Category Archives: Webcomics

Review: Balderdash Chapter 1

Balderdash

When we think of witches, many images and personas pop up. The recent reboot of Charmed has given a vision of how the original series would look with more melanin but no indication of this fact. Then there is the superior web series Juju, which weaves into its story how magic and witchdoctors, have popped up all throughout the African Diaspora. The fantasy genre is full of these supernatural magic wielders with their sometimes complicated lives.

Then there is the horrific and terrifying Salem, which dives into why so many Americans have found a connection to them, as the birth of America is tethered to the existence of witches. Sometimes we forget that these stories also should have some levity, as Sabrina The Teenage Witch does in equal measure in the Netflix adaptation. The closest to what readers have enjoyed without being cartoonish like the hilarious Hocus Pocus is Practical Magic, showing how normal life issues can work in this world. In the debut chapter of Victoria Grace Elliot’s Balderdash, we meet two protagonists whose lives can be more different yet their connection carry on.

We meet Georgie, a young witch from the outskirts of a land named Xale, She has hopes of sharpening her skills as a witch by venturing to train under her mentor, a baker named Fausto. She must travel through treacherous terrain, which has her family worrying about her safety. Never mind the fact that they’re wrestling with the fact that this will be the first time she has left without them. By the issue’s end, it finally hits Georgie, the reality of going into the world alone.

Overall, an interesting debut issue that introduces readers to this magical world. The story by Elliot is wondrous and engaging. The art is remarkable. Altogether, a world and set of characters to sure to captivate the reader immediately.

Story: Victoria Grace Elliot Art: Victoria Grace Elliot
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Aztec Empire #5

Aztec Empire

Game Of Thrones is one of those shows and stories where the ebbs and flow of the momentum make for an interesting arc. Take, for instance, the arc of Sansa Stark. Once a meek character, but by show’s end, a fierce ruler whose loyalty to her people, made her formidable. There was one point where she was more hated than loved for her perceived weakness.

What made the story so magnetic is its unmistakable likeness to the flight of the human spirit. As everyone rooted for the Starks, when we saw how despite the misfortune that befell their house, they still rose. Who cannot champion those who are clear-minded and full-hearted? In the fifth issue of Aztec Empire, we find the Maya, at a crossroads, as some of them have surrendered while other factions look to fight.

We are taken to the Palace of Montecuhzoma, where the Council of Four is strategizing how to stop these usurpers and drive them from their land. The Great Speaker, Montecuhzoma II, ruminate with the advice of his generals, their next move, and treat these new strangers as a threat, one that he sees he must be more decisive, he must be accurate. We’re then taken to Potonchon, where the Spanish invaders start to impose the Christian religion and their ravaging of food supplies, one that pushes the natives to the brink. By issue’s end, Cortes looks to plunder Montecuhzoma’s land for gold, not knowing what unknown dangers lay ahead.

Overall, an engaging penultimate episode, one which will have reader rooting to defeat the invaders. The story by Paul Guinan is stirring and emotional. The art by Guinan and David Hahn is beautiful. Altogether, a story that leaves the reader beginning to comprehend the complexities and atrocities of colonization in all its repulsiveness.

Story: Paul Guinan Art: Paul Guinan and David Hahn
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Aztec Empire #4

Aztec Empire

When one looks through history, clearly the way stories are told is through the eyes of the victor. The only time where you have completely different views of who won the battle is War Of 1812. This view of history is often skewed by the glamor of victory and less with the blood-filled trails they leave behind.  Most of the stories do not include the bloodshed innocent people suffered at the hands of these “noble” men as they are considered to be carrying out “God’s work” against the indigenous peoples who are often referred to as savages.

There’s no better example than the ferocity of Hannibal and the fall of Carthage. His existence serves as one of the most brutal victories that the Roman Empire endured and because of it, Roe wanted to make an example. As the Empire eventually took Carthage and made slaves of the kingdom’s population, serving as a shameful chapter in their history that is shunned because of the far-reaching implications. In the fourth issue of Aztec Empire, we find the people who were protected by the Triple Alliance getting adjusted to colonization.

We are taken to Potonchan, as the negotiation for peace between the Maya and the Spaniards commences. Cortes looks to get the upper hand. With the arrival of King Tabscoob a lack of understanding of each other’s customers leads to hostile talks. Avarice turns to lust and rape as we see the cost of colonialism.

Overall, an engaging installment that gives readers, a rare look that the ugliness of colonization The story by Paul Guinan is enthralling. The art by David Hahn is superb. Altogether, a story that doesn’t hold back on exactly what happened, giving readers a truth, even when its uncomfortable.

Story: Paul Guinan Art: David Hahn
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Europe Comics Announces the English Launch of Webtoon Factory

Europe Comics, the pan-European digital venture run by 13 European comics players, is announcing the launch of webtoon platform Webtoon Factory.

Webtoon Factory was initially launched in French in January 2019 by Belgian publisher Dupuis, a Europe Comics founding member. The platform, currently offering more that 20 original webtoon series in French, is now releasing its English version including 16 series already available in English with new episodes released weekly. 

