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Karmen #1

It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d you all get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below! While your day gets going, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Forbes – Comic Con-Solidation: Fan Expo HQ Adds Huge Denver Show To Its Portfolio – Expect a lot of convention shake ups over the next few years.

Kotaku – Marvel’s Avengers Will (Finally) Allow You To Replay The Campaign – Who’s taking advantage? Anyone still playing?

Polygon – The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are getting a new retro beat-’em-up – Yes!

Reviews

Collected Editions – Catwoman Vol. 4: Come Home, Alley Cat
CBR – Karmen #1
The Beat – Let’s Talk About It
Talking Comics – Nocterra #1
The Beat – Proctor Valley Road #1

Review: Karmen #1

Karmen #1

Karmen #1 is one weird comic. It’s an English translation of Spanish cartoonist Guillem March’s (Catwoman, Batman) book about a young woman named Cata, who in the middle of a suicide attempt, meets a ghost named Karmen, and she ends up walking around the city completely naked while Karmen makes dirty jokes about sex and farting. It starts out utterly highbrow, yet wordy with philosophical captions about dreams, and then a couple of pages later, it cuts to a woman behaving like the stereotype of a shrew to her offscreen boyfriend. Her name is Vanessa, and she is inconsequential to the plot even though her boyfriend Xisco is close with Cata. We also don’t see her face or its expressions during the phone call just her butt in some tight jeans. The page is a metaphor for Karmen as a comic. It could be smart, poignant about sadness, hope, and above all, mortality, but it gets undercut by March’s love for cheesecake and dirty jokes that don’t serve the story. However, Karmen saying whatever the hell comes to her mind is good for a few laughs throughout the story especially as she roasts Cata’s lack of knowledge of American pop culture.

The constant nudity of Cata and utter horniness of Karmen’s dialogue plus the aforementioned ass shots make sense for Guillem March, who began his career as an erotic cartoonist and was also the artist on the launch of the New 52 version of Catwoman. Like Adam Hughes or Frank Cho, he likes drawing attractive women, and of course, he’s going to do that in his creator-owned work. Cata’s nudity even is plot-relevant as she is trying to commit suicide by drawing a bath and cutting herself with razors as we see in a powerful full-page spread that shows Cata watching herself be surrounded by a full tub of blood. It’s implied that she is a ghost, and Karmen is her feisty, skeleton onesie-rocking guide to the afterlife and will train her in all things spectral. As mentioned earlier, Karmen does spend most of her time making dirty jokes, but she also has great abilities and can see the arc of Cata’s life like film on a reel in yet another beautiful series of panels from March.

Although his writing is clunky at times like the pages that are just philosophizing, exposition about the ghost life, and call-outs to Karmen‘s obvious pop culture predecessors, Guillem March really is a strong storyteller even though his comic doesn’t have as much as substance as it would like to have. All his panels have a sense of place, and he uses cut-away panels to show Kata sneaking out of her apartment so her housemate won’t see her naked, or worst of all, see Karmen. Of course, there’s no problem of that because they’re both ghosts. However, the fear of being discovered naked in public is the key tension for the second half of the comic. This is the part of the story where March’s experience in superhero comics comes in handy as he uses a rapid series of panels to show Karmen quickly dropping from branch to branch. Also, when Kata flies for the first time in the climax of issue one, he shows that she’s a natural by having him swim through the air. There’s a real grace to her movements compared to the sudden stop start of the panels where she is cutting herself, and Karmen arrives in a truly jarring moment.

Karmen #1 demonstrates that Guillem March is a technically skilled artist with an eye for page and character design, but is a below-average artist that can go from Philosophy 101 mumbo jumbo to utter filth in the space of a couple of pages. Karmen #1 is a low-key fantasy story like Ghost or It’s A Wonderful Life, which is cute, but I didn’t connect to the protagonist at all and felt like I knew more about her body than her personality or why she was in the bathtub that night.

Story: Guillem March Art: Guillem March
Story: 5.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Proctor Valley Road #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Batman: Urban Legends #1 (DC Comics) – An anthology featuring top talent taking on the world of Batman? Yeah, we’re in for this one.

Blade Runner Origins #1 (Titan Comics) – Discover the origin of the Blade Runners in this brand-new series!

Blue, Barry, & Pancakes (First Second) – A cute graphic novel geared towards young readers with lessons about friendship and listening.

Children of the Atom #1 (Marvel) – This series has been a long-time coming. The covers and art has hinted at a group that has a lot of inspiration from classic X-Men characters but what’s their deal? It’s not what we expected and a solid mystery.

