Tag Archives: fabian lelay

Review: We Are the Danger #1

In their new series We Are the Danger, writer/artist Fabian Lelay and colorist Claudia Aguirre channel teenage angst and uncertainty into pop rock magic. Jules is the new girl in town and having the usual issues making friends and finding her niche that all people who have moved from place to place can relate to. But, then, she gets invited to a gig by a super cool, pink haired drummer named Tabitha, and the rest is pretty thrilling from there. Lelay’s candid captions and hyper-expresssive art, Aguirre’s power pop color palette, and Taylor Esposito’s livewire letters recapture a time when meeting a new, cool friend could open a world of potential to you whether that’s learning about a new band, going to a gig, or best of all, starting your own.

Fabian Lelay dual wields the proverbial weapon of conflict in We Are the Danger #1 centering it mainly on Jules’ very real desire to have friends and belong somewhere and awkwardness of being in a new place while also introducing some external conflict between Tabitha and her old bandmate, Logan, who seems like a more diva-ish version of CHVRCHES’ Lauren Mayberry. (In design, at least.) So, when Tabitha and Jules start their new band with bassist Scooter and a stylish girl with black and white guitar, who is pretty and tense and can definitely shred, it’s not just about the music; it’s also to spite Logan. Tabitha may play the drums like a slightly less deadpan Kim Pine, but she immediately puts a target on the band’s back. She’s a character who is cool and quick witted on the outside, but she definitely has some problems. However, Tabitha was the first person that reached out to Jules at her new home and invited her to do something fun so they have a real bond.

We Are the Danger #1 is just a slice of life teen band book, but Lelay’s art and especially Aguirre’s colors make it look magical. Any time music is being played, whether at a quick acoustic jam session at Jules’ place or the gig that opens up the comic, Aguirre uses vivid background colors, and Lelay draws closed eyed close-up of the characters to show how much music means to them. Or there’s a giant mosh pit that allows for manga-esque pratfalls like Jules basically swooning for Tabitha’s bishonen (She finds out about this later.) brother. There’s an air of wonder to everything seen through Jules’ eyes, and her friendship with Tabitha is easy. Maybe, a little too easy, and the origin of the interpersonal conflict between Logan and Tabitha is definitely a subplot to pay attention to going forward.

Even if the story is set in the present, and subtweeting is a major plot point, Fabian Lelay gives We Are the Danger a great retro vibe in some of his art and layout choices. This makes sense when artists like Paramore, who weren’t even alive when New Wave ruled the charts, are making albums in homage to that period or Janelle Monae’s new single “Make Me Feel” seems like a forgotten B-side to “Kiss” by Prince to name two of many. Lelay uses a mixtape shaped layout to tell Jules’ “origin story” with the “track titles” foreshadowing future plot developments and doubling as good song names. This style choices combined with clean, emotion filled artwork make We Are the Danger a breezy, pleasurable read with quips and melodrama to boot. Plus Claudia Aguirre really knows how to light up a stage with cool Photoshop effects to go with her colors.

We Are the Danger #1 has all the raw emotion and passion of your favorite summer pop single that happens to feature some distorted guitars to give it a little edge. Fabian Lelay and Claudia Aguirre take two relatable situations: feeling like an outcast at a new place and loving music with every ounce of energy and turns into yet another hit for Black Mask Studios.

Story/Art: Fabian Lelay Colors: Claudia Aguirre Letters: Taylor Esposito
Story: 7.8 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: This Nightmare Kills Fascists

There has been an awakening in the public arena due to the 2016 American Presidential election. An election the world is still reeling from the ramifications. Artists, especially those who operate in the comic realm, were (and are) particularly incensed. This cognizance of international politics is very present in the excellent anthology This Nightmare Kills Fascists.

In “Diane The Hunter” the proliferation of violence on women is explored, as a pair of assailants, walk right into a “wolf trap”. In “Thermonuclear Hunger Strike,” a worst-case scenario of what the world will be under President Trump is played out, with an assassin taking apart the oligarchy that is left. In “The Pledge,” a young man despite his girlfriend’s pleas pledges a fraternity who is known for their misogyny and racism. During a hazing ritual they unleash an ancient evil. In “Dear Jane,” a woman who wakes up from a sleep undergoes a carefully constructed game, one that is the stuff of nightmares. In “Black Friday,” a man’s impulsive actions to leads to death of a stranger ad the one person he would kill for.