Webtoon Factory offers an ‘all you can read’ monthly and yearly subscriptions for 3.99€ and 35.99€ respectively and its app is available on both Android and iOS. Readers can also read on its webapp. 

Webtoon Factory’s series range from humor, fantasy, and drama to surreal thrillers, and are the work of creators from around the globe. Bestselling series include adventure quest Noah vs Nature, fantasy tale Bouhland, LGBT erotica Giselle and Beatrice and sci-fi saga Sex Runner

In 2020 Webtoon Factory plans to release 25 new series (including popular Korean webtoons) and is currently accepting submissions.

Sex Runner

Review: Aztec Empire #3

Aztec Empire

When it seems as though one must yield to the better fighter, most boxers do not relent. You get a boxer in a corner; they try to find a way out. You get a Mixed Martial Arts Fighter in a grapple; they look to toss themselves out of it. No matter, the odds, a fighter always finds a way.

It gets a little different when you are in an actual battle. Some of those odds are about survival. Where a fighter for sport knows more than likely he will live to fight another day. A warrior doesn’t know if today will be his last day. In the third issue of Aztec Empire, we find the Triple Alliance at a disadvantage. But, this is their land, one that they rather die on than become slaves to Spain.

We catch up with Tephua, as he strategizes the next move for what’s left of the Aztec warriors, knowing the upcoming meeting with the Spanish invaders, may every well be the chance they need to take back their land. We also find Nacom at the helm of the battle forces, as he uses his Maya forces to overwhelm Orazco’s battalions, a plan that succeeds. Unfortunately, the Spanish has a weapon that Nacom did not foresee.

Overall, a powerful entry that shows that saving lives is more important than winning. The story by Paul Guinan is engrossing. The art by David Hahn is magnificent. Altogether, a story that gives context when history books don’t.

Story: Paul Guinan Art: David Hahn
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Aztec Empire #2

Aztec Empire #2

As a fan of historical dramas, one of my favorite shows, though short-lived, was The Borgias. It lasted for three seasons on Showtime and was more than ambitious. The show blended family drama and history in a beautiful way that would give way to later dramas like Game Of Thrones. The historical research done on the show was phenomenal and at times disturbingly true.

The show would get into the behind the scenes drama between the Pope and the enemies he had within the Vatican but also talked about how much the present state of the Vatican owes him. His forward-thinking strengthened the Church’s financial wealth by creating a bank and installing its own security force. What grabbed me about the show is the military genius his sons showed throughout. They were the shadows turning the tables in his favor. In the second issue of Aztec Empire, we find our heroes in the midst of a battle with strange Spanish invaders who are out for blood and revenge.

We find the Aztec warriors battling the Spanish invaders who have reached their shores, as Captain Cortes uses military tactics to gain an advantage in this battle. This is where he unleashes cannons, which has the native combatants off balance and looking to even the odds. As Cortes army has taken the Aztec city, he claims it for King Charles, and for Spain, leaving the Mayan commander defeated in his retreat, knowing the capital has never fell until now. By issue’s end, the Maya commander regroups, adds three more regiments to his battle force and looking to outmaneuver Cortes, as his forces are in disarray.

Overall, an excellent second episode that shows how progress can sometimes outwit the best of us. The story by Paul Guinan is engaging and well developed. The art by David Hahn is beautiful. Altogether, a story that only gets better, showing a complex story where colonization is more than what the history books reveal.

Story: Paul Guinan Art: David Hahn
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: For Molly Chapters 1 & 2

For Molly

When it comes to animals, there’s something very instinctual about dogs. They can sense when their owner is not in a good mood and can also sense danger. In the most recent season of Jack Ryan, one of the early episode’s most pivotal characters has a dog. This family friend was used as a plot device and ultimately the hero of the scene.

The scene drove the point that dogs are not like most pets. They truly become parts of the family. Their sense of loyalty is unwavering and their intuition is almost off the charts. Many stories throughout the years have highlighted this deep bond but few have used it in the action-adventure setting. In the first chapters of For Molly, we finally get one such tale of a man and the dog who is more than meets the eye.

We meet Molly, a stray dog who’s running from someone or something, even she doesn’t know. We also meet Greg, a recent divorcee, who is lamenting in his recent failure at marriage, something that depresses him endlessly.  Everything changes for both of them when an assassin tries to kill Greg but escapes with the help of Molly, who he finds out can talk.

As Greg and Molly get to know each other, the more Greg discovers about what has been going on and why this knowledge of talking dogs has been hidden from the known world and how Molly became an outcast to her pack.

Overall, a story that is both introspective and imaginative, as Gabe Cheng proves to be a master worldbuilder in this first two chapters. The story by Cheng is innovative, intellectual, and engaging. The art by Benjamin Sawyer is engrossing. Altogether, a story that understands the need for the reader to like and empathize with their protagonists.

