and fandom built on exploitation. Good thing there are some brilliant and brave people joining me to talk about what we can to do create meaningful change in the industry.
Jay Edidin writes comics, short fiction, and narrative nonfiction; covers culture, arts, science, and gender as a journalist and essayist; edits comics, transmedia, and genre fiction; and is half of the podcast Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men. Jay was named ComicBook .com 2017 Comics Person of the Year for his investigative coverage of harassment issues at D.C. Comics and his work to foster diversity and inclusion in comics culture.
Joan Hilty is a comics editor who came up in the 90s queer comics scene as a cartoonist, then had a 15-year editorial run at DC Comics/Vertigo, and now works with many of the Top 10 comics publishers in licensed publishing at Nickelodeon. She’s taught at Maryland Institute College of Art and is currently on the Cartooning faculty at School of Visual Arts. In 2014 she wrote about her experience with harassment in the industry for the Guardian, which was later a part of Jay’s Buzzfeed reporting leading to the ouster of a top editor at DC.
Kwanza Osajyefo: Author and creator of BLACK, a comic that asks: what if only black people had superpowers. Kwanza has been a part of the comics for nearly 20 years. Beginning his career as an online producer at Marvel before moving into other media roles. He later returned to comics and launched DC Comics’ digital publishing initiatives.
Tina Horn is the creator and writer of the sci-fi sex-rebel comic book series SfSx (Safe Sex). She hosts and produces the long-running kink podcast Why Are People Into That?!.
SfSx is the near-future story of the underground queer sex workers known as the Dirty Mind, who use their powers of bondage and intrigue to free their incarcerated friends and fight the power! SfSx: Volume 1: Protection is out now in trade paperback.
Tina’s reporting on sexual subcultures and politics has been in Playboy, Rolling Stone and more; she is the author of two nonfiction books and has contributed to numerous anthologies including the queer horror collection Theater of Terror and the feminist essay collection Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World. Tina has lectured on sex worker politics and queer BDSM identities at universities and community centers all over North America and works as an on-set consultant for theater and television including the dominatrix scenes of Pose. She is a LAMBDA Literary Fellow, the recipient of two Feminist Awards, and holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence. Tina is currently working on her first scripts for film and television. You can follower her on Twitter and Instagram https://twitter.com/tinahornsass her podcast: https://tinahorn.net/podcast/
“I want to show that the people behind the desk can look like me, “– Christina ‘Steenz’ Stewart is a St. Louis based cartoonist, editor, and professor. She’s the cartoonist on the syndicated comic strip ‘Heart Of The City’, the co-creator of Dwayne McDuffie Award winning Graphic Novel Archival Quality, and is featured in short story anthologies such as Eisner and Ignatz Award-Winning Elements: Fire, Mine!, and Dead Beats. Steenz launched and edited the popular RPG periodical Rolled & Told. She participates in and creates community building comics related programming, and is a frequent panelist at comic cons. Steenz currently teaches cartooning at Webster University while editing titles from Mad Cave Studios.