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Review: Spellbound Vol. 1

Each city has character. Most people seem to write about my hometown New York City. Los Angeles is also popular because of its steeped history and indelible character. The truth is every city ,town, and county has its own story and holds its own secrets. It makes you wonder what lies in those hidden streets, and dark corridors. Is it anything like Neil Gaiman’s masterwork, Neverwhere? In one of their first entries into the comics anthology world, the Boston Comics Roundtable has put Spellbound Volume One, a mystical exploration of Boston.

In “Wizards of the MBTA,” we meet a team of magicians who take care of fantastical nuisance but are on the city’s payroll. In “Snapper,” one man’s first day at work becomes the strangest in his life. In “The Secret,” one woman feels a need to escape and wishes away from her troubles, only to find her wishes come true in a not so subtle manner. In “Marcel On Ice,” a teacher and a student share funny conversation and a walk together. “Whereto Find Faeries in Boston,” explores the most common haunts where you find faerie kind congregating. In “Urban Fantasy,” one dishwashing liquid gets to dream about her best life.

Overall, the graphic novel is a diverse collection of stories that reflects the many shades and shapes that the city possesses. The stories by the creators are funny, enigmatic, and accessible. The art is both alluring and vivid. Altogether, it’s an excellent set that will have readers wanting to peak around their city for those mystical clues that makes their places magical.

Story: L.J. Baptiste, J.L. Bell, W.B. Clem, PatrickFlaherty, Mehitabel Glenhaber, Levon Gyulkhasyan, Paul Hanna, Youngjin Hur,Patrick Jordan, Anthony Lathrop, Dan Mazur, Greg Moutafis, John Quirk, Roho,Catalina Rufin, and Adam Tutkus
Art: L.J. Baptiste, J.L. Bell, W.B. Clem, Patrick Flaherty, Mehitabel Glenhaber, Levon Gyulkhasyan, Paul Hanna, Youngjin Hur, Patrick Jordan, Anthony Lathrop, Dan Mazur, Greg Moutafis, John Quirk, Roho, Catalina Rufin,
and Adam Tutkus
Edited by: Olivia Li, Heide Solbrig, Ben Doane,
and Jamie Koh
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Dark Lady: A Horrifying Anthology

dark-lady-coverOkay, just to get this out of the way, off the bat, or however else I can say it, Dark Lady: A Horrifying Anthology is typically not something I would ever have picked up and read, because I’m not the biggest fan of horror. For some reason though, something compelled me to pick the anthology up, and so last weekend I decided to read a couple of pages to check out Dark Lady‘s contents.

I finished it in one sitting.

Look, I may not be a horror fan but I do love comics, and this anthology has some truly great comics within it’s covers. Hellcat Press published it in black and white as a cost saving measure, but I think that with the nature of the stories within, adding colour would be more  likely to detract from the aesthetic of the book and the individual stories. The art work as a whole has a raw, almost brutal truth to it, that you can’t help but appreciate. There are some stories that feature art that’s a little more polished than others, but the variance of styles and polish only adds to the cohesive feeling of Dark Lady.

While there isn’t a weak link in terms of the stories within this collection, there are some stories here that are absolutely fantastic. Obviously the ones that stand above and beyond for me may not be the same ones that you’re going to love, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find something for you in here.

I was pleasantly surprised by the complete lack of gore for gore’s sake, too. Some of the best stories here were more on the psychological (or sociological) side of things. I don’t want to single any story out in particular, (but I will) however I couldn’t honestly write the review without praising Lindsay Moore‘s The Procedure. I’m not going to go into detail about the story, but it is a powerful piece of literature that deserves your attention. The five pages of the prescription alone are worth you picking up Dark Lady, but to say that this is by far and away the best story in the book wouldn’t exactly be true. Yes, it’s the one that stayed with me after I put the book down, but there are several that I enjoyedalmost as much as The Prescription that combine to make Dark Lady  one of the best anthologies I’ve read in a long time.

Even if you’re not a fan of horror comics, this is still an anthology that you really shouldn’t ignore.

 Stories contributed by Katie Cunningham, Mehitabel Glenhaber, Caroline Juang, Hanna-Pirita Lehkonen, Jennifer Lewis, Lindsay Moore, Lisa Pearson, Maria Photinakis, Casey O’Neill, Aya Rothwell, Kelly Smith, Grace Vibbert, Marie Vibbert
Edited by Lindsay Moore
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Hellcat Press provided Graphic Policy with a Free copy for review.

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