Tag Archives: mario candelaria

Red Stylo’s Cosmic Love Inspired by Florence + the Machine is Live on Kickstarter

Red Stylo Media‘s all about love this February with Cosmic Love, an anthology inspired by Florence + the Machine.

Contributors were challenged to create original comic stories and vignettes inspired by songs from Florence + the Machine. The result is a collection of original stories celebrating love in all of its glorious forms.

The book features stories and art by:

  • Rachel Perciphone
  • Jennie Wood + Josh Segal
  • Vita Ayala + Kat Taylor
  • Seth Greenwood + Angela Zhang
  • Enrica Jang + Y. Sanders + Jan Velazquez + Mark Mullaney
  • Mario Candelaria + Adam Ferris + Lesley Atlansky + Scott Ewan
  • Zack Rocklin-Waltch + Taren Beatrice

The Kickstarter campaign runs until March 1, 2019.

Review: Baroque Pop Anthology

Baroque Pop is a carefully curated set of comic book stories and portraits from writer/editor Mario Candelaria, who assembles a lineup of talented writers, artists, and colorists to spin stories of death, love, and heartbreak inspired by the songs of lounge pop/sadcore singer Lana Del Rey. It’s part worship session, part extended meditation (Especially some of the portraits), and finally yet another piece of the connection between music and comics as Lana’s music is transposed to a variety of settings from a posthumanist lead off comic from Eric Palicki (No Angel), Daniel Earls, and Scott Ewen to a rock’n’roll suicide epilogue from Jennie Wood (Flutter) and Chris Goodwin. It could also act as a rich introduction to the world of comics for fans of pop music with each story acting as a kind of flesh and blood “fan video” for a Lana Del Rey song, with many tracks selected from her latest album Honeymoon.

Palicki, Earls and Ewen’s “Body Electric” is an interesting choice to kick off Baroque Pop. It’s more of a Warren Ellis-esque transhumanism slice of life than an ode to Walt Whitman or Americana as it follows the life of a woman, who keeps replacing parts of her body with mechanical limbs despite people around her judging her. “Body Electric” firmly has an eye on a kind of utopian future where people don’t care if we decide to have cybernetic limbs to get around easier or even transplant our heads. Daniel Earls’ art is bold and blocky just like Eric Palicki’s choice to tell a futuristic story influenced by the music of Lana Del Rey, who is so steeped in the sounds, ideas, and fashion of the past that she would have been a better choice for Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby than Carey Mulligan.

God and Jesus are important figures in Lana Del Rey’s song so it’s fitting that Michael Lynch and Mira Mortal did “God Knows I Try” from the POV of the archangel Michael, who is tired of his charges failing on his watch even though the story may be a little hard to follow in the early going for non-former/current churchgoing folks. Mortal’s art and colors reminded me of Renaissance era ecclestiastical art, but with a focus on ordinary people instead of wealthy Italian or Flemish aristocrats. Lynch’s plot is super emotional as the angel Michael is willing to throw away a life of immortal bliss to save the soul of young woman, whose boyfriend has made her rob a convenience store for money. There are long passages of beauty and pain interspersed by staccato bursts of violence, which could also describe Lana Del Rey’s dark pop discography. For every sweet kiss, there is the corpse of a violent, problematic man or a young girl getting dragged off to boarding school. (See “This is What Makes Us Girls” or “High by the Beach”)

Enrica Jang and Jan Velazquez’s “That Medicine I Need” is haunting portrait of a ride or die female rockstar living large and then dying of cancer with the leather jacket wearing ghost of Jim Morrison watching her as she withers away. So, the medicine in the title isn’t something glamorous, like coke or ecstasy, but chemo drugs. Velazquez can do glam though with the early pages showing a gorgeous singer at her peak living the high life with a MTV-rapid progression of images that turn slow and labored as she gets sicker and sick before evaporating into red, black, and shadow. It’s a bittersweet tale, and there isn’t a lot of dialogue from Enrica Jang, but she nails the story’s triumphant tone in the midst of darkness with the line “I’m not sorry I lived. I loved every fucking minute.” Stories like this are why The Wicked + the Divine is an amazing comic, and Holy Bible by the Manic Street Preachers is an amazing album. (RIP Richey Edwards.)

A word that critics like to use Lana Del Rey’s music is “noir pop”, and Dan Charles, Ashley St Lawrence, and Scott Ewen introduce Baroque Pop‘s first femme fatale in the retro stylings of “Summer Sadness”. This story feels like a forgotten cut from Del Rey’s Ultraviolence album with St. Lawrence reveling in gunplay and explosions before slowing into linger in a twist ending. It’s about a man with a secret and a car on the run like the third act of a 1960s spy movie. But it’s all thriller and no filler with Charles giving us just enough connective tissue before getting to the next setpiece. Red is a color that gets mentioned a lot in Lana Del Rey’s music, and it’s present in the palette of ST Lawrence and Ewen’s art in a variety of forms from a dress to a car and even a soda bottle. And, of course, this story has a bloody, glorious end like a shot of pure adrenaline or a sugar high.

