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Review: Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1

The talented artist/colorist duo of Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson dive headfirst into the world of all-ages fantasy comics in Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 with Samnee handing story duties as well with co-writer Laura Samnee. The premise of the story is simple, yet heart-rending. Jonna is an energetic young girl, who enjoys running, climbing trees, and being generally adventurous. However, she runs into a big monster one day and goes missing. The hook for the series is that her older sister, Rainbow, must find her in a landscape that’s gone from pastoral to dystopian. With a knapsack on her back and a feather in her beanie, Rainbow also seems to have that adventurous spirit, but it’s for a purpose: finding her lost sister and family.

The first and second half of Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters have completely different tones, and the Samnees and Wilson do an excellent job conveying that through script, art, and color palette. All the dialogue in the first half of the comic comes from an exasperated Rainbow, except for one word from Jonna, “Unpossible”. And, honestly, that’s all that needs to be said about her character and the setup of the comic. Jonna is a doer, not a talker, and Samnee and Wilson fill full pages of her leaping from branch to branch culminating in a triumphant splash page at her leaping at the titular monster. These pages are a showcase for Samnee’s skill at showing action and tension as Jonna’s position changes from panel to panel, and Samnee switches from horizontal to vertical layouts depending on the degree of difficulty of her jumps and flips. The tension comes when a branch almost break, and, of course, when she encounters a monster so Wilson uses red to symbolize fear and danger almost in a similar manner to how he colored Chris Samnee’s work on Black Widow when its protagonist got in a rough spot.

However, the second half of Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters swaps out Matthew Wilson’s bright colors for something a little more drab. (The one exception is Rainbow’s shock of blue hair.) Facial expressions and dialogue play a larger role as the Samnees’ story transitions from a little girl running free in the wood to her sister trying to find her. Chris Samnee digs into the hopelessness of this new monster-infested status quo in little ways like Rainbow’s utter surprise when she has a nice conversation with another kid about the feather (From the last bird ever!) in her cap or from a close-up of her kicking rock to show the sheer emptiness of her surrounding. However, he and Laura Samnee find little glimmers of light like through Rainbow’s interactions with the totally adorable Gramma Pat, who wants nothing more than for Rainbow to settle down and stay in the camp for a while. However, she also understands that the potential of finding Jonna or the rest of her family is what keeps her motivated and basically gives her a reason to get up in the morning.

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 reminds me a lot of Gareth Edwards’ excellent kaiju film Monsters although the Samnees’ comic has a much more whimsical vibe than the film. The main similarity is in the focus on how these giant monsters have affected human civilization instead of epic battles. (For now.) Rainbow blacks out when she sees Jonna jumping at the monster, and then there’s a page of black with a couple stars that leads into the one year time skip. It shows that these monsters have changed humanity’s way of life and aren’t just gentle giants that young girls can hop around in the woods. These two pages between the first and second part of the comics are a metaphor for having to grow up too fast and sacrifice your childhood and sense of wonder to survive, which is what Rainbow has had to do even though she does keep around relics of the “before time” like her beanie, the aforementioned feather, and her blue hair. These little costume and design choices from Chris Samnee definitely add a hopeful tone to the dark setting of the second half of the comic and hint at a rich world that we’ve only scratched the surface of.

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 shows off Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson’s skill at visually depicting both dynamic movement and quiet character moments as they and Laura Samnee set up a world full of danger and things that go bump during the night and day plus a plucky protagonist, who is willing to face them because she loves and misses her family. I can’t wait to see how Rainbow grows as a character and the dangers (Aka monsters) she faces and hopefully overcomes on her adventure with a purpose.

Story: Laura Samnee and Chris Samnee Art: Chris Samnee
Colors: Matthew Wilson Letters: Crank!
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

ENIAC #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Allergic (Graphix) – Maggie is getting a new puppy but finds out she’s allergic to anything with fur. This si the mission to find the perfect pet!

America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 (Marvel) – The character takes center stage soon in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and this series seems to start setting the ground so she does the same in the comic universe as well.