Story: Gabe Cheng Art: Benjamin Sawyer
Story: 9.9 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Oni to Publish an All-New Edition of Chris Onstad’s Achewood

Oni Press adds one of the most celebrated webcomics to its catalog of print collections of online comics and creators from around the world, with the announcement of an all-new omnibus series of Chris Onstad’s Achewood!

The New York Times Bestselling comic returns to print in this massive new omnibus series, collecting the complete comics from start to finish! Volume 1 includes the first 600+ strips in chronological order, alongside a wealth of rare additional material including recipes, short-fiction, maps, posters, never-before reprinted comics, and much more! Edited by Toronto Comic Art Festival founder Christopher Butcher, this gorgeous new hardcover collection features an all new Achewood short story by series creator Chris Onstad, and a foreword by The Magicians author Lev Grossman.

Tremendously influential and darkly hilarious, Achewood quickly and expertly subverts the genre expectations of the daily strip with razor sharp with and deeply human explorations of depression, relationships, masculinity, death, and selling your soul to the devil to become a billionaire. 

Achewood will be released in an all-new omnibus format in June 2020, with future volumes and special editions to be announced in the coming months.

Achewood

Webcomic Kamikaze Kickstarts to Animation

Kamikaze

Moving Ink Media, the creative company behind the award-winning webcomic Kamikaze launched a Kickstarter to fund their animated pilot entitled Kamikaze: Embrace the Fire based on their main character Markesha Nin. Moving Ink is also publishing the Kamikaze: Short Circuits anthology, with 4 new stories found in the same universe and featuring a diverse roster of incredibly talented guest artists and writers. The month-long campaign has a goal of $27K to fund the completion of both projects and are almost half to their goal as of this article!

Created by husband and wife team Carrie and Alan Tupper, and the talented illustrator/designer Havana Nguyen, Kamikaze is set in a future dystopia where natural resources are scarce and what food there is controlled by corrupt factions. Markesha is a teenager who lost her mother and is caring for her blind father, making ends meet as a courier. When a routine delivery turns deadly, Markesha finds herself caught between warring factions. Now she’s an agent for the resistance organization that saved her and her secret identity “Kamikaze,” becomes a symbol of hope for her people.

The Florida based animation company Echo Bridge Pictures, led by animation director Esteban Valdez, is bringing the world of Kamikaze to life. The animated pilot will feature the voice talents of Dani Chambers (SSS.GRIDMAN, One Piece) as “Markesha Nin”, Monica Rial (Dragon Ball, gen:Lock,My Hero Academia) as her tech assist “Audrey Dalma” and Johnathan Young, Youtube famous for his genre music covers, as Markesha’s enemy “Toro Blackthorne”.

The Short Circuits anthology will feature a cadre of talented writers and artists including Robert K. Jeffrey (Green Lantern/DC Comics), Sceritz (Scorpio), Dan Jolley (Dr. Strange Marvel; G.I. Joe/Image Comics), Takeia Marie (Simone Visits the Museum), Malissa White from Comics Creators Club and more!

Review: Aztec Empire #1

Aztec Empire #1

As Columbus Day just passed, we’re reminded of the atrocities he brought with him. The facts of his exploits have been muddied by a fantasy of America being discovered by a man who wanted to explore the world and then he found America. The truth is America was not found in 1492 but at least 15,000 years prior, when the Clovis peoples crossed. They’re who most indigenous peoples across the Americas were direct descendants of.

A good number of people now call this very holiday, Indigenous Peoples Day. Not only due to Columbus’ atrocities but also for what it led other explorers to do against the native peoples who inhabited these lands, they supposedly discovered. The history of each of these native peoples are rich and immensely powerful. In the debut issue of Aztec Empire, we get the history of one of the world’s most epic kingdoms.

We are taken to 1519 in Tenochtitlan, the hub of Mexica Triple Alliance, and the royal capital, where a messenger is hurrying to the palace to deliver an urgent message. He looks for the Master Of Darts, Tepehua, who is convening a meeting with Motelhuih, Speaker Of Words, and Atlixca, Cutter Of Men, all military commanders of the alliance.   The royal messenger delivers the message of the arrival of outsiders looking to gain the trust of the people of Cozumel, news that they wait to deliver to the Great Speaker. We also meet Gonzalo, a man enslaved by the Aztecs for eight years, but has assimilated to Aztec culture, whose brother sent a message to Spain about their enslavement. This leads to an expedition ordered by the governor of Cuba, Diego Velazquez, under the command of Hernando Cortes, Gonzalo Sandoval, and Alonzo Avila, to plunder the land and the free the enslaved Spaniards. We meet King Tabscoob, who readies his people for war against the Spaniards, who looks to convert the Mayan people to Christianity. By the issue’s end, the Alliance jolts their battle against the Spaniards by land and sea.

Overall, an exciting debut issue which both entertains and educates the reader, showing how history is told by more than one point of view. The story by Paul Guinan is exciting and well researched. The art by David Hahn is breathtaking. Altogether, a story that feels contemporary and will also give readers a feel of Allan Quartermain, but from the indigenous perspective.

Story: Paul Guinan Art: David Hahn
Story: 10 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

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