Tag Archives: sean lewis

Cyberpunk Thriller Thumbs Gets Collected in January 2020

Award winning playwright and comics writer Sean Lewis re-teams with award winning artist Hayden Sherman for the pulse-pounding technology thriller, Thumbs. This trade paperback collects the complete series, issues #1-5, of the rapid-paced, science-fiction series and will be available from Image Comics in January 2020.

Adrian Camus, a rockstar tech designer, recruits children who excel at his games into his real-life war against the Power, a group of politicians and advocates aiming to take Camus’ tech away from the people. Following a life-altering injury, eponymous recruit Thumbs finds himself torn between two sides of the muddy, escalating conflict. Heartfelt, action-packed, and forward-thinking, Thumbs is a standalone story that fans of Black Mirror, Blade Runner, and Tokyo Ghost won’t want to miss.

The Thumbs trade paperback (ISBN: 978-1-5343-1359-0, Diamond Code NOV190068) will be available on Wednesday, January 29 and in bookstores on Tuesday, February 4.

Thumbs collected edition

Thumbs #2 Heads Back for a New Printing

The second issue of award-winning playwright and comics writer Sean Lewis and award-winning artist Hayden Sherman’s hot new technology thriller Thumbs is being fast-tracked for a second printing in order to keep up with growing customer demand.

In Thumbs #2, Charley “Thumbs” is out of his coma and back in the world. Trapped by the Power, he sees the junkies who’ve taken technology underground, the revolutionaries who deliver devices to the people, and the government that’s banned it all.

Set in a reality where a tech mogul has created his own army of tech-addicted teens and directed them to take on the government, Thumbs readers are introduced to a high-stakes story where Charley “Thumbs” Fellows is a member of just such an army. Poor and raised by the influential MOM™ app, he soon finds himself in the center of a war. 

Thumbs #2, second printing (Diamond Code MAY198886) will be available on Wednesday, August 7. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, July 15. 

Thumbs #2, second printing

Thumbs #1 is Heading Back to Print

Award-winning playwright and comics writer Sean Lewis and award-winning artist Hayden Sherman’s new technology thriller Thumbs is being rushed back to print this week to keep up with customer demand.

Imagine someone like, say, Mark Zuckerberg created his own army of tech-obsessed teens and directed them to take on the government. What would the fallout be? In Thumbs, readers are introduced to a high-stakes world where that—and much worse—can unfold. Charley “Thumbs” Fellows is a member of just such an army. Poor and raised by the influential MOM™ app, he finds himself in the center of a war. 

Blade Runner meets Black Mirror in this hot new series perfect for fans of their previous collaboration, the hit series The Few and Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt’s Crowded.  

Thumbs #1, second printing (Diamond Code APR198093) will be available on Wednesday, July 3. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is today, Monday, June 10.

Thumbs #1, second printing

Check Out a Sneak Peek of Sean Lewis and Hayden Sherman’s Thumbs

Image Comics has revealed a first look at the highly anticipated new cyberpunk adventure series Thumbs, by award winning playwright and comics writer Sean Lewis teams up with award winning artist Hayden Sherman

The break-neck paced technology thriller is a must-read book perfect for readers of Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt’s 2019 Eisner nominated series Crowded or the buzzworthy Netflix phenomenon, Black Mirror. Thumbs #1 hits stores on Wednesday, June 5 and boasts a total of 40 pages per issue.

Imagine someone like, say, Mark Zuckerberg created his own army of tech-obsessed teens and directed them to take on the government. What would the fall-out be? Thumbs explores a high-stakes world where that—and much worse—can unfold. Charley “Thumbs” Fellows is a member of just such an army. Poor and raised by the influential MOM™ app, he finds himself in the center of a war.

Thumbs #1 (Diamond Code APR190011) will be available on Wednesday, June 5. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is this Monday, May 13.

Thumbs #1

Writer Sean Lewis Teams with Artist Hayden Sherman for Thumbs

Award winning playwright and comics writer Sean Lewis teams up with award winning artist Hayden Sherman for a new technology thriller series in Thumbs. The rapid-paced, science-fiction maxi-series will be five issues—each issue a total of 40 pages—and will launch from Image Comics this June.

Imagine someone like, say, Mark Zuckerberg created his own army of tech-obsessed teens and directed them to take on the government. What would the fall-out be? Thumbs explores a high-stakes world where that—and much worse—can unfold. Charley “Thumbs” Fellows is a member of just such an army. Poor and raised by the influential MOM™ app, he finds himself in the center of a war. 