Death is more of a pink color in Mario Candelaria and Kasia Witerscheim’s “Cacciatore”, a short story about a beautiful woman’s final days based on the Lana Del Rey song “Salvatore”. A man has caught his girlfriend with another man and is about to execute her, but lets her have one last bite of ice cream while wearing a soft, pink dress. Candelaria’s writing voice is similar to the verbal asides in Lana Del Rey’s songs and music videos and heavy on allusion to the pop culture and music of the past, including Billie Holiday. It’s a lean, tragic narrative and one of the highlights in the anthology

And what anthology wouldn’t be complete without a little experimentation. Chuck Harrison and Luke Marrone adapt T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, which are seminal poems about potential and what could have been through the lens of “Burnt Norton”, an interlude track from Lana Del Rey’s latest album. The comic is hand lettered and done on a canvas type background with a rougher art style from Marrone and a looser narrative than the others in the anthology. It’s a moment of poetry sandwiched between more traditional narratives.

The final story in Baroque Pop is one of its most ambitious, and Jennie Wood and Chris Goodwin’s tale of a rock star mom committing suicide and watching her husband try to honor her legacy in a world where women are the privileged gender could easily spawn a mini or ongoing series. (A throwaway line about “the first male president” could lead to so many storytelling possibilities.) Goodwin’s art captures the rockstar highs, but also a rough kind of sadness as the main character’s husband is framed for using heroin around their baby leading to negative media pressure and her eventually death. “Religion” captures the highs and power of music, but also its destructive power just like the songs of Lana Del Rey.

My final note is that the portraits that mark breaks between stories should definitely be used by Lana Del Rey herself on posters or merchandise. They capture her beauty and sadness just like the various stories in Baroque Pop. If you like your pop music darker and a little more retro, then the songs of Lana Del Rey and the Baroque Pop anthology are definitely for you.

Story: Eric Palicki, Michael Lynch, Enrica Jang, Dan Charles, Mario Candelaria, Chuck Harrison, Jennie Wood Art: Daniel Earls, Scott Ewen, Mira Mortal, Adam Ferris, Lesley Atlansky, Jan Velazquez, Ashley St Lawrence, Jim Towe, Kasia Witerscheim, Hoyt Silva, Luke Marrone, Chris Goodwin, John Keaveney
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.7 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

Preview: Corktown #2

CORKTOWN #2

(W) Mario Candelaria
(A) Scott Ewen
(L) Zakk Saam
$2.99, 24 pgs, BW, Mature Readers, Crime/Supernatural Horror/Thriller
Digital Comic

Corktown Part Two! After last issue’s shocking conclusion, many secrets will be revealed when we join Torrie on a look back at the night in which she died. But as she reflects on the past, her reanimated body continues to terrorize Detroit in the present.

The worst is far from over after a Detroit detective falls victim to a vampire’s bite. With her soul trapped in limbo and her reanimated corpse wreaking havoc, Torrie must find a way to help her partners stop the carnage before more lives are taken. Detroit artist Scott Ewen infuses a stark and eerie noir look, bringing Corktown to vivid life. Writer Mario Candelaria fuses a mix of the paranormal with the procedural as he redefines what it means to be both a vampire AND a ghost.

cover

Preview: Corktown #1

CORKTOWN #1

(W) Mario Candelaria
(A) Scott Ewen
(L) Zakk Saam
$2.99,  24 pgs, BW, Mature Readers
Digital Comic Book

The worst is far from over after a Detroit detective falls victim to a vampire’s bite. With her soul trapped in limbo and her reanimated corpse wreaking havoc, Torrie must find a way to help her partners stop the carnage before more lives are taken.

Detroit artist Scott Ewen infuses a stark and eerie noir look, bringing Corktown to vivid life. Writer Mario Candelaria fuses a mix of the paranormal with the procedural as he redefines what it means to be both a vampire AND a ghost.

cover

Preview: The 27 Club: A Comic Anthology

THE 27 CLUB: A COMIC ANTHOLOGY

Writer(s): edited by Enrica Jang
Artist Name(s):  57 contributors, Introduction by Dianna Kenny
Mario Candelaria, Alex Cormack, Chuck Harrison, Shaun Manning , Ryan Schrodt, Erica Schultz, Jennie Wood, Jeremy Whitley
Cover Artist(s): Mark Mullaney
250 pages/ Mature Readers/ FC
$39.99

Stars burn bright and then go out forever, but their light shines on for ages after. Members of the “27 Club” reached musical stardom before dying at 27, including Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse. This collection of original comic stories pays tribute to these lost stars and their tragic legacy.

27Club_Cover-01 (1)

Review: Ashes: A Firefighter’s Tale

ASHESMatt always had an easygoing life. Girls liked him, his friends were more like family, and being a firefighter came naturally. Then the accident happened. Now, after the loss of his leg, Matt struggles to cope with his new handicap as he attempts to rebuild his shattered family and once budding career.

Written by Mario Candelaria with art by Karl Slominski, Ashes: A Firefighter’s Tale is a Kickstarter success (one which I backed) and has been released by Z2 Comics this week. The story focuses on a firefighter who after an accident has to persevere.

