Tag Archives: graphic novels

Review: Cold Mountain: The Legend of Han Shan and Shih Te The Original Dharma Bums

I remember when I started to read books. Like most children, what the school assigned us to read and what we liked to read were often worlds apart. I was never in a class where they would recommend both The Great Gatsby and Fahrenheit 451. One is considered part of the great canon of American Literature while the other is considered radical in its thinking but is now considered one of he forefathers of dystopian fiction. It wasn’t until I got out of school before I read about any of the beat writers, including the oftspoken Jack Kerouac.

Kerouac’s seminal work, On The Road gives readers the best presentations of his philosophy and way of life. He’s one of the more well known writers of his decade and of this subset. Pop culture has gotten to know him from TV shows like Quantum Leap. Contrary to popular belief, this school of thought that the Beat Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, did not start with these young stallions, but with two “dharma bums.” Sean Michael Wilson, Akiko Shimojima, and J.P. Seaton’s have put together a rather ingenious take on the Chinese legend of Han Shan and Shih Te in the brilliantly told Cold Mountain: The Legend of Han Shan and Shih Te The Original Dharma Bums.

Within the first few pages, we meet Han Shan, who we come to know as “Cold Mountain.” He gives readers a brief history of who he is and his attempts at living a rather ordinary life. He’s a young man seemingly failing at everything from being a scholar, to a soldier, to a farmer, and even being married. This is until he receives an epiphany and finds the courage to stand up to authority, religious and secular, and to fight social injustice. Thus sparking a movement. We also meet Shih Te, Shan’s young protégé, whose undying loyalty leads to the two being coined “The Laughing Pair.” They leave their poetry on tree trunks and rocks. The graphic novel allows the reader to follow this duo and their many fabled tales and the poems they inspired. It gives readers a more concise view of these brilliant philosophers.

Overall, an excellent graphic novel about these almost mythical figures which may have very well birthed modern philosophy. The story by Wilson and Seaton is smart, funny, and engaging. The art by Shimojima is sophisticated and virtuous. Altogether, it’s an elegant tome which pays tribute to the godfathers of “dharmic bliss”.

Story: Sean Michael Wilson Translation: J.P. Seaton Art: Akiko Shimojima
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Buffalo Speedway

Buffalo Speedway coverIn the biosphere of popular culture, the current range of visual artists capturing the attention of fans is pretty diverse. As the current climate has shown, geeks and everything geek related presently occupies most people’s “Reddit feeds.” It was not always like this, as there was a time before the internet when such things would looked at with ridicule. There was not one thing, movie, television show, book that changed it, it was the amalgamation of these things and the influencers behind them.

One of those influencers is Kevin Smith, whose films would portray those people who were enduring their quarterlifer crisis in a variety of ways. His debut film, Clerks, is still one of those movies that connected with people from that age group regardless of race and circumstance. It offered a raw uncut look into what it meant to be at a place in your life where you did not see yourself. In Yehudi Mercado’s Buffalo Speedway, we meet a group of characters much like those in Smith’s iconic film.

We meet Figgs, a pizza boy, who has worked for the same pizzeria, Turbo Pizza, for the last eight years, and though it seems he doesn’t have any ambition. In this world, pizza boys can become pizza men, where simple delivery drivers can become legends. This seemingly typical tale of underpaid daily workers is more like Mortal Combat meets Gone In 60 Seconds, as each driver has their own set of skills which makes extraordinary. Turbo Pizza and Pizzaurus are in constant battle to be the top pizzeria in town. Eventually Figgs and the rest of his cohorts get involved in Top Driver Race to boost the store’s sales where whoever delivers the most pizza gets the prize, a percentage of the bets.

Buffalo Speedway is a fun comic that’s both adventurous and epic. It feels like a movie lover’s dream. The story by Mercado is funny, engaging, and action packed. The art by Mercado is so detailed and vivid that it feels as though it could jump of the page. Altogether, it’s a rollercoaster of a comic that easily hooks readers with its easily likable characters, intertwining plots, and gorgeous art.

Story: Yehudi Mercado Art: Yehudi Mercado
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: Open Earth

Open Earth

Limerence Press
(W) Sarah Mirk
(A) Eva Cabrera
(C) Claudia Aguirre
(CA) Eva Cabrera and Claudia Aguirre
Age Rating: Adult
Genre: Erotica, Sci-Fi
Price: $19.99
Page Count: 120

Rigo is a young woman of her time: specifically, the time just after the collapse of Earth. After living her whole life on a small space station orbiting the planet, the cultural norms and rules of her Californian parents are just history to her. In between work shifts at the station air farm, Rigo explores her own desires, developing openly polyamorous relationships with her friends and crewmates. When she starts to feel one of those relationships change, however, Rigo must balance her new feelings with the stability of her other relationships, as well as the hard-earned camaraderie of a small crew floating in the vastness of space. But, as the ship motto goes, “Honesty keeps us alive.”

A heartfelt, positive, and erotic look at one woman’s adventure in love and sex, as a new generation learns to make their own rules and follow their own hearts.

Preview: Rex Royd


Writers: Frankie Boyle and Jim Muir
Artists: Mike Dowling and Budi Setiawan
Publisher: Titan Comics
Softcover, 112pp, $19.99, £16.99
On sale: September 18, 2018
ISBN: 9781785867248

Exciting, experimental and challenging – it’s controversial Scottish stand-up comedian Frankie Boyle’s first comics work. Join the crazy adventures of superscientist CEO Rex Royd!

