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Early Review: One Soul Tenth Anniversary Edition

One Soul

Can you believe it’s been ten years since One Soul was originally published? Fans of the graphic novel or Ray Fawkes’ work probably said something along the lines of, “My gosh, it’s really been ten years?” Then there are people like me who completely missed it the first time around. Lucky for us, Oni Press is releasing a commemorative edition on February 24th. In One Soul, Fawkes uses an experimental narrative structure to explore the lives of eighteen individuals. These people are spread out across different periods of time but their stories play out simultaneously.

One Soul grabs the reader’s attention from the very first page. It begins with two pages of nine black panels. Next comes a series of black panels filled with white ink blots. It’s like a Rorschach test that is given context as soon as the narration begins. This narration is written like poetry. I’ve read several novels written in verse but this is the first graphic novel I’ve read that’s written in this style. After finishing this one, I can honestly say that more graphic novels should be written with poetry.

I love a good nine-panel grid page layout. Each of the characters is assigned the same single panel in the eighteen panels across each two-page spread. This is a very creative way to tell a story, though since I was reading a digital PDF, I found it a little difficult to keep track of all the various narratives. Fortunately, the unique setting and time period of each character helped clarify the story to a certain extent. The narration is laid out in the same fashion. As a result, it can be read in different orders, either as it’s laid out across the page or from one character’s panel to their next assigned panel.

Fawkes uses a minimalist illustration style but still manages to make the most out of each panel. He plays with space and perspective, yet despite the differing images in each panel, each individual page has a visual uniformity. That being said, I did notice that sometimes the characters look a little bit misshapen. Considering how obviously well plotted and thought out the rest of the book is, I have to assume this choice was intentional on Fawkes’ part. No two people look the same in real life and I assume Fawkes was trying to reflect this in his art. Although I can appreciate the artistic choice, I did sometimes find a character’s physical quirks to be visually off-putting.

Whether it’s tracking the narration or taking in the artwork, One Soul is a book that can be, and should be, read multiple times. Fawkes weaves together eighteen perspectives into a single beautiful narrative that explores what life is all about. No two lives are the same but from birth to death, we are all connected by similar experiences. We may be different people but universally, we all share one soul. Throughout the graphic novel Fawkes stretches his creative muscles through his beautiful poetry and by drawing an expansive catalog of objects, settings, and situations. It’s a challenging read but well worth the effort. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the One Soul Tenth Anniversary Edition when it releases on February, 23rd.

Story: Ray Fawkes Art: Ray Fawkes
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Pre-Order: AmazonZeus Comics

Ray Fawkes’ One Soul Sparks New Book, Coming Summer 2021

The Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group has announced the tenth-anniversary edition of Ray Fawkes‘ critically acclaimed and deeply moving graphic novel One Soul, as well as the upcoming One Line, a brand-new book from Fawkes. Both One Soul: Tenth Anniversary Edition and One Line will be available in 2021.

One Soul details the lives of eighteen individuals throughout history whose lives unfold simultaneously. Comprised entirely of double-page spreads split into eighteen panels, with each panel featuring one character’s life, cartoonist Ray Fawkes uses an experimental narrative structure to artfully craft eighteen linear stories into one non-linear masterpiece. Nominated for the 2012 Eisner Award in the New Graphic Album category, One Soul is a powerful and life-affirming story about the way human beings all over the world are connected. The tenth-anniversary edition of One Soul will be available as a metallic foil-stamped hardcover.

As One Soul followed eighteen people from birth until death, showcasing their common joys and pains as well as their unique experiences, the upcoming One Line follows eighteen families through four centuries, showing how traditions, ethics, and prejudices are handed down from generation to generation. Some families will interact, some will join together, some will remain alone. Some will persist, and some will die out. One Line will be published as a beautifully designed foil-stamped hardcover edition.

One Soul: Tenth Anniversary Edition will be available in stores and online on February 24, 2021, with One Line to follow in the summer on July 21, 2021.

Canadian Retailers and Creators Come Together for “Be Our Heroes, Canada!”

Be Our Hereos Canada

As brick and mortar retailers around the world find creative ways to preserve their businesses during unprecedented circumstances, forward-thinking comic book retailers across Canada will come together with notable comic book artists and writers to benefit their business and preserve the audience they have worked so hard together to serve.

