Tag Archives: grant morrison

Review: Love is Love

loveislovefiOn June 12, 2016, a hateful man killed 49 people and wounded 53 at The Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, Florida. This was a terrible day for the LGBTQ community, and I was just plain sad. A couple weeks ago, I had celebrated getting a job and moving to a new city with a few friends at a couple gay clubs in my old home of Richmond, Virginia so a thought went through my head, “It could have been me.” Even though I am relatively privileged as a white cisgendered, relatively straight passing bisexual male, I had no queer friends in my new home to turn to and confide in after the events in Orlando. But what got me through was the queer comics and comics journalism community, and my Facebook inboxes and Twitter DM’s were filled with messages of hope and understanding. I may have felt alone in my current situation, but these beautiful people, many of whom I have never met in the flesh, got me through the tough days after the Pulse shooting.

The Love is Love comics anthology project from IDW Publishing with assistance from DC Comics, Archie Comics, Aftershock, and the Will Eisner estate gave me a similar feeling of the comics community coming together to mourn after The Pulse shooting. While reading the graphic novel, I simultaneously felt sadness and hope and remembered that despite the scandals that the comics industry has some great folks, whose excellent work appears in this comic. I enjoyed how well-represented all genders, races, sexualities, and religions were in Love is Love along with the different art styles and color palette. On a pure aesthetic level, most of the stories in Love is Love hit two of my favorite genre sweet spots: superhero and autobio, which made it a great read on both an emotional and intellectual level.

Honestly, I could write a book about the brilliant one to three page stories, poems, and pinups in Love is Love, and maybe I will one day. For the purpose of this review, I will hit on a few that affected me personally; those stories that through words, art, colors, and letters gave me comfort as I thought back to Orlando.

batwomanPaul Dini‘s Harley and Ivy story is insanely adorable and nails their romantic relationship in a nutshell with each one making compromises for the each other. For example, Harley goes vegetarian while Ivy is subjected to a Three Stooges marathon. Bill Morrison‘s art is very similar to the style of Batman: Animated Series and peppered with all kinds of background details to add to the humor. Another funny story (Albeit darker than Harley and Ivy shenanigans.) that provided some great comic relief in the midst of the emotionally headier material of Love is Love was a Deathstroke one by Taran Killam where he switches out his arsenal of guns for karate after the Pulse shooting. Gallows humor is a great way to stave off pain.

As someone whose sexuality is still not accepted by those close to me and was afraid to come out until I was 19, Love is Love‘s portrayal of homophobia is harrowing, yet all too relatable. Early, in the book, Daniel Beals and David Lafuente do a splitscreen story where two young boys see the same news coverage of The Pulse, but react in vastly different ways because of their parent’s homophobia and empathy respectively. Then, there is a nuanced story from Jeff King and Steve Pugh where a girl is sad about the shooting and wants to go to the memorial service, but her dad is uneasy about men kissing men. Later, he realizes how thoughtless he was and apologizes. I know Pugh from his superhero work on Fantastic Four and Detective Comics, and this appeal for forgiveness was just as fictional as Batman or Reed Richards in my own life.

The stories that bypassed my head and went straight to my heart strings were ones that focused on queer clubs as sanctuaries. In six pulsing panels and two pages, comics legends Grant Morrison and Jesus Merino capture the beat with alternating colors and skeletons in the background. Without a word, an image engulfed my mind and reminded me of fog lights, cute boys, and too many Long Island ice teas. In a similar vein, Emma Houxbois and Alejandra Gutierrez looked at the escapism of a queer club experience complete with cuties and the sad realities of the morning after. (Full disclosure: I worked closely with Emma on the Fantheon podcast and at the websites The Rainbow Hub and Pop Optiq and she has contributed to this site.) The comic had a soft color palette and intelligent narration while still connecting to my personal experiences and of other LGBTQ people. And it was followed by a silent comic by Brian Michael Bendis, his daughter Olivia Bendis, Michael Oeming, and Taki Soma that captured the joy and energy of a queer night club with people dancing with they wanted to and bright colors everywhere courtesy of Soma.

Many of the creators, who were from Florida, had very personal stories to share about the LGBTQ community of Orlando, which were sad and enjoyable, like Scott Snyder, who wrote a prose piece with a spot illustration by Jock about working at Disney World, and how some of the queer employees, who played various Disney characters, would invite him to a gay bar every Thursday and accept him.

Love is Love gave me an opportunity to listen to the stories of some queer comics creators that I have admired for quite some time, like James Tynion and Phil Jimenez. Tynion’s story was drawn in black and white by artist Molly Ostertag except for splotches of rainbow in the bracelet that he got as a youngster. It skips time frantically in a two page story as he comes to terms with his sexuality cutting from him spending time with his friends at Pride to facing the fact that he is a bisexual boy at an all-boy’s Catholic school. Jimenez did his comic with his writer friend David Kim and talked about how they had grown up from using codenames to show that they are dating men to being out and proud DC Comics creators. The comic is filled with snatches of conversations they had about relationships and even superhero oddities as they reflect on their friendship after the events in Orlando. Jimenez also excels at wispy, life drawing as well as superheroes, Amazons, and the Invisible College.