The Antifa Super Soldier Cookbook (Silver Sprocket) – What if everything the Right thought about the Left was real? An ANTIFA operative is about to get an upgrade and become a full-fledged super-soldier!

BRZRKR #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The Keanu Reeves/Matt Kindt written comic series is here. It has a hell of a lot of buzz due to Reeves and brought in a massive amount on Kickstarter. We’re excited we get to finally read it.

Chariot #1 (AWA Studios) – A military weapon in the form of a muscle car. That alone has us in for this.

Crime Syndicate #1 (DC Comics) – We head to a newly returned Earth-3 where these evil versions of our superheroes rule.

Dead Dogs Bite #1 (Dark Horse) – Seeing Tyle Boss’ name on this comic is what first got us to notice it. The story revolves around a missing person in a small town.

Demon Days: X-Men #1 (Marvel) – Peach Momoko’s new twist on the X-Men is here. We were a bit mixed on the initial preview but we’re still excited to check out a full issue. The art alone will be worth it.

ENIAC #1 (Bad Idea) – Bad Idea is officially here! We’ve read this first issue and it’s a solid debut. What does this publisher have up its sleeve? We’re expecting even more news upon release.

Infinite Frontier #0 (DC Comics) – This is the new start to the DC Universe. It’s full of possibilities and the groundwork and tease of what’s to come begins here.

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 (Oni Press) – Rainbow is looking for her sister Jonna. They’re both trying to survive in a world full of monsters driving humanity to the brink of extinction. Check out our review.

Man-Bat #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue was an intriguing look at addiction and we really want to see if the series keeps up with that theme.

Nocterra #1 (Image Comics) – The Kickstarted graphic novel is out in single issues. The world has been plunged into everlasting night. Meet Val Riggs, a ferryman who transports goods and people along deadly unlit roads.

Suicide Squad #1 (DC Comics) – With a movie out this year, the Suicide Squad is getting a shake-up and a new lineup that matches the film more. The first issue is exactly what you’d want from the series and shows readers to not get too attached to the characters.

The Swamp Thing #1 (DC Comics) – It’s a new Swamp Thing and a new vision for the character. We want to see what this new take is all about.

Transformers: Beast Wars #2 (IDW Publishing) – The cartoon is now a comic with a bit of a remix to it. The first issue set things up and now we’re getting to the good stuff.

Undone By Blood: The Other Side of Eden #1 (AfterShock) – The first series was a solid tale of revenge. We’re just hoping for more of the same.

What Unites Us (:01 First Second) – A graphic novel adaptation of Dan Rather’s essays.

Get Shopping with Today’s New Digital Comic Releases! Over 175 New Releases.

Stray Dogs #1

It’s new comic book day and comiXology has you covered! You can get shopping right now and get all of the new releases or check out the individual releases by the publisher below.

A Wave Blue World

AAM-Markosia

Ablaze

Abstract Studio

AfterShock

American Mythology Productions

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BOOM! Studios

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DC Comics

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IDW Publishing

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Marvel

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Tidalwave Productions

Titan Comics

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Vault Comics

Zenescope


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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

By the Horns

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Batman: Black & White #3 (DC Comics) – The series so far has been fantastic with a mix of creative voices and very different styles and takes on the classic character.

By the Horns #1 (Scout Comics) – Marisan Naso and Jason Muhr are back together for a new series about a woman on an act of murderous revenge against unicorns who trampled her husband.

Crossover #4 (Image Comics) – The series started off as “spot the comic reference” but it has shifted into an interesting story about xenophobia, immigration, and more.

Frank at Home on the Farm #2 (Scout Comics) – The first issue was full of mystery and we’re excited to see where this series goes because we’re honestly not sure!

Girl Haven (Oni Press) – Koretris is a haven for girls where no men or boys are allowed. When Ash, a boy, is sent there by a spell a whole bunch of questions are raised. Read our review.

