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Magnetic Press announces Black Box Chronicles, a new sci-fi anthology

Magnetic Press has announced the upcoming premiere of their first original production in partnership with Horrible FutureBlack Box Chronicles, a science-fiction anthology that spans multiple generations in mankind’s expansion into space and beyond the stars. Developed by Horrible Future founders Mark Schey and Chris Northrop, the anthology serves as an introduction to the sprawling drama and high-concept fiction that will be explored in a multi-media plan that includes print, digital, audio, video, and interactive elements.

Black Box Chronicles is set in the future age known as The Great Outward Expansion wherein mankind has not only left earth to colonize other planets but other star systems as well. Humanity’s natural instinct to explore is given free reign through exponentially advancing technology, reaching new plateaus of knowledge faster than anyone could have imagined. But regardless of how much data and processing power civilization achieves, there remains one barrier that can only be crossed in one direction: the one separating life and death. But one Scavenger believes he may be able to solve life’s biggest mystery by assembling scraps of data from a variety of Black Boxes recovered from several centuries’ worth of spacecraft that all share a secret connection, one that may answer the question of what happens in our final moments when we pass into “The Great Dark.”

Told by a creative team of some of the comic industry’s most talented artists and writers, this collection of 15 interconnected short stories set the historical groundwork for the Black Box Universe. Horrible Future founders Mark Schey and Chris Northrop have gathered a roster of seasoned talent from around the world, including David Mack, Michael Avon OemingZach HowardEryk DonovanMarco Fodera, Gavin Smith, Toru Terada, David Messina, Giovanni Rigano, Drew Moss, Christian Dibari, Taki Soma, and Mario Alberti.
In addition to the anthology, a world-building Art Book entitled Black Box Design Space will be released featuring an encyclopedic look at the various devices, locations, and technologies that make up this new future setting. Fully illustrated by concept artist Shane Molinathis supplemental volume will further immerse readers into the world of Black Box through rich cutaway schematics and lore that add further dimension and layers to the mysteries explored in the anthology.

In addition to the anthology and encyclopedia, additional supplementary content is in development, including original music by one of the fictional characters, longform prose short stories, and tabletop roleplaying materials using Magnetic’s D6MV System based on the classic D6 System by West End Games.

Black Box Chronicles will debut on Kickstarter on Tuesday May 16th with special limited hardcover editions of both the anthology and the Design Space art book. The campaign-exclusive hardcover edition of the anthology will feature artwork by David Mack, while the general trade paperback edition will feature artwork by Shane Molina. A limited, deluxe slipcase set will feature both hardcover books inside a blue foil-laden slipcase with magnetic closure. Other campaign exclusives will include resin miniatures of some of the ships and drones featured in the series, a deck of premium playing cards featuring design motifs and artwork from inside the universe, and other unlockable bonus items that will be revealed at launch.

The Triptych of Terror comes to The Last Comic Book on the Left

The fevered minds behind The Last Podcast on the LeftMarcus Parks, Henry Zebrowski, and Ben Kissel, have once more joined unholy forces with Z2 Comics for a third tome in the The Last Comic Book on the Left series. Overflowing with stories equally heretic and hilarious, this new anthology has ensnared a new batch of writers and artists to conjure more macabre and profane sequential art inspired by the podcast, featuring doomed descents into Norwegian Black Metal, the Andreasson Affair, the Hollow Moon, and the Edgewood Arsenal (among others). 

What other degenerates have been recruited into this brochure of the wicked? 

  • Eliot Rahal (Amelia Aierwood: Basic Witch, Cheech & Chong’s Chronicles)
  • Bob Fingerman (Minimum WageBeg the Question)
  • Brennan Wagner (Blondie: Against the Odds)
  • Jenna Cha (Black Stars Above)
  • Grim Wilkins (Mirenda, Prophet)
  • Maria Lovett (Faithless, Porcelain)
  • Josh Simmons (Black River, Flayed Corpse)
  • Bayard Morse (The Last Comic Book on the Left)
  • Eryk Donovan (Heavy, Memetic
  • Jade Young 
  • Jensine Eckwall

In addition, Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski will step out from the bullpen to write their own stories in this new volume. Legendary creator Matt Wagner (MageGrendel) provides the cover art for the deluxe edition with repeat offender Bob Fingerman returning to provide cover art on the standard edition; Rob Schwager illustrated the hardback. 

