Tag Archives: the impending blindness of billie scott

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Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2020

2020 definitely felt like a year where I embraced comics in all their different formats and genres from the convenient, satisfying graphic novella to the series of loosely connected and curated one shots and even the door stopper of an omnibus/hardcover or that charming webcomic that comes out one or twice a week on Instagram. This was partially due to the Covid-19 pandemic that shut down comics’ traditional direct market for a bit so I started reviewing webcomics, trade paperbacks, graphic novels and nonfiction even after this supply chain re-opened. I also co-hosted and edited two seasons of a podcast about indie comics where we basically read either a trade every week for discussion, and that definitely meant spending more time with that format. However, floppy fans should still be happy because I do have a traditional ongoing series on my list as well as some minis.

Without further ado, here are my favorite comics of 2020.

Marvels Snapshots: X-Men #1 – But Why Tho? A Geek Community

10. Marvels Snapshots (Marvel)

Curated by original Marvels writer Kurt Busiek and with cover art by original Marvels artist Alex Ross, Marvels Snapshots collects seven perspectives on on the “major” events of the Marvel Universe from the perspectives of ordinary people from The Golden Age of the 1940s to 2006’s Civil War. It’s cool to get a more character-driven and human POV on the ol’ corporate IP toy box from Alan Brennert and Jerry Ordway exploring Namor the Submariner’s PTSD to Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, and Benjamin Dewey showing the real reason behind Johnny Storm’s airhead celebrity act. There’s also Mark Russell and Ramon Perez’s take on the classic Captain America “Madbomb” storyline, Barbara Kesel’s and Staz Johnson’s sweet, Bronze Age-era romance between two first responders as the Avengers battle a threat against the city, and Saladin Ahmed and Ryan Kelly add nuance to the superhuman Civil War by showing how the Registration Act affects a Cape-Killer agent as well as a young elemental protector of Toledo, Ohio, who just wants to help his community and do things like purify water. However, the main reason Marvels Snapshots made my “favorite” list was Jay Edidin and Tom Reilly‘s character-defining work showing the pre-X-Men life of Cyclops as he struggles with orphan life, is inspired by heroes like Reed Richards, and lays the groundwork for the strategist, leader, and even revolutionary that appears in later comics.

9. Fangs (Tapas)

Fangs is cartoonist Sarah Andersen’s entry into the Gothic romance genre and was a light, funny, and occasionally sexy series that got me through a difficult year. Simply put, it follows the relationship of a vampire named Elsie and a werewolf named Jimmy, both how they met and their life together. Andersen plays with vampire and werewolf fiction tropes and sets up humorous situations like a date night featuring a bloody rare steak and a glass of blood instead of wine, Jimmy having an unspoken animosity against mail carriers, and just generally working around things like lycanthropy every 28 days and an aversion to sunlight. As well as being hilarious and cute, Fangs shows Sarah Andersen leveling up as an artist as she works with deep blacks, different eye shapes and textures, and more detailed backgrounds to match the tone of her story while not skimping on the relatable content that made Sarah’s Scribbles an online phenomenon.

8. Heavy #1-3 (Vault)

I really got into Vault Comics this year. (I retroactively make These Savage Shores my favorite comic of 2019.) As far as prose, I mainly read SF, and Vault nicely fills that niche in the comics landscape and features talented, idiosyncratic creative teams. Heavy is no exception as Max Bemis, Eryk Donovan, and Cris Peter tell the story of Bill, who was gunned down by some mobsters, and now is separated from his wife in a place called “The Wait” where he has to set right enough multiversal wrongs via violence to be reunited with her in Heaven. This series is a glorious grab bag of hyperviolence, psychological examinations of toxic masculinity, and moral philosophy. Heavy also has a filthy and non-heteronormative sense of humor. Donovan and Peter bring a high level of chaotic energy to the book’s visuals and are game for both tenderhearted flashbacks as well as brawls with literal cum monsters. In addition to all this, Bemis and Donovan aren’t afraid to play with and deconstruct their series’ premise, which is what makes Heavy my ongoing monthly comic.

