Tag Archives: tess fowler

Preview: Black Crown Quarterly #2: Winter 2018

Black Crown Quarterly #2: Winter 2018

Peter Milligan, Rob Davis, David Barnett, Tini Howard, Jamie Coe, & Various (w) • Tess Fowler, Rob Davis, Martin Simmonds, Philip Bond, Jaime Coe, & Various (a) • Martin Simmonds (c)

It’s the new Winter’s Edge of Comics Cool in 48 pages! Delight in regular continuing features like legit publications with literary pedigrees! It all begins with the 10-page regular lead feature Tales From the Black Crown Pub, starring Stacey the barmaid, by award-winner Rob Davis (The Motherless Oven). Recurring short features include Canonball Comics: an exquisite corpse that will not stay dead, Cud: Rich and Strange by co-writers/bandmates Will Potter and Carl Puttnam and artist Philip Bond, Swell Maps by music journalist/novelist Cathi Unsworth with illustrations by Cara McGee and a new Hey, Amateur!. Plus: Previews of your future favorite comics like Bandtwits by Jamie Coe, Punks Not Dead by David Barnett and Martin Simmonds, a Walking Ghost Tour of Canon Street by Tini Howard, interviews with your favorite comics celebrities and much, much more!

FC • 48 pages • $6.99

Preview: Kid Lobotomy #4

Kid Lobotomy #4

Peter Milligan (w) • Tess Fowler (a & c) • Lee Loughridge (colorist)

As loyal and surprisingly complex chambermaid Ottla searches for Kid—who’s been dragged away by Big Daddy—she’s gripped by a tragic memory. What unspeakable things was she forced to do to fulfill Big Daddy’s King Lear fantasies? Is the Suites playing its weird tricks? Will Kid have a drill shoved into his head? Why is Cordelia getting fat?  Find out this and more in the cracked looking glass Shakespearean tragedy that is “A Lad Insane, Part Four:  The Chambermaid’s Tale.”

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Preview: Kid Lobotomy #3

Kid Lobotomy #3

Peter Milligan (w) • Tess Fowler (a & c) • Lee Loughridge (colorist)

“Lost in Franz” Part 3 of A Lad Insane. Bury the past and it turns into monsters. Or in Kid Lobotomy’s case, a disgusting cockroach man. As our troubled Kid flees deeper into the lower depths to escape his sister’s arrival, he encounters more mystery and confusion. Bug-on-bug sex, spontaneous combustion and Franz Kafka are among the many dubious delights at “The Suites,” America’s Strangest Hotel.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Preview: Kim & Kim, Vol 2: Love Is A Battlefield

Kim & Kim Vol. 2: Love Is A Battlefield

Written by: Magdalene Visaggio
Art by: Eva Cabrera
Colored by: Claudia Aguirre
Edited by: Katy Rex
Lettered by: Zakk Saam
Cover by: Tess Fowler
Cover colored by: Matt Wilson

The Fighting Kims finally get the bounty of their lives and Kim D reconnects with an ex-girlfriend, so of course everything immediately goes catastrophically wrong. This high-flying, rad af tale of exes and woes is the first in a four-part follow-up to 2016’s Eisner-nominated favorite. Awesome. Collects issues 1-4.

Preview: Kid Lobotomy #2

Kid Lobotomy #2

Peter Milligan (w) • Tess Fowler (a & c)

“A Lad Insane, Part Two: Vile Bodies,” Failed rock star and medical guinea pig Kid Lobotomy apparently lies dying in America’s weirdest hotel: The Suites, where delusion is always your dirty one-night stand. Take a tour of the Lower Depths where dark creatures, warped memories, and the pretty, new artist-in-residence await.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Preview: Black Crown Quarterly #1: Fall 2017

Black Crown Quarterly #1: Fall 2017

Peter Milligan, Rob Davis, David Barnett, Tini Howard, Jamie Coe, & Various (w) • Tess Fowler, Rob Davis, Martin Simmonds, Philip Bond, Jaime Coe, & Various (a) • Rob Davis (c)

Everything you always wanted once a season is packed within these 48 pages including a two-sided pullout poster and a wraparound cover! Delight in regular continuing features like legit publications with literary pedigrees! It all begins with the 10-page regular lead feature, Tales From the Black Crown Pub starring Stacey the barmaid by Award-winner Rob Davis (The Motherless Oven). Recurring short features include Canonball Comics: an exquisite corpse that will not stay dead kicked off by Jamie Coe (Artschooled) and Swell Maps by respectably divine music journalist/novelist Cathi Unsworth. Plus: Space CUDets rejoice: Live from a posh retirement village for wannabee 4-hit wonders we have co-writers/bandmates Will Potter and Carl Puttnam and occasional artist Philip Bond. Plus Plus: Special previews, creator interviews and behind the panel border secrets from Kid Lobotomy, Assassinistas, Punks Not Dead and much, much more!