Like the first two volumes of The Last Comic Book on the Left, a series of prints will come bundled with deluxe editions of the book. Artists and subjects include:

  • Maria Lovett, Vampires
  • Rob Schwager, The Flatwoods Monster 
  • Jade Young, Curse of the Kelpie 

Preview: Astroneer Countdown

Astroneer Countdown

(W) Dave Dwonch, David Pepose, Jeremy Lawson, M. Goodwin (A) Xenia Pamfil, Jeremy Lawson, Eryk Donovan, M. Goodwin
In Shops: Mar 29, 2023
SRP: $13.99

For fans of the hugely successful Astroneer videogame, comes an all-new, all-ages adventure set in developer System Era’s universe! Inside each graphic novel, readers can redeem a unique, exclusive cosmetic game code!

When bored Astroneer Seven plucks a mysterious crystal from the planet Boreas, he is catapulted across time and space! By taking the crystal, the very fabric of the planet starts to unravel, threatening to start a chain reaction that could destroy the entire universe!
Now, Seven and his ragtag crew of Astroneers must get the crystal back to Boreas before it’s too late!

Astroneer Countdown

Watch the Astroneer: Countdown trailer!

For fans of the hugely successful Astroneer videogame, comes an all-new, all-ages adventure set in developer System Era’s universe! Inside each graphic novel, readers can redeem a unique, exclusive cosmetic game code!

When bored Astroneer Seven plucks a mysterious crystal from the planet Boreas, he is catapulted across time and space! By taking the crystal, the very fabric of the planet starts to unravel, threatening to start a chain reaction that could destroy the entire universe!

Now, Seven and his ragtag crew of Astroneers must get the crystal back to Boreas before it’s too late!

Astroneer: Countdown is written by Dave Dwonch, David Pepose, Jeremy Lawson, and M. Goodwin. It features art by Xenia Pamfil, Jeremy Lawson, Eryk Donovan, and M. Goodwin. Coming to shops March 28.

Astroneer: Countdown Blasts Off in a comic series in Spring 2023

Titan Comics has announced Astroneer: Countdownan original graphic novel series based on the hit video game universe of indie developer System Era Softworks’ Astroneer, launching in March 2023.

Astroneer (PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Switch) is a multi-platform sandbox adventure game that encourages ingenuity and teamwork. As Astroneers, players are tasked with surviving in an uncharted solar system through exploration and crafting. With luminous visuals, deep lore, and a lot of heart, Titan Comics is excited to look further into the Astroneer universe.

The graphic novel adventure follows friendly Astroneer Seven as he ventures into the Boreas System. What begins as an epic quest to gather crucial resources turns into a crisis of identity and belonging. Will the discovery of the mysterious time-and-space-bending crystals rescue Seven from his troubles, or will they only cause more chaos? Readers will also enjoy three short stories as part of Astroneer: Countdown: “Out of Bounds,” “Decaf Noir,” and “Have We Met.” Each takes part in the wider Astroneer universe and captures the wonder that the game is known for.

Astroneer: Countdown is helmed by a multi-award-winning creative team. The stories are written by Dave Dwonch, David Pepose, Jeremy Lawson, and M. Goodwin; with Xenia Pamfil, Eryk Donovan, Jeremy Lawson, and M. Goodwin on art.

Astroneer: Countdown Volume 1 hits stores and digital devices in March 2023 and is available for preorder on Amazon and Forbidden Planet.