In “This Land,” America is reimagined as a country drawn along racial lines, literally. A family gets into a dangerous game of fox and hound, as a band of racist vigilantes chase them down, ending in the bloodiest way. In “Yellow,” a woman who has been emotionally abused by her husband over time, eventually hits turning point, one which she redefines her sense of self worth.  In “A Forest,” a man who was protesting deforestation, gets killed by something, not from this world. In “Devil Daddy,” a young lady who was raped by Satan himself, reclaims her power.

In “Long Division,” one woman who is helping to build the wall along the Mexican border, becomes part of it most horrific section, one where torture of American becomes legal. In “Thank God,” the evils of taking the Bible literally is played in this one high school. In “Do Unto Others,” the demagogue virtues of religious freedom is explored, ending up in just desserts. In “Fury From The Deep,” the dangers of fracking is brilliantly told and just how those who run in the industry has no limits on the evils they will do. In “Office Party,” a Senator who opposed heath care gets a Scrooge like visit, which leaves him not changed but horrified.

In “The Abyss Of Observation,” a writer’s observations about the Siege of Sarajevo, is played in dramatic fashion. In “The Price Of Fashion,” a young lady obsessions with clothes, proves deadly for one of her lovers. In “One In Heart and  mind,” a woman’s faith is shaken once she finds out exactly who her pastor is.

Overall, an engrossing anthology which pulls you into every page and highlights each artist and writer at the top of their game. The stories by each writer shows their depth at wielding a meaningful story while remembering to entertain. The art by each artist displays their synchronicity with each story providing readers with depth and warmth. Altogether, a book which means to stir the incendiary nature of every good human being. It not only does that but makes them aspire to higher.

Story: Vita Ayala, Justin Jordan, Ryan Ferrier, Michael Wernke, Erica Schultz, Forrest Helvie, Tyler Chin-Tanner, Ryan Lindsay, Matt Miner, Tini Howard, Christopher Sebela, John Bivens, Dave Ebersole, Joe Corrallo, Andrew Shaw, Eric Palicki, Fabian Lelay, Ryan Cady
Art: Eric Zawadzki, Crees Hyunsung Lee, Kelly Williams, Juan Castro, Claire Connelly, Joseba Morales, Yosam Cardenas, Soo Lee, Ariela Kristantina, Christian Dibari, Katy Rex, Matt Harding,  Jamel Jones, Sean Van Gorman, Don Cardenas, Fabian Lelay, Philip Sevy
Story: 10 Art: 8.8 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Baroque Pop, a Lana Del Rey Anthology Debuts at C2E2

Red Stylo Media will debut a new comic anthology inspired by the music of Lana Del Rey, at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2.) Baroque Pop is a carefully curated selection of short-form comics and illustrations celebrating love, loss, success, and change by comic creators who came together after finding mutual solace and inspiration in Lana Del Rey’s music. The collection is edited by comics writer, Mario Candelaria.

In keeping with the music theme, the book itself is printed at 7×7 inches to physically resemble a 45 RPM record cover. The project was funded earlier this year via Kickstarter, and is published under Red Stylo Media’s group publishing imprint, Red Stylo Press.

Baroque Pop features seven short comics and portraits by:

  • Chuck Harrison & Luke Marrone
  • Daniel Charles & Ashley St. Lawrence (with Scott Ewen)
  • Jennie Wood & Chris Goodwin
  • Enrica Jang & Jan Velazquez
  • Mario Candelaria & KasiaWiterscheim
  • Michael Lynch & Mira Mortal
  • Eric Palicki & Daniel Earls (with Scott Ewen)
  • Jim Towe
  • Adam Ferris (feat. Lesley Atlansky)
  • John Keaveney
  • Hoyt Silva
  • Fabian Lelay (feat Lesley Atlansky)

Red Stylo Media will be at C2E2, table N8 in artist alley. Their other titles inspired by rock music include, Angel With a Bullet, a collection inspired by the music of Tom Waits; Killer Queen, comics inspired by the discography of Queen; and The 27 Club, comics inspired by Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix and other music artists who died age twenty‐seven. The 27 Club was co‐published with Action Lab Comics and was nominated for a Harvey Award for Best Anthology in 2016.