I Breathed a Body #2 (AfterShock) – The first issue was an intriguing mix of horror and commentary about social media and we want to see what else it has to say.

Kaiju Score #4 (AfterShock) – This heist comic during a Kaiju attack has been fun so far but how else can things go wrong and what other double-crosses are left? We want to find out!

Marvel’s Voices: Legacy #1 (Marvel) – An impressive group of creators come together for this themed anthology. We’re always fans of seeing how different creators handle characters and checking out new voices.

Nailbiter Returns #10 (Image Comics) – The second volume of the horror series wraps up and it’s a bloody doozy.

Nuclear Family #1 (AfterShock) – Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story Breakfast at Twilight, the series is Cold War era science fiction that we’re excited to read.

Paranormal Hitmen #1 (Behemoth Comics) – Two hitmen are hired by a Government agency to hunt and kill ghosts but also need to deal with the mobsters after them.

Savage Circus #3 (Heavy Metal) – The issue begins the pivot from the first two issues of setup getting ready for the action to come. It’s so great and entertaining, read our review!

Stray Dogs #1 (Image Comics) – A suspense thriller starring dogs!? Yeah, we’re intrigued by this one.

Two Moons #1 (Image Comics) – A Pawnee man fighting for the Union during the Civil War discovers horrors worse than combat.

Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #5 (Marvel) – The miniseries wraps up as Calgar takes on the Chaos forces!

It’s Orcs… In… Space!

From the co-creator of the cult-favorite television series Rick and Morty, Justin Roiland is teaming up with writers Michael Tanner, Rashad Gheith, and Abed Gheith, writer-illustrator François Vigneault, and colorists DJ Chavis and Dave Pender with the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group to launch a new series, Orcs in Space, in July 2021.

With humorous nods to some of pop culture’s most recognizable fandoms, the series follows three inept orcs as they steal the universe’s most technologically advanced spaceship and take it for a ride.

Gor, Kravis, and Mongtar are three orcs trying to survive while on the run from everything and everyone on their homeworld. When the naïve bureaucrats from StarBleep land on their planet, the orcs unwittingly steal the most advanced ship in the fleet and blast into the dankest reaches of the outer galactigon. Now the universe’s most wanted, the orcs befriend the ship’s AI, D.O.N.A., in a bid to get free… but will that be enough to escape StarBleep?

The 44-page super first issue of Orcs in Space launches with variant covers by Nicole Goux, François Vigneault, and Justin Roiland on July 7, 2021.

Orcs in Space

Early Review: Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1

The talented artist/colorist duo of Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson dive headfirst into the world of all-ages fantasy comics in Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 with Samnee handing story duties as well with co-writer Laura Samnee. The premise of the story is simple, yet heart-rending. Jonna is an energetic young girl, who enjoys running, climbing trees, and being generally adventurous. However, she runs into a big monster one day and goes missing. The hook for the series is that her older sister, Rainbow, must find her in a landscape that’s gone from pastoral to dystopian. With a knapsack on her back and a feather in her beanie, Rainbow also seems to have that adventurous spirit, but it’s for a purpose: finding her lost sister and family.

The first and second half of Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters have completely different tones, and the Samnees and Wilson do an excellent job conveying that through script, art, and color palette. All the dialogue in the first half of the comic comes from an exasperated Rainbow, except for one word from Jonna, “Unpossible”. And, honestly, that’s all that needs to be said about her character and the setup of the comic. Jonna is a doer, not a talker, and Samnee and Wilson fill full pages of her leaping from branch to branch culminating in a triumphant splash page at her leaping at the titular monster. These pages are a showcase for Samnee’s skill at showing action and tension as Jonna’s position changes from panel to panel, and Samnee switches from horizontal to vertical layouts depending on the degree of difficulty of her jumps and flips. The tension comes when a branch almost break, and, of course, when she encounters a monster so Wilson uses red to symbolize fear and danger almost in a similar manner to how he colored Chris Samnee’s work on Black Widow when its protagonist got in a rough spot.