Astroneer: Countdown

Bleak Battles and Murderous Hearts in Wynd: The Throne in the Sky #3

BOOM! Studios has revealed the first look at the return of the Eisner-nominated blockbuster fantasy Wynd: The Throne in the Sky #3, the next issue of the five-issue series kicking off a new chapter in the acclaimed original series by Eisner Award-winning writer James Tynion IV and artist Michael Dialynas, the GLAAD Award-winning creative team behind The Woods, with letterer AndWorld Design, available on October 19, 2022.  

A moment of rest is a moment ill spent, as General Eks arrives in full force, with murderous intent. Even as the children and the fathers break free and flee, things seem dire, before an unexpected figure brings help…

Wynd: The Throne in the Sky #3 features main and variant cover art by acclaimed series artist Dialynas, as well as variant cover art by acclaimed illustrators Eryk Donovan and Ricardo López Ortiz.

Wynd: The Throne in the Sky #3

Discover New Digital Comics on comiXology

It’s a new day and comiXology has you covered with new comic releases. Check the releases out below or start shopping now!

Aleister Crowley: Art of the Waste

Written by RH Stewart
Art by RH Stewart

In 2009 Roy Huteson Stewart set out on an expedition into unknown realms to chronicle the life and times of the so-called “wickedest man in the world”. His artwork for what would become the graphic novel Aleister Crowley: Wandering the Waste is now collected in its truest, rawest form. Here are the pencils, inks, and collages depicting all the glorious filth and splendor of a life lived at the extreme limits of human knowledge and sanity. Truly an art book to savor.

Aleister Crowley: Art of the Waste

Cyclopedia Exotica

Written by Aminder Dhaliwal
Art by Aminder Dhaliwal

Following the critical and popular success of Woman World—the hit Instagram comic which appeared on 25 best of lists—Aminder Dhaliwal returns with Cyclopedia Exotica. Also serialized on instagram to her 250,000 followers, this graphic novel showcases Dhaliwal’s quick wit and astute socio-cultural criticism.

In Cyclopedia Exotica, doctor’s office waiting rooms, commercials, dog parks, and dating app screenshots capture the experiences and interior lives of the cyclops community; a largely immigrant population displaying physical differences from the majority. Whether they’re artists, parents, or yoga students, the cyclops have it tough: they face microaggressions and overt xenophobia on a daily basis. However, they are bent on finding love, cultivating community, and navigating life alongside the two-eyed majority with patience and the occasional bout of rage.

Through this parallel universe, Dhaliwal comments on race, difference, beauty, and belonging, touching on all of these issues with her distinctive deadpan humour steeped in millennial references. Cyclopedia Exotica is a triumph of hilarious candor.

Cyclopedia Exotica


Written by Andre Mateus
Art by Pedro Mendes

When a monster attacks, who you gonna call? Ulfrith, Olaf and Svein, that’s who! These three Norse monster hunters always get the job done…until the day they’re hired to kill a god!


Heavy #8

Written by Max Bemis
Art by Eryk Donovan
Colored by Cris Peter
Cover by Eryk Donovan

This is not Bill’s fault. Honestly, what more can you ask of him? He already rebelled against the universe and spent a gazillion years in an afterlife prison. You cannot possibly hold him responsible for whatever cosmos-ending shenanigans Slim is up to. Even when they involve taking over the afterlife for all eternity…right? RIGHT?! Sigh…hang on, lemme go get my machine gun…

Heavy #8

The Intergalactic Adventures of Zakk Ridley Vol. 2 #1: Sins of the Past

Written by Ian Sharman
Art by Ewan McLaughlin

Zakk Ridley’s back and this time it feels like the whole universe is after him…and not just for his rugged good looks. But that’s what happens when you paralyze the galactic president and then do a runner! Can Zak and his trusty friends, Dan and Kyouri escape the cold, hard hand of justice…while also dealing with a spate of kidnappings?! Can a vast cast of space pirates and space ninjas stop them?! Probably not, but you’ll have to read the book to find out…

The Intergalactic Adventures of Zakk Ridley Vol. 2 #1: Sins of the Past

The Script Rebellion

Written by Morgan Quaid
Art by Elisa Meneghel

A hapless clerk dreams his way into a dream city called Rust, where builds a life, falls in love, but has that love stollen by the brutish ruler who governs the city. In an effort to recover his bride, he becomes the figurehead for a city-wide rebellion which is doomed to fail with bitter consequences.