Be Our Heroes, Canada” is a collaboration between Canadian comic shops and creators to leverage each store’s individual audiences to both build and strengthen the national comic book community and generate income for all.

The Dragon owner Jennifer Haines said in the announcement:

What started as a conversation between four retailers on how we could cross-promote our shops turned into this idea of a national fundraiser to help preserve Canada’s unique comics landscape. Now more than ever, we need to come together to support one another, and provide our respective communities with a way to stay connected, all while protecting retailers that might otherwise fall through the cracks of government funding.

The event has been organized by Guelph, Ontario’s The Dragon family of stores, along with Ontario retailers Gotham Central, Heroes World, and Cyber City Comix, and will take place over two days through Facebook Live, with scheduled slots for creators and stores.

Funds raised through this two-day national celebration of the comic arts will be collected and distributed by the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund, a Canadian-based non-profit organization protecting free speech in the industry, supporting retailers, schools, and libraries, creators and publishers alike.

“Be Our Heroes, Canada” is currently accepting offers of participation among the Canadian creative community, and will announce the full list of participating stores and creators in the coming days. Current participants include: Adam Gorham,  Andy Belanger, Brendan Fletcher, Casey Parsons, Chip Zdarsky, Dylan Burnett, Ed Brisson, J. Torres, Jason Fabok, Jason Loo, Jay Stephens, Karl Kerschl, Ken Lashley, Michael Cho, Ray Fawkes, Richard Pace, Scott Chantler, Seth, Shawn Daly, Svetlana Chmakova, and Yanick Paquette.

Review: In the Flood

In the Flood

In a world where relationships are fragile, how does one stay in one? There are those relationships that push you to the edge and question what you are. Being with someone can make you find out who you really are. It’s also the most honest you will be with anyone you encounter.

The show The Affair showed just how messy and endearing relationships are and can be. We’re shaped by our experiences and the show more than expounded on that. We all can be the worst person and the best person at any moment in our lives. In Ray FawkesIn The Flood, we find one such couple whose love is tested by forces beyond their control.

We find a couple caught in a storm that has erupted into a flood, as we meet Mike and Clara, a couple separated by this disaster. Clara recalls her life before meeting Mike, as a night club singer, and dealing with the inner workings of the underworld.  Meanwhile, Mike, searches for Clara by boat, hoping he can find her, but not before running into trouble, by two robbers looking to get an easy score.  Soon both Mike and Clara, slowly unravel, as the past and present become mixed with each other, confusing the couple in utter dissolution. By the book’s end, the couple realizes that everything has happened is but an illusion and only one of them survives the night.

Overall, an intoxicating story that more than draws you in. It bewilders you at every turn. The story by Fawkes is enchanting and engrossing. The art by Fawkes, Lee Loughridge and Thomas Mauer pushes the medium in ways only true fans of the medium will be able to pick up on. Altogether, a story that stays with you and makes you question everything, as good art should always do.

Story: Ray Fawkes
Art: Ray Fawkes, Lee Loughridge, and Thomas Mauer
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy Talk With Ray Fawkes and Jeremy Haun about Valiant’s Upcoming The Final Witness

The Final Witness

I have been all-in on Valiant‘s comics for a long time. But, sometimes a series comes along that really sings to me. The Final Witness is one of those books. The promise from the creative team that nothing will be the same after a comic isn’t an unfamiliar one. This is one of the few times that I genuinely believe that will be the case.

What is The Final Witness?

It seems to blend a murder mystery with superheroes in what promises to be something Valiant fans haven’t seen before. It’s from the creative team of Ray Fawkes (writer), Jeremy Haun (art), Nick Filardi (colors), and Clayton Cowles (letters).

I was fortunate enough to get a chance to ask Ray and Nick a few questions about the upcoming series.

Graphic Policy: The Final Witness has really got me intrigued; where did the idea come from?

Ray Fawkes: The idea was a collaborative effort with Heather Antos, our great editor. We bounced the basic concept of the killer this book is based around, and the new hero who would face them as his first challenge back and forth until we settled on The Final Witness – something totally new for the Valiant Universe!