However, the second half of Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters swaps out Matthew Wilson’s bright colors for something a little more drab. (The one exception is Rainbow’s shock of blue hair.) Facial expressions and dialogue play a larger role as the Samnees’ story transitions from a little girl running free in the wood to her sister trying to find her. Chris Samnee digs into the hopelessness of this new monster-infested status quo in little ways like Rainbow’s utter surprise when she has a nice conversation with another kid about the feather (From the last bird ever!) in her cap or from a close-up of her kicking rock to show the sheer emptiness of her surrounding. However, he and Laura Samnee find little glimmers of light like through Rainbow’s interactions with the totally adorable Gramma Pat, who wants nothing more than for Rainbow to settle down and stay in the camp for a while. However, she also understands that the potential of finding Jonna or the rest of her family is what keeps her motivated and basically gives her a reason to get up in the morning.

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 reminds me a lot of Gareth Edwards’ excellent kaiju film Monsters although the Samnees’ comic has a much more whimsical vibe than the film. The main similarity is in the focus on how these giant monsters have affected human civilization instead of epic battles. (For now.) Rainbow blacks out when she sees Jonna jumping at the monster, and then there’s a page of black with a couple stars that leads into the one year time skip. It shows that these monsters have changed humanity’s way of life and aren’t just gentle giants that young girls can hop around in the woods. These two pages between the first and second part of the comics are a metaphor for having to grow up too fast and sacrifice your childhood and sense of wonder to survive, which is what Rainbow has had to do even though she does keep around relics of the “before time” like her beanie, the aforementioned feather, and her blue hair. These little costume and design choices from Chris Samnee definitely add a hopeful tone to the dark setting of the second half of the comic and hint at a rich world that we’ve only scratched the surface of.

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 shows off Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson’s skill at visually depicting both dynamic movement and quiet character moments as they and Laura Samnee set up a world full of danger and things that go bump during the night and day plus a plucky protagonist, who is willing to face them because she loves and misses her family. I can’t wait to see how Rainbow grows as a character and the dangers (Aka monsters) she faces and hopefully overcomes on her adventure with a purpose.

Story: Laura Samnee and Chris Samnee Art: Chris Samnee
Colors: Matthew Wilson Letters: Crank!
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Pre-order: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2020

2020 definitely felt like a year where I embraced comics in all their different formats and genres from the convenient, satisfying graphic novella to the series of loosely connected and curated one shots and even the door stopper of an omnibus/hardcover or that charming webcomic that comes out one or twice a week on Instagram. This was partially due to the Covid-19 pandemic that shut down comics’ traditional direct market for a bit so I started reviewing webcomics, trade paperbacks, graphic novels and nonfiction even after this supply chain re-opened. I also co-hosted and edited two seasons of a podcast about indie comics where we basically read either a trade every week for discussion, and that definitely meant spending more time with that format. However, floppy fans should still be happy because I do have a traditional ongoing series on my list as well as some minis.

Without further ado, here are my favorite comics of 2020.

Marvels Snapshots: X-Men #1 – But Why Tho? A Geek Community

10. Marvels Snapshots (Marvel)

Curated by original Marvels writer Kurt Busiek and with cover art by original Marvels artist Alex Ross, Marvels Snapshots collects seven perspectives on on the “major” events of the Marvel Universe from the perspectives of ordinary people from The Golden Age of the 1940s to 2006’s Civil War. It’s cool to get a more character-driven and human POV on the ol’ corporate IP toy box from Alan Brennert and Jerry Ordway exploring Namor the Submariner’s PTSD to Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, and Benjamin Dewey showing the real reason behind Johnny Storm’s airhead celebrity act. There’s also Mark Russell and Ramon Perez’s take on the classic Captain America “Madbomb” storyline, Barbara Kesel’s and Staz Johnson’s sweet, Bronze Age-era romance between two first responders as the Avengers battle a threat against the city, and Saladin Ahmed and Ryan Kelly add nuance to the superhuman Civil War by showing how the Registration Act affects a Cape-Killer agent as well as a young elemental protector of Toledo, Ohio, who just wants to help his community and do things like purify water. However, the main reason Marvels Snapshots made my “favorite” list was Jay Edidin and Tom Reilly‘s character-defining work showing the pre-X-Men life of Cyclops as he struggles with orphan life, is inspired by heroes like Reed Richards, and lays the groundwork for the strategist, leader, and even revolutionary that appears in later comics.