Amazon.com: Maids eBook: Skelly, Katie, Skelly, Katie: Kindle Store

7. Maids (Fantagraphics)

Writer/artist Katie Skelly puts her own spin on the true crime genre in Maids, a highly stylized account of Christine and Lea Papin murdering their employers in France during the 1930s. Skelly’s linework and eye popping colors expertly convey the trauma and isolation that the Papins go through as they are at the beck and call of the family they work almost 24/7. Flashbacks add depth and context to Christine and Lea’s characters and provide fuel to the fire of the class warfare that they end up engaging in. Skelly’s simple, yet iconic approach character design really allowed me to connect with the Papins and empathize with them during the build-up from a new job to murder and mayhem. Maids is truly a showcase for a gifted cartoonist and not just a summary of historical events.

6. Grind Like A Girl (Gumroad/Instagram)

In her webcomic Grind Like A Girl, cartoonist Veronica Casson tells the story of growing up trans in 1990s New Jersey. The memoir recently came to a beautiful conclusion with Casson showing her first forays into New York, meeting other trans women, and finding a sense of community with them that was almost the polar opposite of her experiences in high school. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the evolution of Veronica Casson’s art style during different periods of her life from an almost Peanuts vibe for her childhood to using more flowing lines, bright colors, and ambitious panel layouts as an older teen and finally an adult. She also does a good job using the Instagram platform to give readers a true “guided view” experience and point out certain details before putting it all together in a single page so one can appreciate the comic at both a macro/micro levels. All in all, Grind Like A Girl is a personal and stylish coming of age memoir from Veronica Casson, and I look forward to seeing more of her work.

5. Papaya Salad (Dark Horse)

Thai/Italian cartoonist Elisa Macellari tells an unconventional World War II story in Papaya Salad, a recently translated history comic about her great uncle Sompong, who just wanted to see the world. However, he ended up serving with the Thai diplomatic corps in Italy, Germany, and Austria during World War II. Macellari uses a recipe for her great uncle’s favorite dish, papaya salad, to structure the comic, and her work has a warm, dreamlike quality to go with the reality of the places that Sampong visits and works at. Also, it’s very refreshing to get a non-American or British perspective on this time in history as Sampong grapples with the shifting status of Thailand during the war as well as the racism of American soldiers, who celebrate the atomic bomb and lump him and his colleagues with the Japanese officers, and are not shown in a very positive light. However, deep down, Papaya Salad is a love story filled with small human moments that make life worth living, like appetizing meals, jokes during dark times, and faith in something beyond ourselves. It’s a real showcase of the comics medium’s ability to tell stories from a unique point of view.

4. Pulp (Image)

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (with colorist Jacob Phillips) are two creators whose work has graced my “favorite comics” list many times. And this time they really outdid themselves with the graphic novella Pulp about the final days of Max Winters, a gunslinger-turned-Western dime novelist. It’s a character study peppered with flashbacks as Phillips and Phillips use changes in body posture and color palette to show Max getting older while his passion for resisting those who would exploit others is still intact. Basically, he can shoot and rob fascists just like he shot and robbed cattle barons back in the day. Brubaker and Phillips understand that genre fiction doesn’t exist in a vacuum and is informed by the historical context around it, which is what makes Pulp such a compelling read. If you like your explorations of the banality of evil and creeping specter of fascism with heists, gun battles, and plenty of introspection, then this is the comic for you.

3. My Riot (Oni Press)

Music is my next favorite interest after comics so My Riot was an easy pick for my favorite comics list. The book is a coming of age story filtered through 1990s riot girl music from writer Rick Spears and artist Emmett Helen. It follows the life of Valerie, who goes from doing ballet and living a fairly conservative suburban life to being the frontwoman and songwriter for a cult riot girl band. Much of this transformation happens through Helen’s art and colors as his palette comes to life just as Valerie does when she successfully calls out some audience members/her boyfriend for being sexist and patronizing. The comic itself also takes on a much more DIY quality with its layouts and storytelling design as well as how the characters look and act. My Riot is about the power of music to find one’s identify and true self and build a community like The Proper Ladies do throughout the book. Valerie’s arc is definitely empowering and relatable for any queer kid, who was forced to conform to way of life and thinking that wasn’t their own.