FC • 48 pages • $6.99

Review: Kid Lobotomy #1

Kid Lobotomy #1 is the launch title to IDW Publishing’s new Black Crown imprint spearheaded by ex-Vertigo editor Shelly Bond. It is even written by Vertigo alumni Peter Milligan. The book certainly reads like many of the imprint’s flagship titles: familiar genre tropes subverted, an emphasis on dramatic build up over instant gratification, grimy atmosphere, and references to non-comic book arts. Kid Lobotomy is attempting to be an audacious debut. The result is a mixed bag.

The art of Kid Lobotomy is by indie superstar Tess Fowler and industry veteran Lee Loughridge. Fowler gives the book a DIY, punk aesthetic. Characters and environments look rough and grimy. Fowler also shows to be more than capable of drawing horror scenes, mostly larger-than-life insects and humans transforming into ghastly ghouls. Lettering by Aditya Bidikar highlights the intensity of these scenes with striking lettering. Lee Loughridge adds gritty, yet almost neon colors to the art. A common criticism of the early Vertigo books were their constant use of a grainy coloring scheme that made scenes limited in their palettes. However, given the weird, perturbing story Kid Lobotomy is telling, it fits here like a glove. Fowler and Loughridge combined is like a low-budget, artsy grindhouse film, particularly for fans of Subconscious Cruelty (2000) and We Are The Flesh (2016).


Fowler uniquely designs each character that still share a particular fashion. They have piercings, detailed tattoos, unconventional clothing, and dyed hair with outlandish designs. These are recognizable in various youth groups, particularly those with an emphasis on art, music, and rebellion. It’s a welcoming modern look to a medium where many artists seem unaware of how much fashion has changed. It also works perfectly for Peter Milligan’s writing. He often focuses stories about characters from unique subcultures, referencing their literature, music, film, and other arts. However, in Kid Lobotomy, Milligan sticks to older subculture icons such as Franz Kafka and Derek Jarman. While they’re certainly influences on many modern artists, the lack of references to any of said artists is confusing. What about Screaming Females? The Safdie Brothers? Certainly Milligan can mix what is going on now with what came before. Otherwise, having characters that look modern but only reference 20th-century arts is disingenuous.

The story itself is, also quite typical of Vertigo, a genre mash-up. In every advertisement of Kid Lobotomy thus far, it is described as a combination of Shakespeare’s King Lear and Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Like King Lear, the title character is a young man being forced to take over his father’s kingdom except it’s a hotel called the Suites. The elements from Kafka involve giant bugs, mental illness, and metaphors of isolation. There also seems to be a Dexter element going on in which Kid Lobotomy literally performs “new lobotomy” on people to eat the unwanted part of their brains to control his schizophrenic illusions.

The genre mashing, while amusing, doesn’t seem to have a real purpose. A bunch of ideas are introduced, but none of them paint a whole canvas of exactly what Kid Lobotomy is about. Is it a tale of mental illness? Crime? Family drama? Preacher, The Unwritten, and The Sandman are all titles that similarly mash genre together but have a pretty clear picture of what their major themes are. At the moment, Kid Lobotomy does not. It struggles to do a proper introduction of the various story elements and expanding them enough to have a clear, precise goal of what it wants to say. This is the opposite of Peter Milligan’s past work, such as Greek Street where the combination of Greek tragedy and crime drama clearly told a story about how history repeats itself.

The struggle might stem from the unnecessarily convoluted story structure Milligan employs. Kid Lobotomy #1 starts off with a dream sequence, then to where the story is presently, then a flashback, then the series of event that lead to the present, and a few more scenes afterward. That doesn’t sound hard to follow, but Milligan’s narration is all over the place, uneven in how much exposition to drop or keep vague. It reflects a bad habit from Vertigo of stories trying too hard to be clever and becoming confusing for the reader. It’s not bad to challenge a reader to understand the meaning of a story, but they should still have an intuition of what it’s about and learn more by critically thinking. Confusion should not be a tool as such to induce this type of reading because it can prevent an intuitive spark.

What saves Kid Lobotomy’s narrative are the characters. On the surface, the core three characters seem stockish: Big Daddy, the shrewd, “family comes first” father figure; Rosebud, the femme fatale; and Kid Lobotomy, the rebellious young son that wants to be a unique individual. There are unique quirks to each of them. Despite his appearance, Big Daddy doesn’t seem all that bad. He’s more shrewd than cruel, insisting that having responsibility over the hotel will help Kid with his mental illness. In fact, Big Daddy clearly cares about his son to the point he spent a lot of money to save him. His flaw is in not realizing how much Rosebud feels neglected, not to mention ignoring the fact she is by far more qualified to run the hotel.


Rosebud is quite manipulative, her mission being to drive Kid even crazier so she can take over the hotel. It’s hard to really hate her given how much she has been loyal and helpful to her father. Kid suddenly getting the hotel despite all Rosebud’s hard work is a major blow to her. She at least has a clear motivation beyond evil for the sake of it. Kid Lobotomy isn’t a selfish, annoying manchild as often is the case. Yes, he did drop out of med school to pursue a doomed career in music, but he doesn’t seem to hate his family. Also, he is oddly well read and his obsession with Kafka helps him contextualize his mental illness in order to deal with it. There is also incestual tension between him and Rosebud, often leading to sex acts such as a handjob. From the looks of it, Rosebud is dominating Kid, something he sometimes resists and other times embraces. This will no doubt be the most problematic element of the story, and hopefully Milligan will have good enough sense to at least keep it appropriately complicated. There are several other side characters, but the only two that stand out are a shape-shifting maid and two little girl ghosts. It’s hard to pin point them as characters given they’re either background or just reacting in ways that push forward Kid’s journey.