Cover by Jim Towe

Illustration by Adam Ferris (with Lesley Atlansky)

Illustration by Kasia Witerscheim

Review: Jade Street Protection Services #2

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The next installment of your new favorite angry magical girl series follows our gang of teen delinquents as they realize they’ve had absolutely no preparation to live in the real world. Blindsided by their betrayal by Matsdotter Academy and stranded in unbelievable new circumstances, the girls discover the depths of corruption reach even the little shops on Jade Street. Story creators Katy Rex and Fabian Lelay explore the rad and insurrectionary world of Jade Street Protection Services helped by the talents of colorist Mara Jayne Carpenter, letterer Taylor Esposito, and cover artists Annie Wu and Kiki Jenkins. How can you change the world when you can’t tell what’s wrong with it?

Tranquil looking Jade Street seems to be more than it appears on the surface in this second issue. Yet there is a shift from the previous issue I think as it expands and changes how the main characters see the world. This shift works well for the series overall since it allows them to deepen the plot and the characters. The issue focuses on both and expands each nicely.

The art continues to flow well like the previous issue. The setting is more focused and reduced to the Jade Street and Magpies’ apartment. That helps to showcase how the normal world reacts to the introduction of magic in a combination of art and story.

Story: Fabian Lelay, Katy Rex Art: Fabian Lelay
Story: 8.5  Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Jade Street Protection Services #4

JADE STREET PROTECTION SERVICES #4

Written by: Katy Rex & Fabian Lelay
Illustrated by: Fabian Lelay
Colored by: Mara Jayne Carpenter
Lettered by: Taylor Esposito
Edited by: Magdalene Visaggio
Cover by: Annie Wu
In Stores: January 11

The last installment in the Jade Street Protection Services story arc! Our favorite punk rock teen witch delinquents confront issues large and small, from the subjugation of magical girls to the best way to have food and a place to crash without a real job (hint: magical PB&J tastes like garbage and sparkles). But best of all, it’s time for the BOSS FIGHT!

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Preview: Jade Street Protection Services #3

JADE STREET PROTECTION SERVICES #3

Written by: Katy Rex & Fabian Lelay
Illustrated by: Fabian Lelay
Colored by: Mara Jayne Carpenter
Lettered by: Taylor Esposito
Edited by: Magdalene Visaggio
Cover by: Annie Wu
In Stores: December 28

The punk rock witches return!

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Preview: Jade Street Protection Services #2

JADE STREET PROTECTION SERVICES #2

Written by: Katy Rex
Illustrated by: Fabian Lelay
Colored by: Mara Jayne Carpenter
Lettered by: Taylor Esposito
Cover by: Annie Wu

JADE STREET PROTECTION SERVICES is All Ages done the Black Mask way. Kai, Saba, Noemi, Divya, and Emma are (bad) students at Matsdotter Academy, an elite private school for magical girls. When they all meet for the first time in a totally unfair detention, these punk rock witch delinquents cut class and discover the fates Matsdotter has in store for them are even more sinister than they suspected.

The Breakfast Club meets Sailor Moon, JSPS is a whipsmart adventure for delinquents young and old.

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Review: Jade Street Protection Services #1

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In this new series that mashes The Breakfast Club with Sailor Moon, Kai, Saba, Noemi, Divya, and Emma are (bad) students at Matsdotter Academy, an elite private school for magical girls. When they all meet for the first time in a totally unfair detention, these punk rock witch delinquents cut class and discover the fates Matsdotter has in store for them are even more sinister than they suspected. With JSPS, the creative team of writer Katy Rex, penciler/inker Fabian Lelay, colorist Mara Jayne Carpenter, and series cover artists Annie Wu and Kiki Jenkins channel Black Mask‘s edgy, subversive sensibility into a whip-smart adventure for delinquents young and old.

One thing you can almost guarantee from Black Mask Studios is their writers are creative and know how to create an original story.  Jade Street Protection Services is no exception to that. The comic is a sort of clash of Harry Potter,  Sailor Moon, and The Breakfast Club and should appeal to folks looking for a comic that falls into that realm. The comci manages to balance humor, action, and of course teenage drama.