Best described as The Social Network meets Black MirrorThumbs is a must-read book from the team behind the hit series The Few and is perfect for readers of Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, and Ted Brandt’s Crowded.  

Thumbs #1 (Diamond Code APR190011) will be available on Wednesday, June 5. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, May 13.

Thumbs #1

Sean Lewis and Antonio Fuso’s Clankillers from AfterShock

Finola has a problem—her father is losing his mind. All the old king cares about is power…and Finola thinks power is stupid. Finola thinks her vicious older sisters are stupid. Finola thinks the royal court is stupid, and above all she thinks the clans across the country are stupid. So she makes a plan with her good friend Cillian: Let’s kill all the clans. And then, we go for dad.

Clankillers is a brand new series being publishing by AfterShock Comics, written by Sean Lewis, art by Antonio Fuso, and lettering by Dave Sharpe. The series is the demented stepchild of Game of Thrones, Braveheart and Mark Millar’s Kick Ass.

Out July 18, the first issue features a cover by Antonio Fuso and another by Juan Doe.

Review: Betrothed #1

Kieron and Tamara are both seniors at the same high school. They’ve never paid much attention to each other, even though they are the only kids at school who are orphans. On the eve of their eighteenth birthdays, they discover a lifelong secret: in a dimension far away, they are each the leader of an army that is at war with one another… and what’s more, when they turn eighteen, they’re to be Betrothed or Fight to the Death!

Take Romeo and Juliet and put them in charge of two warring factions, that’s the concept behind writer Sean Lewis and artist Steve Uy‘s new series.

That comparison isn’t an unfair one, the first issue lays that out multiple times with Kieron and Tamara referencing Shakespeare’s work. It’s smart in a way in that we now know what to expect and of course are predisposed to a tragic ending. The issue though is that it comes up a bit too much which makes the first issue and series concept come off too much like an admitted swipe which we’ll compare the original work to. So, a double edged sword. With familiarity also comes comparisons.

The set up is good though. Immediately we’re introduced to Kieron and Tamara and a way they’re both likeable and not at the same time. We’re also run through the concept by a sear. It’s a bit too much tell instead of show but it also gets us to the main point instead of dragging things out. Interestingly that telling comes from what amounts to a “bard,” which I have to think is a winking nod to the playwright.

The art by Uy with lettering by Simon Bowland is good. The characters and warring factions are absolutely distinctive but it all has personality. There’s a nice look about the two factions and the alien world has a lot of potential. Still, there’s some odd poses in panels but nothing to really throw things off.

The first issue is good setting up the situation and giving us a good idea as to the world we’re introduced to. While there’s some narrative and art issues it’s nothing that breaks the comic in any way. The first issue feels like a good start and from here the question is how it’ll differentiate itself from the rather famous play it references a bit too much.

Story: Sean Lewis Art: Steve Uy Lettering: Simon Bowland
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Coyotes Vol. 1 is Out this April

Writer Sean Lewis and artist Caitlin Yarsky will collect the first four issues of their dark fantasy series Coyotes this April.

In a dusty desert town on the southern border of the United States, women are going missing. Detective Frank Coffey is called in to investigate—and finds Red, a 13-year-old girl with a sword and a mission: to murder the werewolves stalking the border and picking women off one by one.

It’s Kill Bill meets The Howling in the cutthroat world of Coyotes, where nothing is ever as it seems.

Coyotes, Vol. 1 (ISBN: 978-1-5343-0647-9, Diamond code: JAN180663) hits comic book shops Wednesday, April 11th and bookstores Tuesday, April 17th. It is available for preorder via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Indigo, and Books-A-Million.

Review: Coyotes #4

Coyotes_04-1

*WARNING*: Minor Spoilers

Coyotes #4 concludes the current arc of the series. As the Victorias raid the secret location of the Coyotes, they need the help of their oldest enemy Seff. In the midst of blood, violence, and lost, Red will rise out of the ashes. But will she become the champion of women and girls? Or another predator?

The fun starts with the cover. I haven’t talked a lot about the series’ covers since the first issue, but here it’s just too gorgeous to ignore. The intensity of the all-red palette emphasizes the danger and action, visually solidified with the images of Red carrying an unconscious Eyepatch, great canine beast behind them. The wavy, often chaotic art of Caitlin Yarsky makes this image stick in your head.