The comic has a lot of potential, and is not a bad read as an independent/small press Kickstarted graphic novel. But, for me the small issues added up.

The story is good, and touching at times. I’m not a firefighter (and don’t know any) so I can’t say how close to reality Candelaria’s story is to reality. I will say he touches a lot on a bunch in the graphic novel moving from a person dealing with a tragic on the job accident to the fallout in his personal and professional life. The story weaves through that in a nice way that feels real, which is great.

It’s the small details beyond the story that bothered me. The art is ok, but at times the character design is a bit rough and inconsistent. What really drew me nuts is lettering (and some dialogue) issues that haven’t been corrected in the time this was released to backers and now. There’s enough, and they’re noticeable enough, that it took me out of it at times.

Ashes though is a good read and if you enjoy a more family focused Backdraft, you’ll dig this graphic novel. It’s a bit rough at times, but a satisfying read, and a comic I was happy to back through Kickstarter to make sure it got made.

Story: Mario Candelaria Art: Karl Slominski
Story: 7.15 Art: 6.9 Overall: 7.1 Recommendation: Read

Z2 Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Exclusive Preview: Ashes: A Firefighter’s Tale

ASHES: A FIREFIGHTER’S TALE

Written by: Mario Candelaria
Art by: Karl Slominski
Release: November 7th
Z2 Comics

ASHES: A FIREFIGHTER’S TALE takes readers along for the ride with New York firefighter. Matt always had an easygoing life. Girls liked him, his friends were like family and being a firefighter came naturally. But his life changed in an instant when he lost his leg trying to save the last person trapped in a burning building. A riveting tale about perseverance, hard work, and overcoming the odds, ASHES is a gripping tale told in evocative black and white.

Check out the exclusive preview below.

Supernatural Crime Thriller – Corktown – is coming to Alterna Comics in Spring 2016

Alterna is proud to announce the upcoming release of Corktown, a brand new three issue horror series coming in the spring of 2016 from Mario Candelaria, Scott Ewen, and David Ganjamie.

Set in the Corktown area of Detroit, Michigan, Corktown follows the disembodied spirit of a fallen Detroit P.D. detective as she fights to stop her bloodthirsty reanimated corpse’s killing spree so she can finally rest in peace.

A fresh take on ghosts and vampires, Corktown is a part of Alterna’s 10th Anniversary celebration kicking off in 2016. Look out for more announcements in the coming months.

Corktown

Z2 Comics Announces Fall Graphic Novels including Ashes, Pawn Shop, The Abaddon, and Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland

ASHESZ2 Comics announced today their fall 2015 graphic novel slate, including a reprint of one of Harvey Pekar’s final graphic novels and three graphic novels. The biggest surprise of the bunch is a new printing of Pekar’s Cleveland, one of his last graphic novels, and a love letter to his home town. It was originally published by Top Shelf in April 2012.

Check out below for the full slate of graphic novels being released.

Ashes: A Firefighter’s Tale written by Mario Candelaria with art by Karl Slominski.

(September 22, 2015; $19.99; 120 pages; black and white)

Matt always had an easygoing life. Girls liked him, his friends were more like family, and being a firefighter came naturally. Then the accident happened. Now, after the loss of his leg, Matt struggles to cope with his new handicap as he attempts to rebuild his shattered family and once budding career. A riveting tale about perseverance, hard work, and overcoming the odds, Ashes is a gripping tale told in stunning black and white.

PAWN SHOPPawn Shop written by Joey Esposito with art by Sean Von Gorman

(September 22, 2015; $19.99; 120 pages; full color)

A widower. A nurse. A punk. A Long Island Railroad employee. New York City is an ecosystem where everybody is connected, if only by the streets they walk on. This original graphic novel is the story of four people, in a city of eight million, whose lives unknowingly intersect through a Manhattan pawn shop.

Written by Joey Esposito (Footprints) and illustrated with a gorgeous mixture of watercolor and digital elements by Sean Von Gorman (Toe Tag Riot), Pawn Shop explores the big things that separate us and the little moments that inexplicably unite us.

The Abaddon written and illustrated by Koren Shadmi

(November 10, 2015; $24.99; 240 pages; full color)

cover_updatedLoosely based on Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit, The Abaddon is the story of a young man who finds himself trapped in a bizarre apartment with a group of ill-matched roommates. He discovers that his new home doesn’t adhere to any rational laws of nature and comes to realize that everyone living in the apartment is missing crucial parts of their memories and identities.

Cleveland by Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnant

(November DATE TK; Price TK; 128; black and white)

A lifelong resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Harvey Pekar (1939-2010) pioneered autobiographical comics, mining the mundane for magic since 1976 in his critically acclaimed series American Splendor. Legendary comic book writer Harvey Pekar’s collaboration with artist Joseph Remnant, titled Cleveland, was originally published by Top Shelf Shelf Comics and Zip Comics in 2012 and includes an introduction by Alan Moore. The book presents key moments and characters from the city’s history, intertwined with Harvey’s own ups and downs, as relayed to us by Our Man and meticulously researched and rendered by artist Joseph Remnant. At once a history of Cleveland and a portrait of Harvey, it’s a tribute to the ordinary greatness of both.