2. Getting It Together #1-3 (Image)

I’ll let you in on a little secret: slice of life is my all-time favorite comic book genre. So, I was overjoyed when writers Sina Grace and Omar Spahi, artist Jenny D. Fine, and colorist Mx. Struble announced that they were doing a monthly slice of life comic about a brother, sister, and their best friend/ex-boyfriend (respectively) set in San Francisco that also touched on the gay and indie music scene. And Getting It Together definitely has lifted up to my pre-release hype as Grace and Spahi have fleshed out a complex web of relationships and drama with gorgeous and occasionally hilarious art by Fine and Struble. There are gay and bisexual characters all over the book with different personalities and approaches to life, dating, and relationships, which is refreshing too. Grace, Spahi, and Fine also take some time away from the drama to let us know about the ensemble cast’s passions and struggles like indie musician Lauren’s lifelong love for songwriting even if her band has a joke name (Nipslip), or her ex-boyfriend Sam’s issues with mental health. I would definitely love to spend more than four issues with these folks.

1. The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott (Avery Hill)

My favorite comic of 2020 was The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott , a debut graphic novel by cartoonist Zoe Thorogood. The premise of the comic is that Billie is an artist who is going blind in two weeks, and she must come up with some paintings for her debut gallery show during that time period. The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott boasts an adorably idiosyncratic cast of characters that Thorogood lovingly brings to life with warm visuals and naturalistic dialogue as Billie goes from making art alone in her room to making connections with the people around her, especially Rachel, a passionate folk punk musician. The book also acts as a powerful advocate for the inspirational quality of art and the act of creation. Zoe Thorogood even creates “art within the art” and concludes the story with the different portraits that Billie painted throughout her travels. The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott was the hopeful comic that I needed in a dark year and one I will cherish for quite some time as I ooh and aah over Thorogood’s skill with everything from drawing different hair styles to crafting horrific dream sequences featuring eyeballs.

Review: The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott

Billie Scott is going blind. Billie Scott also has to paint ten pictures for an art gallery exhibition. She has two weeks to do it before she goes completely blind.

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott is a journey of art and creativity exploring the world around us and reminding us of how much we truly don’t see.

Story: Zoe Thorgood
Art: Zoe Thorgood

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon

Avery Hill Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott is a coronation for writer/artist Zoe Thorogood as one of the great cartoonists of this decade. The comic chronicles the life of Billie Scott, who has been contracted by an art gallery to make ten paintings for an exhibition. However, an altercation that detaches her retina, throws a spanner in the works, and she learns that she is going to go blind in a couple weeks. This diagnosis acts as a kind of wake-up call as she actually interacts with her flatmates and hits the road to London meeting a dynamic cast of characters along the way while also making wonderful art that truly captures the human condition.

This memorable cast of characters also provides Thorogood with an opportunity to create a kind of art within the art as she draws the sketches of the subjects that lead to Billie’s paintings. This comic shows that she is fascinated by people and their inner workings, and Billie Scott has a sense of hope and wonder despite its protagonist’s loss of sight. Along with Billie, Thorogood populates her comic with a wonderful cast of characters from folk punk artist Rachel (who keeps getting thrown out of bars) and bride-to-be Sara to Falklands war veteran Arthur and mysterious “cool girl” Iris. Billie builds relationships with them that directly influences her art.

To lead off, Billie Scott has the most authentic portrayal of the lonely and isolating nature of the creative act in almost any work of art sans the early lyrics of Morrissey. Zoe Thorogood plays with expectations and opens the comic on a group of flatmates who one might think might be the ensemble cast that surrounds the then-unseen Billie Scott. But, apparently, they’ve never met or spoken to her. Then, cut to utter isolation and the gorgeous dark pinks that Thorogood punctuates the comic with. Throughout the early part of The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott, she portrays her protagonist as being wholly focused on her art at the detriment of having a social life, support system, or proper sleep schedule. Billie unpacks this feeling later on in conversations with folks at the shelter and trash dump that she crashes at in London as she comes to terms with her earlier isolation and the new community that she’s found by the end of the comic.

Zoe Thorogood’s loose line work, Ben Day dots, and varying panel structures keeps Billie Scott fresh and comforting except in its several tense sequences like Billie trying to figure out what to do with herself when she books a train ticket to an unknown destination after learning she will go blind. Billie uses this train trip to try on some new personalities even though she ends up mostly hanging out with Rachel in the end. One of these personalities is hen party confidant as her active listening and keen observations almost call off a wedding while Thorogood captures the zesty energy of a night out with spots of color and swirly lines and layouts. It’s a shot of an adrenaline for the basically housebound Billie and launches her journey to meet and draw people. (And one cute dog.)

