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Preview: Aquaman #63

Aquaman #63

(W) Jordan Clark (A) Marco Santucci
In Shops: Sep 22, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Now that Jackson Hyde has gained entry to Xebel, he must confront a wave of invasion-from the Trench! As Jackson fights for his life, the stakes only get higher, as Black Manta promised to target Jackson’s mother if he does not return in time. With the clock ticking and his life on the line, Jackson must make a choice: obey his father or suffer the wrath of Black Manta! And let’s not forget, there’s a wedding in Atlantis, where Mera is ready to drop the biggest news in the Seven Kingdoms. This special two-part story concludes here!

Aquaman #63

Preview: Aquaman #62

Aquaman #62

Written by: Jordan Clark
Art by: Marco Santucci

In order to save baby Andy, Jackson Hyde made a deal with the devil-his father, Black Manta! Now Jackson must find a way into Xebel while everyone celebrates Mera’s surprise nuptials. What he finds there, however, will be darker and deadlier than he ever imagined. Welcome writer Jordan Clark (Bitch Planet Triple Feature) for the start of this two-part adventure!

Aquaman #62

Review: Obeah

Obeah

When it comes to the fantasy and horror genre both fiction types tend to be overwhelmingly monochromatic. Some of my favorite books by some of my favorite authors that write fantasy and horror tend to marginalize people that look like me. Normally when they include people of color they’re the best friend or the villain, never the protagonist. When Netflix had the opportunity to do something revolutionary and make Sabrina The Teenage Witch someone of color they chose the same safe docile excuse that has always been used “They have it done it this way all the time.”

Witches who aren’t melanin deficient have been written about for centuries. The fact that this history was not explored in such a wide medium is deplorable. One of the first witches in North America, written in the fictional account I Tituba: Black Witch Of Salem by Maryse Conde, is one of the first purveyors of Black Magic in the colonies. That presence was underwhelmingly highlighted in the show Salem. As a son of a West Indian, I’ve heard about these women who can heal any ailment and can make any trouble go away all my life, and go by a certain name. In Jordan Clark’s monumental Obeah, one runaway slave meets one such group of women who may save her life.

We’re taken to 1691 where meet Ade, a runaway slave who has escaped to Salem, Massachusetts, and who has come down with an enigmatic malady, one that no one knows how to cure. This causes distress amongst the family who saved her. They found her tired and hungry with her daughter. As her sickness takes holder of her she starts having fever dreams. It connects to a world in a nocturnal state presided over by a coven of witches.

Overall, an invigorating take on the supernatural witch genre. It’s one which will get under your skin while remembering everything has an origin most don’t know of. The story by Clark is stimulating, smart and eerie. The art by Clark is sophisticated and sharply drawn. Altogether, this is exactly what creepy stories are made of.

Story: Jordan Clark Art: Jordan Clark
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Still Not Equal

Still Not Equal

James Baldwin once said “To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” What he is talking about in that very moment is to realize exactly what the world has done to black people as a whole and not knowing exactly how to react to this truth.

It becomes even more exacerbated when you see these prejudices exist in foreign countries you visit. Each culture has their own preconceived notions about another culture or race. I witnessed this the first time I went to France when I was in the military. The locals saw me and my friends as both Americans and people of color. At that particular place and time, neither helped our stay in their country. A few places refused us service. We got nasty looks from some old women. In that instance we knew no one wanted us there. This is also what Baldwin was talking about in the above quote. He found out, like we did, that no matter how far we progressed in the world, we were not equal. In Jordan Clark and Nicole Miles‘ brilliant Still Not Equal, the pair brings to life one of Baldwin’s most powerful accounts about being in Black in the world.

It’s December 1948. Baldwin has just moved to Paris into a depressing apartment as he needed space to write. Eventually, it becomes claustrophobic. He ventures out and finds the open-air cafes to be more of a fit. There he meets another American who gave him a glimmer of hope that everything will be okay. Everything changes when his new friend gets questioned by the police. From there, it’s an exploration of the French legal system and exploration of being Black and American within.