The Script Rebellion

Upgrade Soul: Collector’s Edition

Written by Ezra Claytan Daniels
Art by Ezra Claytan Daniels
Colored by Ezra Claytan Daniels
Cover by Ezra Claytan Daniels

For their forty-fifth anniversary, Hank and Molly Nonnar decide to undergo an experimental rejuvenation procedure, but their hopes for youth are dashed when the couple is faced with the results: severely disfigured yet intellectually and physically superior duplicates of themselves. Can the original Hank and Molly coexist in the same world as their clones? In Upgrade Soul, McDuffie Award-winning creator Ezra Claytan Daniels asks probing questions about what shapes our identity: Is it the capability of our minds or the physicality of our bodies? Is a newer, better version of yourself still you?

Upgrade Soul: Collector's Edition

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Superstate Gets a Soundtrack Tie-in from Graham Coxon

Superstate is a new graphic novel and accompanying original soundtrack, out 27th August 2021, in association with Z2 Comics. The high-concept world of Superstate encompasses the pairing of an original album soundtrack of 15 new songs from Graham Coxon, with a graphic novel of 15 stories featuring the work of 15 artists, and writers Alex Paknadel and Helen Mullane, with album and book cover artwork by Coxon himself.

Superstate sees Graham Coxon working with co-writers Alex Paknadel and Helen Mullane and 15 graphic artists including Christian Dibari, Marie Llovet, and Ryan Kelly as well as musicians Rahel Debebe-Dessalegne, Sharlene HectorValentina Pappalardo, and Vula to realize this reading and listening experience unlike any other. Coxon’s vision is brought to the page by an all-star co-operative of writers and artists who devised stories and visuals inspired by the original concept from Coxon. The creative process has been led by new music written and recorded by Coxon exclusively for Superstate. The result is a visual compendium that features 15 different graphic stories, each accompanied by its own individual soundtrack. 

Superstate is about a dystopian world where angels and villains alike promise the people paradise, disenchanted children live feral in vast rubbish dumps and the masses are pacified by a drugged out, government-mandated digital dreamscapes and robot partners while they wait to perish on this dying planet. It seems all hope is gone but there might be one place in the universe where the most desperate can escape… heaven.

The tracklisting and artist credits for Superstate is, as follows:
1.         Yoga Town (Artist: Kendall Goode)
2.         Uncle Sam (Artist: Eryk Donovan)
3.         It’s All In Your Mind (Artist: Andrade Estevez)
4.         Only Takes A Stranger (Artist: Anna Readman)
5.         L.I.L.Y. (Artists: Luisa Russo)
6.         Bullets (Artist: Goran Gligovic)
7.         I Don’t Wanna Wait For You (Artist: Ryan Kelly)
8.         The Astral Light (Artist: Soo Lee)
9.         Heaven (Buy a Ticket) (Artist: Koren Shadmi)
10.       The Ball of Light (Artist: Vasilis Lolos)
11.       Tommy Gun (Artist: Minerva Fox)
12.       Goodbye Universe (Artist: Kim Canales)
13.       Butterfly (Artist: Dave Chisholm) 
14.       We Remain (Artist: Ivan Stojković)
15.       Listen (Artist: Taylan Kurtulus)
As well as a standalone digital release, the Superstate soundtrack will be available on vinyl bundled with the book.  A deluxe bundle that includes the soundtrack, a hardback copy of the book with an exclusive slipcase and 3 art prints, retails at £73.17 (US$99.99). A limited super deluxe bundle will also include a copy of the book signed by Graham, retailing at £146.34 (US$199.99). In addition, the Superstate book will be available to purchase separately in hardback £21.94 (US$29.99) and paperback £14.63 (US$19.99).