Opening up the issue to the first two pages, and we get splashes that blast the promised intensity of the cover at your face. Here, the art’s aforementioned attributes are in full swing to illustrate the messy, savage fighting. A lot that makes this work is the panel layouts. They are the traditional rectangles and squares but also huge and contain abundant details. It’s a significant departure from many western comics that prefer 5-9 panel layouts. There are barely any layouts exceeding more than 4 panels. It reminds me of manga. Less but wider panels makes a scene appear more dramatic. For comparison, here is an image of Coyotes #4 next to Shuzo Oshimi’s Happiness Vol. 1.

However, these larger panels also cause the pacing of the issue to be too quick. In a manga trade with 100+ pages, larger panels work. But in a 20+ page single issue, you finish in under 10 minutes or so. A smooth read sacrifices a feeling of hefty content. Mind you, most American single issue comics have that problem. Most of all though, I feel like the pacing concludes the current art too quickly. The events that transpire are satisfying and have a logical progression, but there should have been a lot more in the middle. I would have, if not add extra issues to the arc, increased the page count of the single issues. This was similarly done in Sean Lewis’ previous project The Few quite effectively.

Don’t let this nitpick eclipse the greatness of the art. It might be short, but each page is a slam dunk. A new trick Yarsky pulls is more experimentation with color. It has always been there, but grayish colors tended to be the primary palette. Now there are scenes with intense shades of orange and red. Now that I think about it, the presence of red ties back to how red has been an ever present color motif. Deducing the meaning of this color has been a challenge, but if I had to guess, it’s about the growth of Red’s character from hapless orphan to Champion of the Victorias.

Coyotes #4_2

Since I’ve mentioned Red’s character arc, it’s time to talk about Sean Lewis’ writing. This issue definitely feels like the characters, particularly the protagonists, are the centerpiece. The Victorias finally face down the Coyotes, and serious power shifts take place. The most significant is of course with Red. She gains higher statues among the Victorias, becoming their champion. This ties back to the power struggle between her and Duchess, where the latter party seemed to have had plans for the young girl but never clear what those were. This lack of clarity gave the impression of nefariousness, an unfair dynamic between master and servant that diminished the Victorias’ feminist agenda. It isn’t clear if Red’s new statues evens it out. Duchess also seems to gain higher statues among the Victorias, which reveals some tension between her and Abuela that wasn’t fully explored due to the pacing. What any of this does to heighten the stakes is for the next arc to expand upon.

I’ve already spoiled enough of the plot, so I’ll try to be a bit more obscure by discussing the feminist theme. This theme has twisted into many directions, but the core is still how patriarchy and toxic masculinity terrify women into submission. Issue #4 doesn’t add another layer so much as it brings this theme to a satisfying triumph for feminism. Watching the Victorias slay the coyotes is satisfying. Hell, the Victorias are so gung-ho that a splash page has them unleashing superpowers, even one popping the claws freaking Wolverine style. Absurdism, the greatest power against patriarchy.

On a more serious note, there are two lines of dialogue from Red that really hit the nail on the hammer regarding these concepts. Free of spoilers, here is the first:

“This is what people do to us. They make us pose. And then they make us disappear.”

It is a commentary on the imagery of harmed women. Mass media is full of these images, from news reports that contain pictures of abuse victims to fiction where a dead woman becomes the protagonist’s motivation. There is a larger discussion on this topic, incredibly complex and too much ground to cover on this review, but there is something sickening about the prevalence of this imagery, yet its consumption is superficial. Women are harmed every day, and while their broken bodies and minds might be remembered (temporarily), themselves as individuals are forgotten. Their suffering, their personal trauma, is stolen and mass marketed to a larger audience without empathy or respect. It becomes a spectacle.

Violence against women is imagery quite common in Coyotes, but often with better context. We are meant to know, understand, and root for these women. Most of all, despite how monstrous it presents the men that commit this violence, it also gets to what drives them: fear.

”Funny when monsters lose their power. They don’t really want to fight. They just want to run.”

I might have mentioned this before, but men’s violence against women is out of fear. Without their beastly forms, the coyotes are just small, weak men. This seems to be a parallel to toxic men in real life, the domestic abusers in meat space and the trolls online. They have deep insecurity in themselves, and women are, for them, easy targets to take that self-loathing out on. They commit their violence while behind a facade of masculinity, but when confronted with women like the Victorias, the facade crumbles even as they act more aggressively. I guess what I’m trying to get at with my rambling is that Sean Lewis is engaging in feminism in an earnest way. It is not perfect, but at least he processes it way better than other men attempting, and failing, to write these type of stories.