The queer DC Comics character that means the most to me is definitely Midnighter, and I was happy to see him featured in a couple of the Love is Love stories. The first one is by Dan DiDio and Carlos D’Anda and acts as a crash course in DC’s LGBTQ characters. It’s pretty amusing and features Midnighter and Apollo doing shots of tequila and getting on the dance floor with Batwoman as Renee Montoya snarks from the sides. The other one was my favorite story of the entire Love is Love collection from Tom Taylor, Emily Smith, and Michael Garland. Midnighter was angry after The Pulse shooting just like I was angry, and Garland punctuates his anger with a red background. He’s just punching aimlessly when Apollo shows up and says that he is not alone and will be safe with him. This kind of solidarity between queer people in the face of death and tragedy truly empowered me as Taylor makes good use of Midnighter’s vulnerable side that is the emotional center of Steve Orlando’s current work on his title.

Other highlights of Love is Love included Tom King and Mitch Gerads doing a rainbow-tinted Batman tale, Sterling Gates returning to Supergirl and writing about how she failed to save the day, married couple Amanda Seibert and Cat Staggs showing Batwoman comforting a child, whose mother died at The Pulse, and much more. There’s even a wonderful, yet vulnerable riff on Beauty and the Beast from Marguerite Bennett and Aneke where Bennett, and an LGBT-inclusive riff on DC’s old romance comics from project creator Marc Andreyko with art from George Perez, Karl Kesel, and Laura Allred.  A full list of collaborators on Love is Love can be found here, and I definitely plan on delving into their other work.

Love is Love is personal, beautiful, and tragic collection of comics that really affected me despite their being more “ally” creators than LGBTQ ones. I hope it will make the world a more loving and inclusive place even in the shadow of the election of two homophobes to the office of president and vice president.

As Batman says in King and Gerads’ story, “Today, I will get up. Today, I will face their hate… And I will again fight for my love.” Visual and verbal moments like that are why I love comics.

Story: Various Art: Various
Story: 9.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Klaus and the Witch of Winter #1

Klaus and the Witch of Winter #1

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover Artists:
Main cover: Dan Mora
“Black Ice” Incentive cover: Dan Mora
FOC Variant Cover: Cameron Stewart
Price: $7.99

Klaus returns for an epic oversized one-shot, perfect for any comic fan’s stocking!

Brought to you by legendary creator Grant Morrison and 2016 Russ Manning Award winner Dan Mora, join the continuing adventures through space and time of the man that would become Santa Claus.

After being chained on the moon for decades, Klaus has broken free and must now track down two missing children who have fallen into the Witch of Winter’s trap.

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Preview: Klaus HC

Klaus HC

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover Artist: Dan Mora
Price: $34.99
On sale: 11/9/16 in comic book stores; 11/15/16 in bookstores

Klaus is “Santa Claus: Year One.”

Award-winning author Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, The Multiversity) and Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award-winning artist Dan Mora (Hexed) revamp, reinvent, and re-imagine a classic superhero for the 21st century, drawing on Santa’s roots in Viking lore and Siberian shamanism.

Collects the complete, seven-issue limited series in an oversized hardcover.

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Around the Tubes

the-forevers-1-11Tomorrow Small Press Expo kicks off. Who else is going? If you’re in the DC area, you absolutely should! If you see our team, come say “hi”!

While you wait for the weekend to start, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

CBLDF – THIS WEEKEND: CBLDF Has Signings, Debuts, and More in Store for SPX! – Take advantage folks!

Tabeltop Gaming News – USAopoloy Posts A Look Inside the Marvel Munchkin 2 Set – Anyone playing this?

CBR – Syfy Orders Pilot Based On Morrison & Robertson’s Happy! – Interesting.

Comics Alliance – ‘Supergirl’ Spins the Wheel on Dichen Lachman as DC’s Roulette – Interesting casting.

ICv2 – First Announced Game Shipment Delay Due to Hanjin Bankruptcy – How much else will be impacted?

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Doom Patrol #1

The Beat – Family Man

Talking Comics – The Forevers #1

The Beat – Hadrian’s Wall #1

Talking Comics – Red Hood and the Outlaws #2

Talking Comics – Wonder Woman #6

Sequart’s Book on the British Invasion’s Big Three is Now Available

BRITISH INVASION coverSequart Organization has announced the publication of The British Invasion: Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and the Invention of the Modern Comic Book Writer, by Greg Carpenter.

Moore. Gaiman. Morrison.