From an interview with Frankie Boyle: “I wanted to try to do something that came from the heart. The state-of-the-art in comics always seemed a bit linear and it seems so unambitious. I wanted to do different sections from an overall story you didn’t see all of. I just f****** love comics and I’m keen to develop the whole thing in the least comic book way possible! Rex is complex, but you don’t necessarily need to follow everything. I’m not asking the reader to work as much as have an open mind.”

Each Rex Royd chapter takes us further into the vivid imagination of stand-up comedian and writer, Frankie Boyle – backed up by stunning, stylish art by Mike Dowling and Budi Setiawan. The action takes place at RexCorp, a corporation where violence is the day job. RexCorp is headed up by superscientist CEO Rex Royd, indestructible Alan Black, and Eve. How will they cope against the incalculable power of the extraterrestrial Proteoman? All this plus memory implants, drug-addicted schizophrenics, sex-travelling aliens, Thunder God suicides – and more.

Review: The Best of Don Winslow of the Navy

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got a collection of classic comic strips.

The Best of Don Winslow of the Navy is edited by Craig Yoe and published by Dead Reckoning and collects the classic comic strips by Frank V. Martinek.

Get your copy in comic shops and book stores today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFW or Dead Reckoning


Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Trench Dogs

Inspired from assorted first-hand accounts, this fictional story of World War I is a sweeping look across the war and the soldiers who experienced the horrors of the front lines and high seas. The nightmares of World War I and the fallout after are often overlooked, this book asks the reader to look again and remember the dead, to weigh their number against those that would choose war. Conceived as a long, continuous camera pan through the trenches and beyond, the reader is soon buried in mud, corpses, and ruin, emerging on the other side with blurred recollections of lost comrades and a nagging sense of pointless destruction.

Trench Dogs by Ian Densford is an ambitious graphic novel whose focus on visuals is both a strength and bigger weakness. Trench Dogs is an attempt to pull off a single tracking shot in comic form and while that’s achieved, the specifics of the story are a detriment to that concept.

Densford’s story wakes place in the nightmarish World War I with each nationality represented by a unique animal a concept we’ve seen before in the likes of Maus. But, this is war with scenes packed with individuals, so many it’s hard to keep track as to who to care about. There’s so much packed in, it’s hard to focus in on anything while taking in everything. The lack of dialogue too makes it difficult to focus in an who we’re supposed to care about as each sequence hands off to the next in a Tarantino like way.

The art is detailed and impressive. Densford’s talent there isn’t in question at all. But, while putting in so much detail, so much packed in on every panel and page, the art is a detriment to the story. It’s beautiful to look at but without enough visual clues as to the focus, it’s hard to connect with anything present. The horror becomes a panel the death just another image and detail.

This is an impressive attempt to do something different in the comics medium and in so many ways it succeeds. With a little bit of pulling back and more of a focus on a few stories that interconnect the overall package might have been stronger. Still, as far as a debut for a publisher, this is a hell of a start that shows Dead Reckoning is a publisher that is willing to try different things and Densford is a creator to keep your eye on.

Story: Ian Densford Art: Ian Densford
Story: 4.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Read

Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Petals

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the beautiful graphic novel Petals.

Petals is by Gustavo Borges and Cris Peter and published through BOOM! StudiosKaBOOM! imprint.

Get your copy in comic shops today and in book stores September 25th. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.



BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Preview: Marilyn’s Monsters

Marilyn’s Monsters

by Tommy Redolfi

Marilyn’s Monsters is the latest release from Life Drawn, Humanoids’ new literary imprint, which spotlights personal stories and provocative, political narratives.

Marilyn’s Monsters presents Marilyn Monroe’s dark journey like you’ve never seen it before. The famous Hollywood Hills. A strange, twisted forest filled with freaks and broken-down trailers. In this dark world, movie stars are born in the shadows. Determined to become the greatest one of all, shy Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe) comes to this ghost-town with hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, she’ll have to face all kinds of monsters to reach her ultimate goal. . .

Image Comics to publish Jesusfreak — an original graphic novel by Joe Casey and Benjamin Marra

Next spring, Image Comics presents Jesusfreak, an all-new, never-before-published and sure-to-be-controversial original graphic novel by writer Joe Casey and artist Benjamin Marra. Jesusfreak is a bloody, two-fisted tale of heroic historical fiction featuring a certain young Nazarean carpenter who is having some trouble finding his place within a world of ever-increasing violence. He knows he’s different… he just doesn’t know why. Image Comics will publish the original graphic novel as a 64-page, full-color hardcover retailing for $17.99 in comic book stores on March 20, 2019 and in bookstores on March 26, 2019.

An exclusive 16-page black-and-white ashcan preview of Jesusfreak, featuring a two-color cover, will be available for purchase for $1.00 at the Image Comics booth #1444 at New York Comic Con. Joe Casey and Benjamin Marra will attend the convention, which will be held at the Javits Center in New York City from Thursday, October 4th through Sunday, October 7.

Jesusfreak (ISBN: 978-1534311749) can be ordered on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, and Indigo.

Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill is Coming This October!

Eisner Award-winning author Katie O’Neill, creator of Princess Princess Ever After and The Tea Dragon Society, has a new all-ages original graphic novel, Aquicorn Cove, to be released by Oni Press on October 17, 2018.

When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a storm, the last thing she expects is to discover a colony of Aquicorns—magical seahorse-like residents of the coral reef. As she explores the damaged town and the fabled undersea palace, Lana learns that while she cannot always count on adults to be the guardians she needs, she herself is capable of finding the strength to protect both the ocean, and her own happiness.

Aquicorn Cove, a full color hardcover book, is written, illustrated, and colored by Katie O’Neill, with lettering by Crank!.  Oni Press previously donated money to the CORAL fund last month in support of the release of this title.

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