9. Fangs (Tapas)

Fangs is cartoonist Sarah Andersen’s entry into the Gothic romance genre and was a light, funny, and occasionally sexy series that got me through a difficult year. Simply put, it follows the relationship of a vampire named Elsie and a werewolf named Jimmy, both how they met and their life together. Andersen plays with vampire and werewolf fiction tropes and sets up humorous situations like a date night featuring a bloody rare steak and a glass of blood instead of wine, Jimmy having an unspoken animosity against mail carriers, and just generally working around things like lycanthropy every 28 days and an aversion to sunlight. As well as being hilarious and cute, Fangs shows Sarah Andersen leveling up as an artist as she works with deep blacks, different eye shapes and textures, and more detailed backgrounds to match the tone of her story while not skimping on the relatable content that made Sarah’s Scribbles an online phenomenon.

8. Heavy #1-3 (Vault)

I really got into Vault Comics this year. (I retroactively make These Savage Shores my favorite comic of 2019.) As far as prose, I mainly read SF, and Vault nicely fills that niche in the comics landscape and features talented, idiosyncratic creative teams. Heavy is no exception as Max Bemis, Eryk Donovan, and Cris Peter tell the story of Bill, who was gunned down by some mobsters, and now is separated from his wife in a place called “The Wait” where he has to set right enough multiversal wrongs via violence to be reunited with her in Heaven. This series is a glorious grab bag of hyperviolence, psychological examinations of toxic masculinity, and moral philosophy. Heavy also has a filthy and non-heteronormative sense of humor. Donovan and Peter bring a high level of chaotic energy to the book’s visuals and are game for both tenderhearted flashbacks as well as brawls with literal cum monsters. In addition to all this, Bemis and Donovan aren’t afraid to play with and deconstruct their series’ premise, which is what makes Heavy my ongoing monthly comic.

Amazon.com: Maids eBook: Skelly, Katie, Skelly, Katie: Kindle Store

7. Maids (Fantagraphics)

Writer/artist Katie Skelly puts her own spin on the true crime genre in Maids, a highly stylized account of Christine and Lea Papin murdering their employers in France during the 1930s. Skelly’s linework and eye popping colors expertly convey the trauma and isolation that the Papins go through as they are at the beck and call of the family they work almost 24/7. Flashbacks add depth and context to Christine and Lea’s characters and provide fuel to the fire of the class warfare that they end up engaging in. Skelly’s simple, yet iconic approach character design really allowed me to connect with the Papins and empathize with them during the build-up from a new job to murder and mayhem. Maids is truly a showcase for a gifted cartoonist and not just a summary of historical events.

6. Grind Like A Girl (Gumroad/Instagram)

In her webcomic Grind Like A Girl, cartoonist Veronica Casson tells the story of growing up trans in 1990s New Jersey. The memoir recently came to a beautiful conclusion with Casson showing her first forays into New York, meeting other trans women, and finding a sense of community with them that was almost the polar opposite of her experiences in high school. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the evolution of Veronica Casson’s art style during different periods of her life from an almost Peanuts vibe for her childhood to using more flowing lines, bright colors, and ambitious panel layouts as an older teen and finally an adult. She also does a good job using the Instagram platform to give readers a true “guided view” experience and point out certain details before putting it all together in a single page so one can appreciate the comic at both a macro/micro levels. All in all, Grind Like A Girl is a personal and stylish coming of age memoir from Veronica Casson, and I look forward to seeing more of her work.