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.

Review: Heavy #1 Puts a Fun Spin on the Man-Pain Vigilante Genre

Heavy #1

Writer Max Bemis, artist Eryk Donovan, and colorist Cris Peter deconstruct the shit out of the whole “bad guy kills a good guys wife so he becomes a vigilante and takes revenge on them” genre in Heavy #1. The premise of the comic is that Bill lost both his wife and his life to the bullets of an Irish mobster and got stranded in a place called The Wait. Think Purgatory, but more Uber and less Dante. He plays the role of “Heavy” in The Wait killing and using violence to keep the multiverse “righteous” and maybe be reunited with his wife one day. Bemis mines a vein of dark humor in Heavy and couples it with a little of the old ultraviolence from Donovan and Peter while also caring about Bill’s mental health.

Heavy #1 is a laugh out loud funny and outrageous satire of the old tough guy mentality. Bemis’ script makes many references to action movies and heroes while undercutting their tropes. For example, Bill isn’t good at his Heavy job because he was ex-military; he’s good because of the non-stop repetition of his work. If something is the only thing you do all day, every day, you’re bound to get good at it. Donovan and Peter illustrate this in a single jaw-dropping image of Bill doing cool things with guns over and over. But then Bemis undercuts it with a quick one-liner as if taunting the reader to not find fist pumping entertainment value from Bill doing badass things when he’s basically the gun-toting anti-hero version of Sisyphus rolling his boulder up the hill.

This rhythm of badass thing followed by joke at the badass thing’s expense starts in basically the first scene of the comic where Bill gives a teenage bully a taste of his own medicine with a powerful punch and an acid drop of pink. Then, Bill is back in office with his boss Kyle, who is yelling at one of her other Heavies. It adds a touch of humanity to Bill as a character. He’s Charlie Brown getting the football yanked out from under him, but with more violence and weirdness. Max Bemis and Eryk Donovan even take some time to riff on the whole flashback visions of the dead wife trope, and while Cris Peter uses an extra-radiant palette for Bill’s dearly beloved, she gives him such a good advice as moving on and finding friends. But, of course, Bill doesn’t listen, and he won’t even take a Heavy partner to give him a better chance of getting out of The Wait and finding bliss.

Seriously, Heavy #1 goes to some weird places and is a better book for it. It will probably take a life time of brain bleach for me to scrub out the image of an alternate universe Leonardo da Vinci, who has gone from designing futuristic machines, to creating machines to remove the unsuspecting citizens of Renaissance Italy’s colons whilst indulging his foot fetish and lounging with his cock out. But that’s the mark of a good artist, and Eryk Donovan is perfectly fine indulging in absurdity while Cris Peter adds garish colors that symbolize both decadence and carnage. Because who needs photoreality when you’ve got pinks and oranges blasting through the Vatican, and Bill landing cheesy, yet epic one-liners about da Vinci forgetting to invent bullets while he was too busy doing his steampunk thing. And when he gets to do that, Bemis and Donovan remind readers that Bill is an incredibly competent killer thanks to his hours of practice and not much else going on. But he definitely needs some help in the mental health and self-actualization department.

Max Bemis takes the dark humor of both his songs with Say Anything and great comics like Moon Knight and Foolkiller combines it with unparalleled violence and wild, eye-popping visuals from Eryk Donovan and Cris Peter. There’s also strong, Vertigo-style supernatural world-building with tongue firmly placed in cheek; think less Sandman and more Preacher. Whether you like vibing out and thinking about the multiverse, afterlife, and moral philosophy, or just reading about a guy who kills the shit out of people thanks to his ever-present man-pain, Heavy #1 is a strong debut and the comic for you.

Story: Max Bemis Art: Eryk Donovan
Colors: Cris Peter Letters: Taylor Esposito

Story: 8.4 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Vault provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics

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