The art seems to take a mix of things from both Eastern manga, and Western Comics. The text conversation bubbles above each characters’ head is funny and a smart choice. It’s something different that makes the comic stand out. It helps show some of the characters’ interaction between themselves allowing us readers to get to know them more.

Story: Katy Rex Art: Fabian Lelay
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Jade St. Protection Services #1

JADE STREET PROTECTION SERVICES #1 1The magical girl genre has seen a popularity spike in the past year or two, and it’s hard to say what prompted it. An anime staple, western animators and webcomic artists have recently picked up on its visual cues, narrative tropes, and worldbuilding rules and run with them. All of a sudden, it’s hard for a magical girl comic to stand out among projects like Zodiac StarforceSleepless Domain, and Agents of the Realm. There’s enough magical girl stories currently running that I actually have to be picky about which ones I check out, so as to invest my time in the best entries in the genre rather than just consuming everything I can find. With that in mind, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Jade Street Protection Services when I first heard about it…and then I saw the cover of the first issue.

JSPS‘s color palette (courtesy of Mara Jayne Carpenter) and linework (penciled and inked by Fabian Lelay) make this comic really stand out. The graffiti-style look of the front cover (provided by Annie Wu and Kiki Jenkins) gives way to gradually shifting blues and greens, bright pinks and yellows or moody purples and browns. The character’s faces are easily distinguishable – it’s impossible to get two characters confused for one another – and Fabian Lelay’s inking strikes a great balance between simple and detailed depending on how a given panel is composed. These aren’t panels your eyes slide off of as you go from page to page: this comic is full of panels I found myself examining to admire composition or lighting or how characters were posed.

JADE STREET PROTECTION SERVICES #1 7 Thankfully, the story is just as strong as the artwork – rather than waste time on a three-paragraph page of exposition on the inside cover, the audience learns about the world the characters live inhabit as they discuss it naturally. We learn the name of the school the main cast attends on the same page where we see them attend their first class, where they learn how to pose and transform into proper magical girls. The nice thing about taking this approach is that any expository dialogue doesn’t come off as forced or stilted: it’s to be expected that a teacher would reiterate basics to remind her students what they should and shouldn’t focus on during a class. It works, and it works well. The first two pages give us a brief “here are your protagonists” montage, which is a device I usually don’t enjoy, but here it works because it gives us a broad idea of the main cast with plenty of room to flesh their personalities out in much more detail as the story progresses.

JADE STREET PROTECTION SERVICES #1 4We only get a brief glimpse of what may be the series’ central conflict, and there’s still plenty of worldbuilding to be explained in subsequent issues, but it’s easy to see that this info is being withheld simply because it would slow down the fast pace of the introduction. The first issue goes by quickly, but it’s because words aren’t wasted. Every panel has something to contribute to the mood, the story, and the worldbuilding; every line of dialogue establishes how the characters talk and think and interact with one another. This is a story where even the idle chatter and inane comments show us who a character is and what they’re like, and every panel has an obvious focus to draw the eye’s attention toward – this is the kind of writing and art magical girl comics should aspire to.

From what I’ve seen so far, JSPS is as enjoyable to stare at as it is to actually read and I can’t wait to see where it goes beyond issue one. If the first issue of this series sets the tone for what’s to come, I’m in all the way.

Story: Katy Rex Art: Fabian Lelay, Mara Jayne Carpenter, Annie Wu & Kiki Jenkins
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy!

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Jade Street Protection Services #1

JADE STREET PROTECTION SERVICES #1

Written by: Katy Rex
Art by: Fabian Lelay
Lettered by: Taylor Esposito
Colored by: Mara Jayne Carpenter
Covers by: Annie Wu
In Stores: June 29th, 2016

In this new series that mashes The Breakfast Club with Sailor Moon, Kai, Saba, Noemi, Divya, and Emma are (bad) students at Matsdotter Academy, an elite private school for magical girls. When they all meet for the first time in a totally unfair detention, these punk rock witch delinquents cut class and discover the fates Matsdotter has in store for them are even more sinister than they suspected. With JSPS, the creative team of writer Katy Rex, penciler/inker Fabian Lelay, colorist Mara Jayne Carpenter, and series cover artists Annie Wu and Kiki Jenkins channel Black Mask’s edgy, subversive sensibility into a whipsmart adventure for delinquents young and old.

JADE STREET PROTECTION SERVICES #1 1

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