5. Papaya Salad (Dark Horse)

Thai/Italian cartoonist Elisa Macellari tells an unconventional World War II story in Papaya Salad, a recently translated history comic about her great uncle Sompong, who just wanted to see the world. However, he ended up serving with the Thai diplomatic corps in Italy, Germany, and Austria during World War II. Macellari uses a recipe for her great uncle’s favorite dish, papaya salad, to structure the comic, and her work has a warm, dreamlike quality to go with the reality of the places that Sampong visits and works at. Also, it’s very refreshing to get a non-American or British perspective on this time in history as Sampong grapples with the shifting status of Thailand during the war as well as the racism of American soldiers, who celebrate the atomic bomb and lump him and his colleagues with the Japanese officers, and are not shown in a very positive light. However, deep down, Papaya Salad is a love story filled with small human moments that make life worth living, like appetizing meals, jokes during dark times, and faith in something beyond ourselves. It’s a real showcase of the comics medium’s ability to tell stories from a unique point of view.

4. Pulp (Image)

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (with colorist Jacob Phillips) are two creators whose work has graced my “favorite comics” list many times. And this time they really outdid themselves with the graphic novella Pulp about the final days of Max Winters, a gunslinger-turned-Western dime novelist. It’s a character study peppered with flashbacks as Phillips and Phillips use changes in body posture and color palette to show Max getting older while his passion for resisting those who would exploit others is still intact. Basically, he can shoot and rob fascists just like he shot and robbed cattle barons back in the day. Brubaker and Phillips understand that genre fiction doesn’t exist in a vacuum and is informed by the historical context around it, which is what makes Pulp such a compelling read. If you like your explorations of the banality of evil and creeping specter of fascism with heists, gun battles, and plenty of introspection, then this is the comic for you.

3. My Riot (Oni Press)

Music is my next favorite interest after comics so My Riot was an easy pick for my favorite comics list. The book is a coming of age story filtered through 1990s riot girl music from writer Rick Spears and artist Emmett Helen. It follows the life of Valerie, who goes from doing ballet and living a fairly conservative suburban life to being the frontwoman and songwriter for a cult riot girl band. Much of this transformation happens through Helen’s art and colors as his palette comes to life just as Valerie does when she successfully calls out some audience members/her boyfriend for being sexist and patronizing. The comic itself also takes on a much more DIY quality with its layouts and storytelling design as well as how the characters look and act. My Riot is about the power of music to find one’s identify and true self and build a community like The Proper Ladies do throughout the book. Valerie’s arc is definitely empowering and relatable for any queer kid, who was forced to conform to way of life and thinking that wasn’t their own.

2. Getting It Together #1-3 (Image)

I’ll let you in on a little secret: slice of life is my all-time favorite comic book genre. So, I was overjoyed when writers Sina Grace and Omar Spahi, artist Jenny D. Fine, and colorist Mx. Struble announced that they were doing a monthly slice of life comic about a brother, sister, and their best friend/ex-boyfriend (respectively) set in San Francisco that also touched on the gay and indie music scene. And Getting It Together definitely has lifted up to my pre-release hype as Grace and Spahi have fleshed out a complex web of relationships and drama with gorgeous and occasionally hilarious art by Fine and Struble. There are gay and bisexual characters all over the book with different personalities and approaches to life, dating, and relationships, which is refreshing too. Grace, Spahi, and Fine also take some time away from the drama to let us know about the ensemble cast’s passions and struggles like indie musician Lauren’s lifelong love for songwriting even if her band has a joke name (Nipslip), or her ex-boyfriend Sam’s issues with mental health. I would definitely love to spend more than four issues with these folks.