Eternals #3 (Marvel) – The characters are coming to the big screen and this series is clearly an attempt to re-introduce them to the Marvel comic universe. So far, it’s been an interesting start though a little scattered in focus. The art has stood out as amazing though.

The Joker #1 (DC Comics) – We’ll admit, we were a bit skeptical about this one when announced but the first issue is a solid setup that has us excited for more.

Karmen #1 (Image Comics) – Guillem March’s series comes to Image as five single issues.

Maiden #1 (Heavy Metal) – A tale of revenge from Heavy Metal featuring Michelle Sears and Bart Sears!

Maniac of New York #2 (AfterShock) – The first issue knocked it out of the park. A film-like serial killer exists and terrorizes New York City. This is the story of the two cops looking to bring it down.

Mighty Morphin #5 (BOOM! Studios) – The origin of the new Green Ranger!

Minerva’s Map Key to a Perfect Apocalypse #1 (Lev Gleason – New Friday) – Don’t know much about this beyond the description. Minerva has been hired to locate two ancient, otherworldly items. Kind of has an Indiana Jones vibe about it.

Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) – A new Spider-Man comic? Sure, we’re interested in seeing what makes it different.

Nottingham #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – A new take on the classic story of Robin Hood. Read our review.

Proctor Valley Road #1 (BOOM! Studios) – During a “Spook Tour”, students goes missing and a rescue for them begins.

Scout’s Honor #3 (AfterShock) – The series so far has been an interesting spin on an apocalyptic world with some solid underlying themes. We want to see where it all goes.

Serial #2 (Abstract Studios) – Zoe is on the hunt for a serial killer hiding in plain sight in her community. The first issue threw out a lot of concepts, this second issue begins to bring them together.

Sh*tshow #2 (Scout Comics) – A big bad destroyed almost all of the world’s superheroes and now it’s back to snuff out the rest. Can those traumatized about the first battle stand against this world threat?

Space Bastards #3 (Humanoids) – The series is full of over-the-top violence and humor and each issue has left a smile on our face.

Specter Inspectors #2 (BOOM! Studios) – We expected the first issue to be a spoof of ghosthunting shows but the debut delivered something different and very entertaining.

Thor and Loki: Double Trouble #1 (Marvel) – Mariko Tamaki and Gurihiru are back together for another fun adventure!

Karmen Gets a Cover from Milo Manara

The highly anticipated U.S. edition of Karmen by bestselling writer and artist Guillem March will showcase a dreamy variant cover by lauded artist Milo Manara. Originally published by Dupuis in Belgium as a graphic novel, Karmen will be reproduced and introduced to U.S. audiences in single-issue periodical format this March from Image Comics.

Karmen is a provocative story that explores grief, suicide, and redemption told as a visual feast-for-the-eyes and featuring ethereal, fantastic artwork to set the tone.

Punctuated with humor, Karmen is the story of Catalina, a recent suicide, who is taken under the wing of the strange and quirky angel, Karmen, on a journey of discovery and reflection. 

Catalina’s story is one packed with surprises and metaphysics, tenderness and humor, and dives deep into the topics that matter and brought to life by the creator behind the acclaimed Monika (Titan Comics) and The Dream (Europe Comics).

Karmen #1 cover A by March (Diamond Code JAN210009), cover B by Manara (Diamond Code JAN210010), and Cover C blank (Diamond Code JAN210011) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, March 10.

Karmen Milo Manara variant

Guillem March’s Karmen is out in March 2021 from Image Comics

Image Comics will bring the unique, lushly illustrated fantasy Karmen by bestselling writer and artist Guillem March stateside this March. Originally published by Dupuis in Belgium as a graphic novel, Karmen will be translated and introduced to U.S. audiences in single-issue periodical format, with five issues.

Karmen is a provocative story that explores grief, suicide, and redemption told as a visual feast-for-the-eyes and featuring ethereal, fantastic artwork to set the tone.

Punctuated with humor, Karmen is the story of Catalina, a recent suicide, who is taken under the wing of the strange and quirky angel, Karmen, on a journey of discovery and reflection.

Catalina’s story is packed with surprises and metaphysics, tenderness and humor. It dives deep into the topics that matter and is brought beautifully to life by the creator behind the acclaimed Monika (Titan Comics) and The Dream (Europe Comics).

Karmen #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, March 10.

Karmen #1

Around the Tubes

Love on the Other Side

It was a semi-quiet Monday with everyone focused on San Diego Comic-Con’s virtual debut later this week! While you wait for that in a few days, here’s some comic news from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: What do heroes do when they can’t get work? Become a VILLAIN – Free comics!

ICv2 – IDW Media Holdings Sells Division – Interesting and not too surprising they’re selling off bits.

Reviews

The Beat – Karmen
The Beat – Love on the Other Side