Overall, a commanding and sobering depiction of the atrocity that Baldwin faced 69 years ago that is depressingly still relevant. The story as interpreted by Clark is impactful, sensitive, and concise. The art by Miles paints these characters with heart and humanity. Altogether, an excellent interpretation of one of Baldwin’s demonstration of how the world doesn’t see us all as equal.

Story: Jordan Clark Art: Nicole Miles
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Take a Trip to Elk Mountain with a New Kickstarter Exploring Superheroes and the Communities they Defend

Elk Mountain explores the relationship between heroes and the communities they defend. What are the realistic expectations of these heroes? Can we expect them to be everywhere and save everyone? Is it smart to put so much faith in one individual, no matter how powerful they are?

And what are the responsibilities of a community to it’s hero? How much is it on them to be accountable for what goes on where they live?

Elk Mountain also looks at how the current climate of fear can break apart a community in an instant. Fear of the other can turn long time neighbors against each other, and it’s happening right now with immigrants and non-immigrants. People who have lived and worked here peacefully for years are being forcibly removed from their homes and jobs.

A Kickstarter campaign is running now with a goal of $9,000. Money from the Kickstarter is going to paying the creative team as well as printing the books, rewards, and shipping. Rewards include not just the comic but also tutorials from the team, enamel pins, and your chance to be drawn in the comic.

The comic series is written by Jordan Clark whose work has appeared in Bitch Planet Triple Feature #2 as well as his own published work Duality and Kane Maverick. Art is provided by Vince Underwood who is the writer/artist for the self published Page Turn and has provided covers for Clark’s Hive Mind and Kane Maverick. Brittany Peer is the colorist who has worked on such series as Misfit City, Slam, Dodge City, TMNTU, Jem & The Holograms. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou has lettered for books like Short Order Cooks and Stain the Seas Scarlet. He’s also doing letters for the upcoming Image book Shanghai Red.

You can get a digital copy for just $3 and the campaign runs until June 11th.

Bitch Planet: Triple Feature Vol. 1 Arrives in December

A dizzyingly talented roster of noncompliant creators, joining forces with series creators Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, will release the first trade paperback collection of Bitch Planet: Triple Feature this December.

Ripped directly from the world of Bitch Planet, a crack team of creators spin 15 teeth-clenching tales of rage, revolution, and ridicule. Patriarchy beware…this sci-fi kidney punch can’t be stopped!

Within the pages of Bitch Planet: Triple Feature Vol. 1, readers can enjoy the writing talents of: Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Andrew Aydin, Conley Lyons, Che Grayson, Danielle Henderson, Jordan Clark, Alissa Sallah, Dylan Meconis, Kit Cox, Marc Deschamps, Sara Woolley, Vita Ayala, Bassey Nyambi, Alobi, Nyambi Nyambi, Jon Tsuei, and Matt Fraction, and delight in the artistic stylings of Dylan Meconis, Sara Woolley, Maria Fröhlich, Joanna Estep, Craig Yeung, Sharon Lee De La Cruz, Ted Brandt, Ro Stein, Naomi Franquiz, Alec Valerius, Vanesa R. Del Rey, Mindy Lee, Rossi Gifford, Chris Visions, Saskia Gutekunst, and Elsa Charretier.

Bitch Planet: Triple Feature Vol. 1 (Diamond code: OCT170620, ISBN: 978-1-5343-0529-8) hits comic book stores Wednesday, December 13th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, November 6th.

Kickstarter Spotlight: Kane Maverick

While we’re no longer picking crowd funding projects to spotlight on our site, we’re allowing project creators to make their case on our platform. We remind individuals, we don’t endorse any of these projects, and that by supporting any crowd funding project, you’re taking any risks associated with doing so. – the Management

KM_Cover-page-001Writer and creator, Jordan Clark discusses his new Kickstarter project, Kane Maverick. If the below interests you, consider chipping in to help fund it.

What’s in a name?