Jeremy Haun: It was one of those concepts that I knew I wanted to be a part of the second I read it.  We’ve read all of the superhero stories that are out there by now. This series— this point of view is something new. That’s incredibly exciting.

GP: How long did it take you to get from the conception stage to the finished product?

RF: We really worked it over for several months even before scripting began in earnest, just making sure we had the core concept as strong as possible, and making sure that the folks at Valiant were completely happy with the direction we were taking. Then the scripting started up – so we’re looking at about a year from the seed concept to finished product.

JH: A lot of projects have a release date even before things are ready to go. I love that Valiant really let us take the time and build this story the way we needed to. I got working drafts of the first two issues when I came onto the project. They’d been developing things for months at that point. I came in and we built and added to things even more.

GP: You’ve both worked together a lot over the years; did you know coming into the project you’d be teaming up again? It must be fun to work with somebody you know, eh?

RF: When I started putting together the plans for the script I didn’t know yet that we were going to be able to get Jeremy on board – but as soon as his name was mentioned I began to see this book as a project I didn’t want to do with anyone else. We’ve had such great synergy in the past, and I knew we’ d be speaking each other’s language from day one of the collaboration.

JH: There are certain creators that you’ll work with any chance you get. Ray is one of those folks. He’s the kind of collaborator who not only gets good storytelling, he gets the type of storytelling I get excited about. The second Heather reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to work on an all-new superhero noir book with Ray, I was in.

GP: Ray, you’ve said that you really got to cut loose with this story; how different has working with Valiant been from your previous gigs?

RF: Valiant has been one hundred percent supportive of the direction this book is taking – something new for the company and for its in-continuity characters – and it’s been really great seeing what kinds of boundaries we can push. All any writer wants to do is to be free to explore a concept to the hilt – Valiant has given me that chance with The Final Witness.

GP: With this being a limited series, can you tell us if there are any plans to do more with the characters you introduce down the road?

RF: I’ve already outlined a second story with the characters, and have ideas for more. It’s really up to the readers – if the book gets the kind of support I’m hoping for, there may be much more to come. I mean… with the characters who survive this story, of course…

JH: Oh— you’re going to want more of this. I want more of this.

GP: Will Final Witness change the way that fans look at the Valiant universe going forward? It certainly seems like it’ll be different than what we’ve seen before…

RF: I truly believe it will. What happens in this story may call into question some of the ethical problems certain heroes in the Valiant universe face – and some of the problems they represent. Both in-universe and out of it, for readers – there will be a new element brought to Valiant in this book, and once it hits, it can’t be taken back. For the worse in some heroes cases, and for the better in some – and, I like to think, very much for the better for readers.

JH: This is a story that adds a new layer to the Valiant universe in the best way. It’s already a world filled with a fantastic array of characters. THE FINAL WITNESS is going to give us something new— something we need…and might not even be ready for. Things aren’t going to be the same from here on out.


The Final Witness is due for release April 29th, 2020

Ray Fawkes & Jeremy Haun Present The Final Witness, A Crime-Noir Mystery

A terrifying serial killer wreaks havoc in The Final Witness #1 (of 5) this April!

Eisner-nominated writer Ray Fawkes and electrifying artist Jeremy Haun present a captivating crime-noir mystery! Can a powerful new hero, a detective, and an investigative journalist solve this chilling case as more and more bodies are found in San Francisco?

The gripping crime-noir thriller begins in The Final Witness #1 (of 5) on April 29th, 2020, featuring colors by Nick Filardi, letters by Clayton Cowles, and covers by RahzzahMichael WalshCaspar Wijngaard, Jeremy Haun, and Travis Escarfullery.

Here’s a first look at the brand-new hero’s origin!

The Final Witness #1 (of 5)

comiXology Originals Announce In the Flood by Ray Fawkes

ComiXology has announced In the Flood, a mesmerizing and experimental original graphic novel written and illustrated by Eisner Award nominee, Ray Fawkes, featuring coloring by Lee Loughridge and lettering by Thomas Mauer.

In the tradition of films by David Lynch and novels by Haruki Murakami, this strange and compelling graphic novel is full of mystery and symbolism that tells the story of a couple trying to keep their troubled marriage together, while separated by an apocalyptic flood with mysterious properties. In the Flood debuts December 18th and will be available to read at no additional cost for Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and comiXology Unlimited members, and will also be available for purchase on Kindle and comiXology.