That said, the coyotes are a particular case because the coyote forms are forced on them, kind of how like toxic masculinity is forced on us. But are we willing to accept it? The men that become coyotes are on the borderline of how much they just act out to what they are programmed to do vs. inner desires to murder women. It’s a moral conundrum, one that could have been further explored, but, again, the arc was too short. Either way, women should not have to hold the emotional burden of understanding the male violence directed their way, not when it is a case of life or death.

That said, there are men in Coyotes that show positive growth. Detective Frank Coffey goes from cautionary observer to full-blown ally of the Victorias, expressing utter disgust of the coyotes committing violence. Nothing about it seems self-serving. Just like the author Sean Lewis, Coffey is legitimately invested in feminism. Men that engage eagerly with feminism would be an interesting subject for the next arc. Judging by the black and white epilogue of this arc, that might just be the case. I’ll be excited to see how that goes.

Coyotes #4 is, despite minor bumps in the road, a satisfying conclusion to the current arc. The heroes show up and kick serious ass, new possibilities are open up, and Caitlin Yarsky gets to expand on her amazing artistic abilities. I didn’t even go into depth of her amazing lettering this issue.

Coyotes #4_3

I think it speaks for itself.

In fact, this entire comic speaks for itself. Go pick it up. Enjoy the action-packed horror, fantasy, surrealism with an earnest feminist message. It’s one of the best sleeper hits of this past four months, and I hope it continues to grow in success.

Story: Sean Lewis Art: Caitlin Yarsky
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Coyotes #2-#3

After an action-packed debut issue, Coyotes #2-#3 had a lot to live up to. It is a dramatic book with intriguing themes of feminism and patriarchy told at a visceral, breakneck pace. Would the series improve? Stumble? The answer is mostly improvement with one significant stumble.

As a reminder, Coyotes is an action-horror-thriller-urban fantasy series written by Sean Lewis, drawn, colored, and lettered by Caitlin Yarksy, and published by Image Comics. It tells the story of Analia, a teenage girl orphaned by a ravenous pack of coyotes that target almost exclusively women and girls. She and her best friend Valeria are taken in by the Victorias, a group of warrior women that defend the City of Lost Girls from the murderous beasts. They train the two girls to become the assassins Red and Eyepatch. The leader of the Victorias, Duchess, has taken particular interest in Red (Analia). She wants to make her the new champion, although Red isn’t so sure she wants to. On their trail is Detective Frank Coffey, a newbie cop from another town trying to understand just what the hell is going on? In issues #2-#3 Red teams up with Coffey to discover the secret behind the murder of her sister, which lead into a deeper discovery of the war between the Victorias and the Coyotes. High tensions are about to peak, and Red’ strange, violent journey will only become more so.

Coyotes-Trouble

Caitlin Yarsky’s art continues to shine with its wavy, Gothic Nouveau style. Characters are extremely animated with hair and limbs in constant motion. They have noticeable muscles, fat, sag, and wrinkles. These are real bodies in motion. The costume designs, particularly the Victorias, look just as vibrant. The natural vibrancy of Yarksy’s art adds to the Coyotes as well. When they attack, the pack comes in like a wave, single file. It adds surrealism to bombastic action scenes. A large chunk of what makes these scenes work are the panel layouts: intricate yet easily guiding the eye along, giving space for action and movement to breathe instead of feeling cluttered. An improvement over issue #1 is setting. Environments have a lot more personality than they previously did, feeling like unique places instead of the most basic cultural hints of Latin American culture. The best example is the house of one of the older Victorias, Abuela. She lives in a cabin on top of a spiral mountain. The height denotes power and mystery; but the conditions of her living quarters denotes, not humility, but Abuela’s desire for isolation. She is a powerful woman that also happens to be an anti-social crone. There is something inspiring in this contrarianism.

Sean Lewis continues to deliver an action-packed story while putting more layers on the cake. Three new Victorias are introduced, the old woman Abuela and two others yet to be named. They are as strong, foul-mouthed, deadly, and complex as their younger counterparts. When Red meets Abuela, she learns a secret about her dead sister Maria. It better clarifies the mystery behind Duchess. Her relationship with Red still has an element of unevenness to it, and Duchess is not fully beyond suspicion in terms of her real plans for the young assassin, but it does complicate it. No one among the Victorias is a perfect person, which is a good thing. This comic is about complicated, broken women fighting a common enemy. They do not get along and have their own personal goals, but they will unite when push comes to shove. It is gratifying group drama, particularly in a media landscape where women teams are usually not given moral grayness.