Kane Maverick! The name just screams masculinity, adventure, and something just a bit ridiculous. The adventures of Kane Maverick the man, and Kane Maverick the series have a lot of ties to the pulp adventures of the 40’s and 50’s as well as the idea of the dashing male hero and the more far out comics of the 60’s and 70’s, specifically The Fantastic Four and The Flash.

he first issue finds Kane Maverick and his team, The 5 Mavericks, going into battle once again with Kane’s arch nemesis, Doctor Whiro. The battle leads them back to the Doctors evil lair, where Kane and Whiro get sucked through a portal and into our dimension. Kane then encounters Ana Tom, an Oakland resident in her early twenties, trying her best to live a nice quiet life. Worlds collide, hijinks ensue, adventure awaits!

But going back to the ideas brought up at the start, Kane Maverick is more than meets the eye. I find that comics are a great place to explore ideas and questions we face in our own lives, and put them through a blender of color, impossible places/people, and a special kind of drama that can make us take men who wear their underwear on the outside seriously. It’s fantasy for sure, but the best comics turn a kind of fun house mirror back at our own world to show us a possible future that awaits us if we’re not careful, or a kind of truth that you can only learn on a cross-dimensional adventure with a talking giraffe.

For example, the idea of the hyper masculine male, which sprang into comics from the strongmen of the circus, is still pervasive almost 75 years after Superman and Batman made their first appearances. The pulp comics especially presented a sort of ideal rugged man who was totally self-sufficient. A one man army who had the brains to match his brawn. They were impossibly handsome and muscular and especially back in those days mostly white. Now I myself am neither impossibly handsome, not particularly muscular, and not white, yet I still see myself in these characters? Why is that?

It probably has something to do with the one thing everyone, no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or whatever other labels you want to throw out can relate to, and that’s the desire to live free. To be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and not have to ask questions or permission. To be able to travel the world at a moment’s notice, to explore and see places you could only imagine in your wildest dreams. We all long to shake off the drudgery of everyday life and become self-activated and do what makes us happy, but for most of us it’s not that simple, but fantasy allows us to live vicariously through characters like Doc Savage and Indiana Jones.

And that’s the beauty of those pulp adventures. They were fun, thrilling, dramatic, but also a bit campy and tongue in cheek. There’s a darkness that’s been creeping into every corner of the world of fantasy lately. Companies have been throwing around buzz words like “grounded” or “gritty” or “realistic,” which are supposed to somehow mean better or more credible. There seems to be an idea that no self-respecting adult could enjoy something silly or colorful that winks at itself and you, grinning from ear to ear. Yet there’s something endearing about those comics from the ‘60s and ‘70s that seems to be missing from today’s comics.

I’m not saying there’s no more fun comics out there, Hawkeye by Matt Fraction, Superior Foes of Spider-Man by Nick Spencer, Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, are just a few delightfully weird and quirky books. But the key word there is few. For every book with heart and levity, there’s at least ten about raging anti-heroes, filled with mindless violence and sex, characters that are hard to like, and everything is super serious all the time. I’m not putting down those books, heck I buy a lot of those books each month, but at certain point there needs to be some kind of balance.

Kane Maverick sets out to challenge a lot of those comic book tropes, with a big goofy grin on its face. What happens when a man of action and adventure faces problems he can’t just punch and blast his way out of? What happens when a villain has more time to do things than just be evil? Kane Maverick comes from a non-linear dimension, so everything is all action all the time. But in our world he has to live moment to moment, which means creating his own adventures. And that’s one of the real lessons of Kane Maverick, to live life like your own personal adventure, because it’s short, but if you live it right, it’s more than enough.

I’m not going to lie and say that Kane Maverick is the most important comic of our generation or that it will change your life forever. But I will say that it’s important and special to me. I probably won’t make any money from this, and frankly I don’t care. All I want to do is make comics, whether I’m getting paid a million dollars for it or it or making them out of my own pocket. Crowdfunding is a great way to bring things to life that otherwise would never get made. Comics especially, since comics are really all about community, bringing so many different kinds of people together in their shared love of colorful 2-D worlds. What fun would Batman and Superman be if you couldn’t argue about who would beat up who? How many awkward kids read have read or made a zine and felt like they found their place in the world? So whether it’s a little or a lot, I hope you decide to help us bring Kane Maverick to life and in turn I hope we can bring a little more fun back to comics.

Check out some art below, and you can find out more on their Tumblr site or Facebook.