In the Flood

Comicker Press Announces Shots Fired, a Charity Comics Anthology

Comicker Press logo

Comicker Press is back with Shots Fired, a revamped version of the comics anthology formerly known as Every Day. As with its previous iteration, Shots Fired will raise funds for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Community Justice Reform Coalition to help end gun violence in America via a Kickstarter campaign that will pay for printing and shipping of the comics anthology. Once printed, all proceeds from additional book sales will go directly to the CSGV and CJRC.

Comicker Press co-founder Sean E. Williams said,

Since Kickstarter campaigns are all-or-nothing, when it became apparent that our last one wasn’t going to reach its goal, we decided to regroup and try again as quickly as possible. This issue is too important to not do this book, and the stories the creators are telling are truly unparalleled and need to be read.

With the upcoming 28-day campaign for Shots Fired, Comicker Press has capped the size of the book to around 168 pages and is limiting shipping to the United States to keep the budget down. They are also adding a Kickstarter Exclusive limited-edition hardcover, which won’t be made available after the campaign.

The talent donating their time to Shots Fired include Scott Snyder, Kelly Thompson, David Lafuente, Phil Hester, Ariela Kristantina, Jamal Igle, Devin Grayson, Joe Keatinge, Doselle Young, Marguerite Sauvage, Ron Marz, Stuart Moore, Shannon Wheeler, Steven Grant, Roger Langridge, Matt Miner, Ray Fawkes, CW Cooke, Alex de Campi, Carla Speed McNeil, Kelly Williams, Emma Beeby, and more.

The Shots Fired campaign launches on Kickstarter on June 18th, and runs through July 16th.

AfterShock Announces Shock Vol. 2 featuring R.L. Stine, Garth Ennis, Cullen Bunn, Marguerite Benett, Jamal Igle and more!

SHOCK Vol 2

Writers: R.L. Stine, Garth Ennis, Cullen Bunn, Marguerite Bennett & others
Artists: Russ Braun, Francesco Francavilla, Juan Doe, Sam Kieth & others
Cover: Tim Bradstreet
$34.99 / 160 pages / FULL COLOR / On sale 06.26.19

The highly anticipated follow up to the widely successful first volume of the SHOCK anthology, this oversized second volume continues to push boundaries and mix genres, inviting today’s top creative talent of both comics and prose to craft tales of the fantastic, the horrific and the bizarre.

This handsome hardcover features the talents of Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine, Garth Ennis, Cullen Bunn, Russ Braun, Marguerite Bennett, Juan Doe, Jill Thompson, Sam Kieth, Aaron Douglas, Cliff Richards, Jim Starlin, Larry Stroman, Jamal Igle, Ray Fawkes, Joe Pruett, Kevin J. Anderson, Steve Rasnic Tem, Andrei Bressan, Tony Harris, Francesco Francavilla, Darko Macan, Don Handsfield, Phil Hester, Supernatural show runner Andrew Dabb and more – with outstanding Cover art by Timothy Bradstreet!

Conceived and edited by AfterShock Publisher and Chief Creative Officer, Joe Pruett, the multiple Eisner and Harvey Award nominated editor of the classic Negative Burn anthology series.

Dark Horse Delivers Stranger Things and Black Hammer for Free Comic Book Day

Visit your local comic shop May 4, 2019, for Free Comic Book Day! Dark Horse delivers tales from two diverse worlds in their FCBD Gold Offering featuring Netflix’s Stranger Things and a spooky trip into Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Eisner Award-winning series Black Hammer with a cover by Chun Lo.

In Stranger Things, writer Jody Houser and artist Ibrahim Moustafa bring the adventuring party back together after Eleven’s disappearance, as Nancy and Steve find a way to lift the spirits of a despondent Mike. Perhaps all it takes is a roll of the dice. Then, in the world of the Eisner Award-winning Black Hammer series creator Jeff Lemire, guest writer Ray Fawkes, and artist David Rubín, take the reader on an EC-style tour through Madame Dragonfly’s mysterious Cabin of Horrors to witness two groups of brand-new Black Hammer heroes from the past!

Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books free to anyone who comes into their shops.

Dark Horse Stranger Things Free Comic Book Day
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