Another intriguing story element Sean Lewis expands upon is the origin of the war between Victorias and Coyotes. Not to give away too many spoilers, but it starts after an apocalyptic event. Two powerful entities go up against each other: Seff, a gigantic member of the canine family; His opponent is a fresh take on one of the entities representing Mother Nature. Some of the origin elements are a bit absurd, which says something for a story about women and girls fighting talking coyotes. It’s not a deal breaker though, and in fact adds to the mythic tone of the series. It also builds on the story’s feminist theme, suggesting how the fight between women’s freedom and agency against patriarchy has been a long, almost mythical battle.

Coyotes-Abuela

However, the origin does have one huge blunder. Again, no spoilers, but it involves an evil corporation. This is an unsatisfying twist. First, evil corporations are such a lazy trope. Usually, there is not even a good reason for them being evil, or at least nothing about corporate culture is fully explored to show just how evil it is. Nope. Just call a group a corporation and Bam! they are considered evil. In fact, the two prominent figures of the corporation are so cartoonishly evil they might as well be twirling mustaches. In Coyotes’ defense, the series does have an over-the-top, Tarantinoesque tone to it, particularly the dialogue. Everyone sounds like a badass. Coyotes does set itself up for this tone early on in the story, and considering some of the absurdist things Caitlin Yarksy draws (Abuela at one point uses a scifish rocket launcher) perhaps makes the over-the-top corporate villainy fitting.

The real blunder of the evil corporation twist is that it makes the Coyotes too much of a concrete threat. What’s most horrifying is not what you know, but what you don’t know. If we have knowledge about why something terrible happened or why someone is terrible, then we can formulate a reason. A reason provides comfort for even when you don’t stop the horrible event or people. To have no reason, to never truly understand why evil exists, is much more terrifying. Being vague as to why men are suddenly wearing pelts to turn into coyotes to prey on women would have been fine. Much like a fable, the comic’s narrative worked on a visceral level where the reader doesn’t comprehend everything, but knows somewhere in their gut that it speaks truth. Ironically, the reason could’ve been summarized by a line Seff tells the corporation: “It is simply who you are. You will always kill what you can get away with.” If coyotes represent patriarchy, toxic masculinity, and male privilege, men choosing to become them symbolizes how these concepts are so ingrained in their heads they think it’s normal. There doesn’t need to be a reason beyond that. Evil corporations are just too grounded and scientific an explanation to match the mythic subject matter of Lycanthropy. In my opinion, horror is most effective when–in true Lovecraft fashion–science and reason fail when faced with great, incomprehensible monstrosity.

Coyotes-Victims

To the corporation’s credit, it does add its own thematic significance to Coyotes’ feminist narrative. Tying corporate greed to patriarchy suggests how it is a manufactured idea, one to maintain a power structure of men over women, even to the point that women must suffer. Men suffer too, of course, something the book does explore. It will be interesting to see how later issues may break the evil corporation angle out of its generic shackles.

One last observation is the character of Detective Frank Coffey. In my interview with the creators, Sean Lewis explained how he wanted a Frank Miller type character that would be useless. In this regard, he has definitely succeeded. Frank Coffey is your typical no-nonsense cop with a chip on his shoulder. He smokes a lot and talks like a good ol’ macho man. However, he is always fumbling in his encounters with the Victorias and the Coyotes. If he’s not getting his butt whooped, he is being outperformed by them, especially Red. However, to Coffey’s credit, his narrative has a satisfying angle of becoming a better ally. That doesn’t mean he unlearns his toxic masculinity, at least not yet. But Coffey seems to be naturally inclined toward helping people. Even though he doesn’t fully understand the Victorias, he has enough common sense to realize that they are the only ones capable of facing the Coyotes head on. Like so many characters, Coffey defies expectations. He is as complicated as anyone else.

Coyotes-Coffey

Coyotes #2-#3 are fantastic follow-ups to the debut issue. It contains the same action-packed, engaging plot coupled with dark and vibrant art, while adding layers: some great, others mixed. Personally, what keeps me reading the series is how much I feel invested in the characters. They are some of the most complicated, multi-layered I’ve read since Lewis’ previous book, The Few. It’s them more than any other aspect of the plot that explores the larger themes of feminism and patriarchy. Through a human perspective, they show how hard, frustrating, and yet necessary these discussions are to dismantle harmful power structures. Plus, teen girls with katanas get to slay werewolves. That’s a good enough reason to stick around.

Story: Sean Lewis Art: Caitlin Yarsky Published: Image Comics
Story: 8.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

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