They came from Northampton, West Sussex, and Glasgow, and even though they spoke with different dialects, they gave American comics a new voice – one loud and clear enough to speak to the Postmodern world. Like a triple-helix strand of some advanced form of DNA, their careers have remained irrevocably intertwined. They go together, like Diz, Bird, and Monk… or like Kerouac, Burroughs, and Ginsberg… or like the Beatles, the Stones, and the Who.

Taken individually, their professional histories provide an incomplete picture of comics’ British Invasion, but together they redefined the concept of what it means to be a comic book writer. Collectively, their story is arguably the most important one of the modern comics era.

The British Invasion: Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, and the Invention of the Modern Comic Book Writer runs 492 pages, making it the longest book Sequart has published. It features an interview with the legendary Karen Berger (who spearheaded the British Invasion at DC Comics), and it sports a fun “Meet the Beatles!”-esque cover by Kevin Colden.

The British Invasion is available in print and on Kindle. (Just a reminder: you don’t need a Kindle device to read Kindle-formatted books; you can download a free Kindle reader for most computers, phones, and tablets.)

Preview: Klaus #7 (of 7)

Klaus #7 (of 7)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover Artist: Dan Mora
Price: $3.99

Final issue! Klaus must not only save Yuletime, but the town of Grimsvig itself from the evil Krampus and Lord Magnus.

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Morrison and Del Rey’s Sinatoro Gets Pick up by Universal Television

SinatoroUniversal Television, Depth Of Field, and Black Mask Studios are going out to directors with a drama television series based on the forthcoming Black Mask comic Sinatoro by Grant Morrison and Vanesa R. Del Rey from a pilot script by American Odyssey and Heroes’ Adam Armus, Kay Foster and Morrison. Depth Of Field’s Andrew Miano, Chris Weitz, and Paul Weitz and Black Mask Studios’ Matt Pizzolo and Brett Gurewitz will executive produce with Armus, Foster, Morrison, Kristan Morrison and Adam Egypt Mortimer. The team intends to partner with a director and then take to buyers with the studio.

The comic book series Sinatoro tells of a soldier on a strange mission that takes him into a sinister landscape of American mythologies, melding the Tibetan Book of the Dead with the Great American Road Movie for Morrison’s masterwork on Life, Death, and America. Armus, Foster, and Morrison’s script is a faithful adaptation of the long anticipated work that has been a passion project of Morrison’s for years.

In the release, Morrison said:

Sinatoro reimagines American pop culture as a whole new mythology. It’s about life, death, sex, romance and everything in between.  This is one of my favorite stories and I’m excited to see it finding new life as a television series where we have more opportunity and potential to develop the ideas and characters.

The comic series had been promoted since August of 2015, but hasn’t been released. Black Mask has said the comic will finally hit shelves in 2017.

Preview: Captain Victory & The Galactic Rangers TPB

Captain Victory & The Galactic Rangers TPB

writer: Joe Casey
artists: Nathan Fox, Farel Dalrymple, Nick Dragotta, Ulises Farinas, Michel Fiffe, Jim Mahfood, Benjamin Marra, Dan McDaid, Grant Morrison, Jim Rugg, Connor Willumsen
cover: Nathan Fox
FC • 168 pages • $19.99 • Teen+
COLLECTS ISSUES 1-6

The valiant Captain Victory falls in battle… but death is only the beginning! His superiors long ago enacted a contingency plan: maintain clone bodies, that — with a memory download — can be sent into space to die again and again. Only this time, two copies were created, their memory downloads incomplete and bodies ejected into far-flung time and space. Can a teenage, amnesiac Victory survive the dangers of 1970s New York City? Can a scarred, hulking Victory survive a hazardous alien landscape millions of light-years away? Born from the fertile imagination of comic book legend Jack Kirby, Captain Victory bounds into cosmic adventure anew courtesy of writer Joe Casey (Sex, Uncanny X-Men) and artist Nathan Fox (Blue Estate, Haunt)!

This boldly experimental volume collects the complete six issues of Casey’s critically acclaimed, star-studded reimagining, plus sixteen pages of never-before-seen bonus material and an all-new introduction by the writer, Joe Casey.

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Preview: Klaus: Pen & Ink #1

Klaus: Pen & Ink #1

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover Artist: Dan Mora
Price: $19.99

Calling all process junkies! If you’re as much a fan of the behind-the-scenes process of illustration as you are of the finished product, you will love this in-depth look at the making of the critically acclaimed Klaus.

This next installment of the Pen & Ink series collects Klaus issues #1-2 in an oversized, 11” x 17” format that features Dan Mora’s detailed inks alongside new commentary and creative insights from Mora and writer Grant Morrison.

Pen&Ink_Klaus_001_Cover

Preview: Klaus #6 (of 7)

Klaus #6 (of 7)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover Artist: Dan Mora
Price: $3.99

It’s Klaus versus Krampus, and the whole world hangs in the balance!

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