The supporting character that gets the most depth is Rachel as Zoe Thorogood digs deep into her family background, her passion for activism, and creates a nice rapport between her and Billie through dialogue and facial expressions. Like all great friendships, there is some tension later on the book, but Thorogood develops it organically and connects it to Billie’s past isolation and extreme introversion. She uses a nine panel grid for many of Billie and Rachel’s every day interactions with Rachel trying to play a gig at a local bar while Billie paints in an alley that gives feeling of comfort and routine that later gets disrupted. Also, Rachel and the aforementioned Arthur are a gateway to the communities of Third Chance (A shelter) and Funland from where Billie meets even more interesting people and finds more subjects for her paintings. It also showcases Zoe Thorogood’s ability to write different character voices.

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott is a glorious and heart-rending look at creativity and relationships via the care-filled art and poignant writing of Zoe Thorogood. It shows all the bumps and bruises on the way to finding a found family and really captures what it’s like to deal with some life changing shit and come out pretty okay on the other side. I definitely look forward to checking out Thorogood’s future comics after being truly touched by this one.

Story: Zoe Thorogood Art: Zoe Thorogood
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Avery Hill provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: Amazon

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

7 Good Reasons Not to Grow Up (Graphix) – Why would any kid want to be an adult? This graphic novel explores the challengese of growing up.

Great Naval Battles of the Twentieth Century (Dead Reckoning) – In this collection, Jean-Yves Delitte and Giuseppe Baiguera plunge you into the heart of three of the twentieth century’s greatest naval battles: Tsushima (1905), Jutland (1916), and Midway (1942).

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott (Avery Hill Publishing) – Billie Scott is an artist. Her debut gallery exhibition opens in a few months. Within a fortnight she’ll be completely blind. Already getting tons of praise, read our early review here.

Miskatonic #1 (AfterShock) – Miskatonic Valley holds many mysteries – cultists worshipping old gods, a doctor deadset on resurrecting the recently deceased, a house overrun by rats in the walls – but none more recent than a series of bombings targeting the Valley’s elite.

Plutocracy (NBM) – 2051. The world’s largest company, The Company, has seized power on a planetary scale and runs the world as if it were a business. In a plutocracy, the richer one is, the more powerful one is. A citizen decides to explore how the world came to this situation.

Power Rangers #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A new era for the Power Rangers is here and it’s a perfect opportunity to dive in and see what you’ve been missing.

Punchline #1 (DC Comics) – The hit character gets a spotlight in a not so veiled exploration of Trump’s America.

Scarenthood #1 (IDW Publishing) – With the kids away the parents away in this ghost-hunting/demonic entity fighting twist of a story.

Terminal Punks #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – Mutant animals are unleashed at an airport and four punk teens take them on.

Taskmaster #1 (Marvel) – Framed for the murder of Maria Hill, Taskmaster is on the run attempting to survive and prove his innocence.

Early Review: The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott is a coronation for writer/artist Zoe Thorogood as one of the great cartoonists of this decade. The comic chronicles the life of Billie Scott, who has been contracted by an art gallery to make ten paintings for an exhibition. However, an altercation that detaches her retina, throws a spanner in the works, and she learns that she is going to go blind in a couple weeks. This diagnosis acts as a kind of wake-up call as she actually interacts with her flatmates and hits the road to London meeting a dynamic cast of characters along the way while also making wonderful art that truly captures the human condition.

This memorable cast of characters also provides Thorogood with an opportunity to create a kind of art within the art as she draws the sketches of the subjects that lead to Billie’s paintings. This comic shows that she is fascinated by people and their inner workings, and Billie Scott has a sense of hope and wonder despite its protagonist’s loss of sight. Along with Billie, Thorogood populates her comic with a wonderful cast of characters from folk punk artist Rachel (who keeps getting thrown out of bars) and bride-to-be Sara to Falklands war veteran Arthur and mysterious “cool girl” Iris. Billie builds relationships with them that directly influences her art.