1. The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott (Avery Hill)

My favorite comic of 2020 was The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott , a debut graphic novel by cartoonist Zoe Thorogood. The premise of the comic is that Billie is an artist who is going blind in two weeks, and she must come up with some paintings for her debut gallery show during that time period. The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott boasts an adorably idiosyncratic cast of characters that Thorogood lovingly brings to life with warm visuals and naturalistic dialogue as Billie goes from making art alone in her room to making connections with the people around her, especially Rachel, a passionate folk punk musician. The book also acts as a powerful advocate for the inspirational quality of art and the act of creation. Zoe Thorogood even creates “art within the art” and concludes the story with the different portraits that Billie painted throughout her travels. The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott was the hopeful comic that I needed in a dark year and one I will cherish for quite some time as I ooh and aah over Thorogood’s skill with everything from drawing different hair styles to crafting horrific dream sequences featuring eyeballs.

Those Two Geeks Episode Eighty Seven: Captain Ginger and I Was The Cat

Alex is without Joe this week and talks to himself about Captain Ginger and I Was The Cat, two cat themed comics that he read this week from 2018 and 2015 respectively.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jcb_smark if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Underrated: I Was the Cat

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way.

This week: I Was The Cat


I don’t know how I missed this book when it first came out, and after having a conversation with the owner of my LCS, it turns out she wasn’t entirely sure how she missed it either. I Was The Cat is an autobiographical tale about a cat who has, through his various lives, lived thousands of years through history trying (and failing) multiple times to take over the world.

Burma, the cat in question, can talk. And seems to be an incredibly wise and influential animal who wants the world to know his story. To that end he invites Allison Breaking to begin writing his memoirs so that he can reveal to the world just who he is… and that it’s totally normal that a can had been trying to take over the world across centuries, and failing every time because… well because he’s a bloody cat.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the story is how Paul Tobin structures so many different tales within Burma’s history, and never once explains how Burma can change his appearance with ease – it lends the character a mystical aspect that’s never really explored, and I think the story is strong for that because this book is what Burma wants to tell us, not a historical accounting of his accomplishments.

Yes, I am aware that Burma is fictional.

I Was The Cat is probably one of the most interesting comics/graphic novels I have read in some time; it’s an engaging and entirely light hearted affair with only a handful of gorier moments (in a story set across history, there’s a lot that’s alluded to, but only one real moment where you see an animal get injured, and it’s such an ordinary occurrence that you’re going to wonder what kind of person you are that it doesn’t really phase you.

Perhaps one of my favourite things about the book is how Tobin gently critiques our current society through the eyes of a cat. It’s amusing without being deeply hilarious, and yet just unsettling enough to make you really think when you close the final page. Burma is easily one of the most interesting feline characters in comics, and I’d love to read more, but at the same time, this is a complete story and it doesn’t need a sequel.

This came out in 2015 or so, and went far below my radar for several years. It’s a lot of fun – and that’s why it’s a great candidate for today’s Underrated column. Check it out if you ever get a chance.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 10/17

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Rorschach #1 (DC/Black Label)– First, I have to give kudos to Tom King for digging into the “pirate comics” of Watchmen and their creators. Also, to Jorge Fornes for working with a 12 panel grid and not just a 9 panel one. But, it’s safe to say that Rorschach #1 was a snooze of a read. There are some interesting ideas floating around like eccentric superhero collectors, actual real world comics creators doing seances, and political rivalries, but King and Fornes fail at giving readers a character to latch onto for future issues. They riff and tease, but don’t really do anything with the venerable Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons source material. Plain and simple, Rorschach #1 is boring, not controversial, and honestly, that’s worse in my book. Overall: 5.0 Verdict: Pass

The Vain #1 (Oni Press)– Eliot Rahal, Emily Pearson, and Fred Stresing turn in a funny, sexy 1940s riff on vampire stories in The Vain #1. Rahal and Pearson give the four leads a shit ton of charisma and big queer energy as they cross the United States stealing blood and finding a place where they can live the good life. This is in contrast with the milquetoast FBI agent trying to track them down. Vampires robbing banks is a fun enough premise, but the conclusion of issue one reveals this series’ real, historically connected premise. And it’s even better. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Grendel, Kentucky #2 (AWA/Upshot)**- Grendel, Kentucky #2 has visually striking art and letters from Tommy Lee Edwards and John Workman, but Jeff McComsey’s script is a bit sluggish. More so, since this comic is set to wrap up in two more issues. McComsey and Edwards establish the scale and frightening nature of the monster on the outskirts of the motorcycle club/weed baron’s land, mostly, through the effects of his actions. There’s some half-assed X-Files stuff with police investigating the patriarch Clyde’s death and a cast of supporting characters that are introduced and immediately offed. Edwards’ visuals definitely transport Beowulf to Appalachia (Sadly, the drug the family would sell/produce would be meth or heroin, not weed though.), but there isn’t much of a story to go with them. Overall: 6.0 Verdict: Pass

Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #1 (Marvel)– This was my first experience with anything Warhammer 40K-related, and Marneus Calgar #1 was a definitely accessible take on this popular franchise from Kieron Gillen and Jacen Burrows. They introduce a totally dystopian world with big combat armor, buckets of blood, frightening monsters, lots of religious references, and dark humor around the edges. (I chuckled every time they mentioned certain planets’ life expectancy.) Plotwise, Marneus Calgar #1 is part origin story, part cosmic horror tale showing the titular character’s rise from rich kid to hardened Ultramarine. As a newcomer to the world, I liked the focus on a singular character. Finally, I would be remiss without praising Burrows’ versatile art as he nails everything from the details of weapons to some space marines-in-training’s joyful, yet terrified reactions to their beyond-hard-ass drill instructor’s sayings. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Hellions #5 (Marvel)– Hellions #5 throws a spanner in the fetch quest-y works of the X of Swords crossover. Zeb Wells and Carmen Carnero set Mr. Sinister and his Hellions (With a newly grumpy and resurrected Empath) on a suicide mission to retrieve all the swords and avoid the tournament with Arakko. The utter dysfunctionality and eccentricity of the team has made Hellions an entertaining read, and the higher stakes of X of Swords brings it to another level. Mr. Sinister constantly commenting on cuts of capes will never not be hilarious, and he and the team get to match wits with Jamie Braddock in this issue. With the exception of a gross resurrection scene in the beginning, Hellions #5 is more backstabbing and blackmailing than out and out violence. But that’s okay because Carnero is great at showing the quick glances, side eyes, and groans from more upright characters like Psylocke and Havok that fill this darkly funny and downright hopeless take on the typical fantasy quest narrative. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

New Mutants #13 (Marvel)– Doug Ramsey already has his sword (It’s his buddy, Warlock) so Ed Brisson and the always impressive Rod Reis spend this issue looking at his fears about participating in the tournament as well as his relationships with Magik, Warlock, and Krakoa. The sparring sessions between Magik and Doug have a wonderful energy to them while still showing that Doug’s skill will always be with languages and not combat. Reis uses a welcoming, green palette to show the close relationship between Krakoa and Doug and demonstrate that the mutants would go from being in harmony to basically parasites if he was to die in the tournament. Brisson also continues some of the scheming from Hellions as Exodus is skeptical both about Sinister’s mission and Doug’s chances in the tournament. All in all, New Mutants #13 is a strong character study for one of the most underrated mutants and has gorgeous art, especially when Reis evokes Bill Sienkiewicz in his depiction of Warlock. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Cable #5 (Marvel)– In Cable #5, Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto send the Summers family to space to deal with a figure of cosmic terror that has wiped out all of SWORD agents at The Peak space station. There’s a chance for Noto to flex his horror muscles, some family bonding, and lots of various types of energy blasts. Also, Scott gets to have some important conversations with Cable about how maybe he’s too inexperienced to wield a sword in the upcoming tournament. So far, everything in both love and war has gone Cable’s way, and it seems like Duggan is setting him or his family up for a big setback in the upcoming tournament. You know something’s off when Cyclops is utterly confident. Even though this comic has a very “side quest” vibe to it, Duggan and Noto do succeed in creating some tension for the upcoming tournament and showing that Jonathan Hickman doesn’t totally have the market cornered on the Summerses. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

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