Tag Archives: charles soule

Workers of the world! Here’s a list of comics to celebrate your Labor Day

Ah, the pleasures of having Labor Day off to celebrate work. It’s a contradiction as old as time, where honoring work means taking a (well-deserved and utterly necessary) break from it. After all, most workers have jobs that go year-round and the daily grind does take a toll. A day off is the least that can be afforded to them.

Recognition is the other thing we should doling out in industrial quantities during this federal holiday. As such, comic books are filled with stories about the fruits of labor, both in a literal and a politically figurative sense. Be it by actually exploring the hardships of being a worker to acknowledging the monumental task that is organizing movements in support of them, labor is central to the motivations behind some of comic’s best stories.

Here’s a short list of comics that either directly or indirectly showcase the roles workers play in keeping life and society functional. These comics dive headfirst into the specifics of what ‘putting in the work’ means, recognizing that everything that’s done in the service of others usually rests on human struggles both painful and exhausting. The comics below give workers their time in the spotlight so we can appreciate just how much it takes to go out and keep the world turning.

Labor Day Comics

1. Trashed, written and illustrated by Derf Backderf

This book can best be described as a sobering love letter to one of the most underappreciated and openly repudiated jobs known to humankind: garbage collection. Following Backderf’s critically-acclaimed My Best Friend Dahmer, Trashed is based on the author’s time as a sanitation worker himself, surrounded by other workers just as enthused about collecting trash as he was (which wasn’t a whole lot). The inner workings of sanitation are presented through a combination of autobiographical anecdotes and well-researched facts and data that reveal just how complex, dangerous, and even clumsy picking up and storing trash can be. It’s a funny but scary look at how sanitation can save the world while also turn it into a ticking time bomb.

Damage Control

2. Damage Control, originally created by Dwayne McDuffie (W) and Ernie Colón (A)

A superhero’s job is to save the day, crumbling infrastructure be damned. With them, though, comes a unique concern for property damage, mostly focused on the inevitability of mass destruction. In comes a company solely dedicated to cleaning up after extinction-level battles and then putting the pieces back together called Damage Control. In essence, this Marvel comic is about unsung heroes. It’s about doing essential work knowing there’s no glory waiting at the end of it (much like Trashed, in some respects). McDuffie’s scripts are a masterclass on chaos and property politics, but it’s Colón’s attention to detail amidst the chaos that sets this story apart. The original series (there are a total of 4 series published) takes to a kind of MAD Magazine-style approach to comedy with visual gags and crude humor leading the charge, but it’s all well-orchestrated and it makes for reading that rewards those who scan comics pages whole multiple times.

Labor Day Comics

3. She-Hulk: Law and Disorder, written by Charles Soule and illustrated by Javier Pulido

At a glance, Soule and Pulido’s She-Hulk gives the impression of being a kind of ‘slice of life’ story about a superhero that chooses law as her preferred battleground. The book, however, is about so much more, and it might have more in common with Damage Control than an actual legal drama. She-Hulk takes the anger-filled superhero and turns her into a working-class woman that’s trying (and struggling) to make her own legal services business work. She puts it all together from the ground up but is immediately confronted with the hardships of balancing work, heroics, and the semblance of a personal life on an even keel. One of the greatest, and most entertaining, aspects of the comic lies in the formation of the character’s legal practice and how at odds it can be being both a superhero and a normal person with other interests. It dives deep into the complications of working multiple jobs, but it shows an appreciation for those who lead their lives under that predicament. Soule and Pulido create a story that supports and applauds those who undertake the task of holding several jobs at once, honoring the sacrifice it requires of one’s self to survive it.

Labor Day Comics
Ex Machina

4. Ex Machina, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Tony Harris

While aggressively political and metaphorical, Ex Machina does something few other stories on governmental responsibility manage to achieve: make the role of an elected official look and feel like a real job. The story follows Mitchel Hundred, a man that renounces his superhero persona to become mayor of New York city. After only managing to save one of the Twin Towers during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hundred realizes he can do more good as an elected official rather than as a superhero. Vaughan and Harris take full advantage of this setup to go beyond political speeches and discourse to get Hundred’s hands dirty with the real act of running a government. Hundred has to address the legality of surveillance in times of crisis, protocols for public demonstrations, controversial content in city museums, infrastructure, and police freedoms all while controlling the urge to use his still functioning superpowers to speed the process up. As is the case in She-Hulk, Hundred also attempts (with few successes) to balance his personal life with the job. Problem is, the job demands too much of his time, hence the temptation to use his powers. Ex Machina is a stark reminder that being an elected official actually means holding down a job with real consequences attached to it, something many politicians seem to have lost sight of.