To lead off, Billie Scott has the most authentic portrayal of the lonely and isolating nature of the creative act in almost any work of art sans the early lyrics of Morrissey. Zoe Thorogood plays with expectations and opens the comic on a group of flatmates who one might think might be the ensemble cast that surrounds the then-unseen Billie Scott. But, apparently, they’ve never met or spoken to her. Then, cut to utter isolation and the gorgeous dark pinks that Thorogood punctuates the comic with. Throughout the early part of The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott, she portrays her protagonist as being wholly focused on her art at the detriment of having a social life, support system, or proper sleep schedule. Billie unpacks this feeling later on in conversations with folks at the shelter and trash dump that she crashes at in London as she comes to terms with her earlier isolation and the new community that she’s found by the end of the comic.

Zoe Thorogood’s loose line work, Ben Day dots, and varying panel structures keeps Billie Scott fresh and comforting except in its several tense sequences like Billie trying to figure out what to do with herself when she books a train ticket to an unknown destination after learning she will go blind. Billie uses this train trip to try on some new personalities even though she ends up mostly hanging out with Rachel in the end. One of these personalities is hen party confidant as her active listening and keen observations almost call off a wedding while Thorogood captures the zesty energy of a night out with spots of color and swirly lines and layouts. It’s a shot of an adrenaline for the basically housebound Billie and launches her journey to meet and draw people. (And one cute dog.)

The supporting character that gets the most depth is Rachel as Zoe Thorogood digs deep into her family background, her passion for activism, and creates a nice rapport between her and Billie through dialogue and facial expressions. Like all great friendships, there is some tension later on the book, but Thorogood develops it organically and connects it to Billie’s past isolation and extreme introversion. She uses a nine panel grid for many of Billie and Rachel’s every day interactions with Rachel trying to play a gig at a local bar while Billie paints in an alley that gives feeling of comfort and routine that later gets disrupted. Also, Rachel and the aforementioned Arthur are a gateway to the communities of Third Chance (A shelter) and Funland from where Billie meets even more interesting people and finds more subjects for her paintings. It also showcases Zoe Thorogood’s ability to write different character voices.

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott is a glorious and heart-rending look at creativity and relationships via the care-filled art and poignant writing of Zoe Thorogood. It shows all the bumps and bruises on the way to finding a found family and really captures what it’s like to deal with some life changing shit and come out pretty okay on the other side. I definitely look forward to checking out Thorogood’s future comics after being truly touched by this one.

Story: Zoe Thorogood Art: Zoe Thorogood
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Avery Hill provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Pre-Order (8th October (UK) / 14th October (USA)): Amazon

Comics Deserve Better Episode 5: “Folklords by Matt Kindt, Matt Smith, Chris O’Halloran, Jim Campbell”

In this episode of Comics Deserve Better, Brian, Darci, and Logan discuss cartoonist Kate Leth‘s pattern of racism, transphobia, and fatphobia. Logan shares some of his personal experiences with Leth, and this is very much editorial and not news reporting. Next, they talk about some great indie comics like Undone by Blood, Helena Rose, “Checking Out” from Medium, and the Manga Classics series as well as upcoming titles like Black Mask StudiosThe Last Song #3 and The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott.

Finally, his week’s “Main Course” is Matt Kindt and Matt Smith‘s fantasy series Folklords, which leads to a hearty debate among the hosts and many Tolkien references. (Episode art by Jeff Smith)

Avery Hill Publishing Reveals its 2020 Titles

Avery Hill Publishing has released the first look at their 2020 titles. Check out the video and the titles below.

Victory Point
by Owen D. Pomery
@odpomery / owenpomery.com

Victory Point

What We Don’t Talk About
by Charlot Kristensen
@zolwia / charlotkristensen.com

What We Don’t Talk About

Zebedee and the Valentines
by Abs Bailey
@barbawk / barbawk.com

Zebedee and the Valentines

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott
by Zoe Thorogood
@zoethorogood / zlthorogood.artstation.com

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott

The Flood That Did Come
by Patrick Wray
@patrickwray1 / patrickwray.com

The Flood That Did Come

Breakwater
by Katriona Chapman
@katchapman / katrionachapman.com

Breakwater
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