Two final nitpicks are that Milligan should write a little less dialogue and narration. Fowler and Loughridge’s art is strong enough to visually communicate information to the reader. The cover by Frank Quitely, which good for what it is, is too clean and realistic for the interiors’ gritty punk style. Also, while it is impressive the title logo has a 3D look, it is rather distracting and feels dated, something from a 90s action flick. On the Tess Fowler cover, it is completely out of place for her style.

Kid Lobotomy #1 is a mixed bag of a debut issue. It is visually strong while containing a potentially engaging narrative bogged down by flaws of pacing and development. There is still room for improvement next issue as ideas and characters are expanded upon. At the very least, Kid Lobotomy #1 shows that Black Crown publishing aims for comics that critically engage the reader.

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Tess Fowler, Lee Loughridge, Aditya Bidikar
Story: 7.0 Art: 10 Overall: 8.0

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Kid Lobotomy #1

Kid Lobotomy #1

Peter Milligan (w) • Tess Fowler (a & c)

Kafka meets King Lear by way of Young Frankenstein in KID LOBOTOMY, a dark, demented, monthly satire that follows a dysfunctional family of hoteliers. Will sibling rivalry, seduction, and shapeshifting eventually lead to sanity or salvation?

Big Daddy is a rich hotelier who, in a cracked echo of King Lear, appoints his youngest descendant to manage The Suites, a peculiar hotel located behind the Black Crown Pub. Affectionately known as Kid, his good looks and swagger can’t hide a rough childhood of strange therapies and brain operations that have awakened inner demons and psychodramas. This of course makes him eminently qualified to perform lobotomies. A failed rockstar/successful madman gets one last change to prove his worth—and regain his sanity—by turning the hotel that was once his childhood sanctuary into a lucrative business, despite a host of obstacles—including his own sister—who would love nothing more than to see him fail miserably.

Kid Lobotomy is co-created/written by Peter Milligan (Shade, the Changing Man, Brittania, Hellblazer) and illustrated by Tess Fowler (Rat Queens) with “A” covers by Fowler and both a “B” cover and an RI by comics superstar Frank Quitely (Jupiter’s Legacy, We3)!

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Preview: Kim & Kim: Love is a Battlefield #2


Written by: Magdalene Visaggio
Illustrated by: Eva Cabrera
Colored by: Claudia Aguirre
Lettered by: Zakk Saam
Cover by: Tess Fowler
Cover Colored by: Matt Wilson

The Fighting Kims are broke and stranded. So what do they do about it? The answer, as usual, is “nothing helpful.” Featuring a journey into the afterlife and an action scene in a fruit stand and also some legit relationship stuff. And now it’s an Eisner-nominated series!

IDW Publishing Announces More Black Crown Series

Situated at the cross street of Great Yarn and Canon, the Black Crown Pub anchors a peculiar street where characters commingle and corrupt. As previously announced by IDW Publishing, legendary editor Shelly Bond has opened up shop at the publisher and is hurtling towards the launch of her creator-owned imprint, Black Crown. Peter Milligan and Tess Fowler, whose Kid Lobotomy will be Black Crown’s debut title in October, now welcome some rambunctious new residents to the neighborhood.

Come December, writer Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez will combine their talents on a 6-issue miniseries with more attitude than you can shake a sword or a game controller at in Assassinistas. Octavia is an ex-hitwoman who comes out of retirement to pay for her son’s college tuition — and, with any luck, rescue the kidnapped child of one of her former bounty-hunting partners. Octavia recruits her reluctant son Dominic and his boyfriend Taylor to become the next generation of Assassinistas.

Then in January, the British invasion is back in full force with Punks Not Dead, co-created by novelist David Barnett and artist Martin Simmonds. Fergie is a lonely, bullied teenager raised by a single mom who unexpectedly finds himself in search of the dad he never knew.  But Fergie won’t be traveling alone.  For some reason a strange branch of MI5 is hot on Fergie’s trail. Could it be the ghost of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious who becomes Fergie’s ethereal companion and unlikely father figure? Bound to Fergie for reasons unknown, is Sid in search of redemption himself or out to prove that punk is alive and well 40 years later?

Right on the heels of Kid Lobotomy is the Black Crown Quarterly, a 48-page compendium of all things comics, culture, and cool. It features a wraparound cover and a regular 10-page lead story set in the Black Crown Pub by Rob Davis. Other features include a two-sided pull-out poster with a view of the street and Frank Quitely‘s Kid Lobotomy #1 B-cover, music connections via CUD: Rich and Strange and Swell Maps, Canonball Comics, an exquisite corpse, and much more.

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