Gotham Central

5. Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty, written by Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka and illustrated by Michael Lark

The profession of law enforcement is under serious scrutiny at the present moment, and rightfully so, but it’s still a job certain men and women take on despite the complexities of outdated and dysfunctional practices that are in desperate need of revision. And that’s on top of the racial problems that have shaped its many, many systems. However, there are those who do take the job seriously and work hard to ‘protect and serve’ with the best of intentions under the law. Gotham Central prioritizes this viewpoint, focusing the cops and detectives that work in Batman’s Gotham City. Without the resources or the exceptions afforded to the Dark Knight, the GCPD is still tasked with responding to criminal activity, regardless of whether it’s of the supervillain type or not. Main characters René Montoya, Crispus Allen, Marcus Driver, and “Josie Mac” MacDonald, among others, are divided into day and night shifts in a city that is in a constant flux of crime. The job takes its toll on a personal level and there’s an emphasis on how much one gives in the line of duty, but there’s also an appreciation of honest cops walking the line in the face of overwhelming police corruption and abuse. It’s a complicated and sometimes contradictory read, but it makes no excuses while confronting the damning inconsistencies of the job.

Labor Day comics
Wooblies!: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World

6. Wooblies! A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World, edited by Peter Buhle & Nicole Schulman

The Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW, has a wild and exuberant history, to say the least, which makes it the ideal subject for comic book storytelling. The IWW was created in Chicago, Illinois in 1905 as a union for marginalized workers led by Marxist principles. Miners, lumber workers, immigrant workers, indigenous workers, non-white workers, severely underrepresented female workers, and workers all over that had no rights or protections saw in the IWW as the means to fight towards better working conditions. Wooblies! (alluding to the nickname given to the members of the union) enlists the talents of cartoonists such as Peter Kuper, Harvey Pekar, Trina Robbins, Sharon Rudahl, Sue Coe, Carlos Cortez, among others to tell the story of how forgotten and underrepresented workers rose up against the odds to gain the rights and respect owed to them. The anthology has a very underground ‘comix’ feel to it, but it’s allegorical and metaphorical inclinations do a better job of capturing labor struggles better than a traditional story ever could. This might be the quintessential Labor Day reading right here.

Workers, laborers, holders of jobs, these comics honor your contributions, your efforts, and the near impossible feats you pull off. Read and relax, but overall, enjoy your hard-earned Labor Day holiday.

Undiscovered Country #7 Sells Out and Gets a Second Printing with a New Cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi

Image Comics is rushing the wildly popular Undiscovered Country #7 by New York Times bestselling writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli back to print in order to keep up with overwhelming demand for the latest issue in one of the most talked about series on shelves. This new printing will feature a stunning wraparound cover by Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi.

Undiscovered Country #7 kicks off a new story arc for the series that made headlines for its flashy arrival in 2019 as one of the highest ordered launches in the nearly five years for Image Central and before gaining further momentum to top the charts for reorders throughout the first story arc.  

After barely escaping the deadly clutches of the Destiny Man, Undiscovered Country #7 follows the expedition team as they cross over into the strange new zone of “Unity”—a futuristic world of gleaming technology and artificial intelligence. But will it be a safe haven for our heroes, or are they destined to be absorbed into the hive mind?!

The series was acquired early on by New Republic Pictures after a competitive bidding war for potential franchise development with Snyder and Soule attached to adapt the screenplay and serve as executive producers alongside Camuncoli. John Hilary Shepherd will oversee development. 

Undiscovered Country #7, second printing (Diamond Code JUL208174) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, September 9.

Undiscovered Country #7, second printing

Review: Undiscovered Country #7

Undiscovered Country #7

Undiscovered Country has been a wild ride. The series focuses on an America that has been walled off to a world devastated by disease and what is found when an international team ventures across the American border. The first arc took us on a Mad Max-like adventure with giant fortress cities on wheels and roving bands riding mutant animals. It was everything, including the kitchen sink, of ideas and the second arc seems to focus on explaining some of the insanity. Undiscovered Country #7 kicks off that second arc as our team has made it into the next zone on a train. But, that’s not the big focus on the issue.

Writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule have begun to give us some answers to the madness in Undiscovered Country #7. Some of the story focuses on twenty years before the story as the United States begins its devolution into insanity. We get hints as to the science and the why things have gone bad as representatives from the various zones, the U.S. government, meet to discuss the state of the nation.

Through this simple scene, we learn so much more about why things have gone the way they have but also what is at the heart of this new America. What is up with the different zones and what lies ahead? We start really learning that here. We also get more of the philosophy of this nation in what feels like a critique of the current state of affairs.

And that’s where Undiscovered Country gets really interesting. A pandemic. A country walling itself off from the world. It all feels a bit too on the nose for today’s news. All we need us mutant animals but cannibal ants and murder hornets can fill that niche. How this series would be read would be very different if the current state of the world wasn’t what it is. As is, the comic series feels like an exaggeration of the spiral down the toilet we’re currently experiencing.

The art in Undiscovered Country #7 is a bit less insane compared to the previous arc. There aren’t mutants or crazy structures, yet, to have fun with. Instead, it’s mostly a train ride and a government meeting that has our focus. But, the art is still key. Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi handle that and the details in the government meeting tell as much a story as what is said. It’s a pivotal scene that will leave you lingering to get the details. Matt Wilson provides colors and Crank! the lettering and while the visuals aren’t as over the top, they may be more important. Where before they shocked us into reality, the art in this issue helps tell the story of a nation.

Undiscovered Country #7 is a new arc and a decent starting point for new readers. You should absolutely read the first arc but this issue is focused more on explaining the current state of the nation, both imaginary and in reality. It continues to build the world that Snyder and Soule have come up with much like the first arc. What’s impressive though is how they do it feels like it has shifted gears a bit. An impressive start to what is a beyond intriguing series.

Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi
Color: Matt Wilson Lettering: Crank!
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.15 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Star Wars #5

Star Wars #5

(W) Charles Soule (A) Jesus Saiz (CA) R. B. Silva
Rated T
In Shops: Aug 05, 2020
SRP: $3.99

The next steps on Luke Skywalker’s search for Jedi wisdom begin here!
• Following a mysterious vision he received on CLOUD CITY, Luke travels to a lost planet looking for a woman he believes may hold the key to his Jedi future and that of the entire Rebellion.
• But will he arrive at his destination in time to learn what he needs… or will the evil DARTH VADER get there first?

Star Wars #5

Review: Undiscovered Country #6

Undiscovered Country #6

I thought it might be weird to dive back in reading Undiscovered Country #6. After all, it’s series about a world ravaged about by a virus and a United States that has cut itself off from the rest of the world. It’s also a United States that has lots its ideals. Instead, I wasn’t weirded out or bothered but instead, a bit underwhelmed.

Written by Scott Snyder and Charles Soule, Undiscovered Country is a wild ride of a series. The first arc, which wraps up with Undiscovered Country #6, is a crazy adventure that’s a wild dystopian journey. Giant creatures, time displacement, hints at a mysterious journey, and a riff on Mad Max, the first arc feels like the first level of a video game. It introduces you to the insanity that lies ahead.

What’s interesting is this issue is all action. A race to the exit point and the ability to move on to the next level. As a film, it’d work fantastically as the motion and stunts would be the focus. But, with the printed page, dialogue becomes a factor and lets face it, it falls a bit flat. Spouting of jingoistic catch-phrases are thrown around like action film banter and it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in the context. It feels like a bad version of the Junkions in Transformers: The Movie. Tastes great! Less filling! It’s a bit distracting.

But the visuals continue to be amazing and so over the top. Hot air balloon made out of a space shuttle? Check. Starfish steeds? Got that too. Giant rolling fortress with rockets strapped on. It’s here. Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi take it all so over the top in the visuals, it’s what draws you in. Add Matt Wilson‘s eye popping colors and Crank!‘s lettering and you’ve got an issue driven by the visual insanity. There’s clear homages to film through the comic and moments that will play out so well when the eventual film adaptation is released. This is a first arc that was made for the screen.

Undiscovered Country #6 is driven by its visuals. The story is straightforward. It’s a race to an exit while being pursued. The comic is not much more complicated than that. It’s the crazy random thrown in there that is the draw. The first arc of this series is fun in a video game get to the next level sort of way and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes. So far, that can be anything based on what we’ve already seen. While the issue isn’t a spot to start, it does make things exciting to see where the series goes as it wraps up the first arc.

Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi
Color: Matt Wilson Letterer: Crank!
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleTFAWZeus Comics

Preview: Star Wars #4

Star Wars #4

(W) Charles Soule (A) Jesus Saiz (CA) R. B. Silva
Rated T
In Shops: Mar 18, 2020
SRP: $3.99


• LUKE SKYWALKER, LANDO CALRISSIAN and LEIA ORGANA have returned to CLOUD CITY! They each left things on BESPIN they desperately need – a weapon, a friend, and crucial information.
• But the city is swarming with IMPERIALS, under occupation by an EMPIRE desperate to steal its resources.
• Things did not go well for the trio the last time they visited this place. This time… might be even worse.

Star Wars #4

Preview: Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #4 (of 4)

Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #4 (of 4)

(W) Charles Soule (A) Will Sliney (CA) E.M. Gist
Rated T
In Shops: Mar 11, 2020
SRP: $3.99


• The Rise of KYLO REN concludes, as BEN SOLO, once the Jedi’s greatest hope, is swallowed by the Dark Side.
• It is his destiny – and if there was ever another path, SNOKE and the KNIGHTS OF REN made certain he could not see it.
• From Ben, to Ren… and now he is lost.

Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #4 (of 4)

Preview: Star Wars #3

Star Wars #3

(W) Charles Soule (A) Jesus Saiz (CA) R.B. Silva
Rated T
In Shops: Feb 26, 2020
SRP: $3.99


• The end of the war and the final defeat of the REBEL ALLIANCE are inevitable as the cunning IMPERIAL COMMANDER ZAHRA unleashes her fury against the splintered and scattered survivors.
• But where have the Rebellion’s greatest heroes gone when their cause needs them the most?
• LUKE SKYWALKER’S only hope at becoming a JEDI KNIGHT was lost during his battle with DARTH VADER…and so he, PRINCESS LEIA and LANDO CALRISSIAN must return to CLOUD CITY to find it! But Leia has her own covert mission to accomplish there…and Lando’s mysterious reason for returning could very well ruin their only chance at success!

Star Wars #3

Preview: Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #3 (of 4)

Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #3 (of 4)

(W) Charles Soule (A) Will Sliney (CA) Clayton Crain
Rated T
In Shops: Feb 12, 2020
SRP: $3.99


• Soon, BEN SOLO’S path will end in a place of fire and blood, and a shadow will rise to take his place. He is with the KNIGHTS OF REN now, and they will welcome him, if he can pay their price.
• But before that destiny is fulfilled, a battle must be fought at an ancient JEDI Outpost on the planet ELPHRODA – between Ben and those who know what he could have been… and fear what he might become.
• Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Everyone here is afraid – Ben Solo most of all!

Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #3 (of 4)

Review: Star Wars #2

Star Wars #2

Star Wars #2 continues to fill in the gaps between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and so far, it’s all very good.

Han is with Boba Fett. The Rebel fleet is being hunted and scattered. Luke has his hand cut off and is his usual lack of confidence self. Star Wars #2 takes all of these threads and runs with it. It’s a perfect example of weaving in new history into stories we already know and are beloved.

Writer Charles Soule does an amazing job of picking up on where the story would be at this point and running with it. So far he gives us action, intensity, and emotion, all in perfect balance. Soule also answers so many questions one might have if they’ve just watched the films.

Addressed is how Lando came to join the Rebellion after his betrayal on Cloud City. It’s everything that makes Lando great with a suave amount of bullshit to suck you in. There’s also the question of Luke’s hand, the replacement, and what happened to his lightsaber. Yes, it looks like that last bit might be addressed here. At least partially addressed. For fans of Star Wars, all of it hopefully comes off as fun. It did for me at least.

But, even with those questions, there’s lots of tension. The Rebels are pinned down unable to connect with each other. How do the cells reconnect? Are there any other cells out there? The answer is yes based on who’s mentioned but the plotline creates some of the more emotional moments of the comic.

The art by Jesús Saiz with color by Arif Prianto and lettering by Clayton Cowles is solid. The characters look fantastic and like what I remember. There’s a charm to Lando for instance that plays off of the character itself. It oozes off of the page. This is just a great interpretation of well know characters, vehicles, and more.

As a Star Wars fan, I’m enjoying this series so far. It’s building off of the world and filling in gaps left unanswered. We know where it goes but there’s still a mystery in how everything reaches the destination. This is a solid pick up for those interested in the adventures of the Rebel Alliance.

Story: Charles Soule Art: Jesús Saiz
Color: Arif Prianto Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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