Coming soon: VOID TRIP, a psychedelic sci-fi comedy adventure (preview inside)

Writer Ryan O’Sullivan (Turncoat, The Evil Within) and artist Plaid Klaus (Turncoat) will bring new readers on a road trip like no other, with their all-new sci-fi/comedy series Void Trip. Image Comics will bring this new psychedelic space trip comic series in November.

CHECK OUT THE 6-PAGE PREVIEW BELOW!

Ana and Gabe are the last two humans left alive in the galaxy. They’re low on fuel, they’re low on food, and they’re low on psychedelic space froot, but they’re high on hope and determined to make it to their promised land: the super-planet Euphoria, a true hippy paradise. This is a road trip like no other. Come along for the ride and meet the friends and enemies they make along the way, and see how the universe responds to those who dare to live freely within it.

Void Trip is Guardians of the Galaxy meets Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas—and by that I mean our heroes spend most of their time high as a kite and don’t save the galaxy even once,” said O’Sullivan. “Tragedy disguised as comedy, it will lure you in with the promise of feel-good comics, only to break your heart over and over.”

Void Trip is a drug-fueled existential road trip across the Universe,” said Klaus. “It’s a search for meaning in the present moment when there is no future for the species. All things considered, it’s a really joyous and humorous book!”

Void Trip #1 begins in comic shops Wednesday, November 22nd.

 

Stranger Reading Suggestions: Recent low cost digital comics…

Looking for something new without stretching your wallet?

I have just the things for that sequential art appetite, especially good for those who enjoy some variety in their browsing. Check out my chosen below, all fairly recent in 2016, though some suggests going back to 2015 for earlier issues. Each is available online through the Comixology digital comics reading service. Even better, each issue can be at your enjoyment for 99 cents; a price that wasn’t standard for comics of around 20 pages since the mid 1980s.

Check these out:

(click on the title of each for a direct online link to download and purchase)

GOOD NIGHT #1

Good Night

  • Writer, Artist: Fey Nefeloma
  • Released: Feb 17, 2016 via Comixology Submit by Nevo Digital
  • Price: 0.99, Age rating: 9+
  • Notes: Original webcomic at goodnight.nocturnenebula.com

“Ayesha, a bright, young girl with a fear of monsters, questions her caring father the whereabouts of her absent mother.”

A very touching black and white comic series starter with curious fantasy and light horror elements. I love the idea that behind the monsters here, where lies an interesting story that’s starting to unfold. The setting feels very modern, yet has some fairy classic fairy tale style moments. The ending left me wanting more..

KINGS AND CANVAS #3

King and Canvas

  • Writer: Neil Kleid  Artist: Jake Allen colorist : Frank Reynoso
  • Released: Jan 13, 2016 by Monkeybrain
  • Price: 0.99  Age rating: 12+

“In this corner, fighting for aid in his journey to Queensbury: Mammoth! In the other corner, the Gateway Champion, determined to keep Mammoth’s crew from heading west: Argos Dane! It’s champion vs former champion for the fate of the quest…but will Mammoth throw the bout in order to get everything he’s ever wanted since escaping Gaol? Ding, ding, kids. Grab a ringside seat for the fight of the…well, the fight of this issue, anyway.”

A fresh series I have recently jumped on to. Love the art style and fight sequences, a combination punch of shonen manga meets classic Saturday morning cartoon faire. The 3rd issue shows the pacing going well, and the characters further developed. It’s a must for anyone looking for some good adventure, a little historical fantasy, and a heavy dose of fun.

THE HALF #1

The Half

  • Writer: Justin Porter   Artist: Jeremy Stain
  • Released: Feb 17, 2016 via Comixology Submit by Half Assed Industries
  • Price: 0.99 Age rating: 17+

“A young boy finds his way amid the ashes of love and the myth of family.”

It’s a very dark series with serious matters dealing with domestic violence and psychological abuse. The first issue sets up a strong premise for what could lead to anything at the end, as there some curious hints of something far more unfamiliar afoot. The coloring is especially done well with the stylized art, for a story package that will keep my curiosity for whatever comes next.

GUARDIAN OF THE FOREST

Photo Feb 20, 10 58 28 PM

  • Writer: Robert James Mediavilla   Artist: Diana Naneva   Letterer: Danny Djeljosevic
  • Released: Feb 17, 2016 via Comixology Submit by Model Town
  • Price: 0.99  Age rating: 17+

“What is a guardian of the forest without a forest?” This question has plagued family man Ben Taylor’s life since he unwittingly unleashed a supernatural force upon his small town. Now, as the body count rises and the creature draws closer, he and his daughter will come face to face with the brutal answer.”

A dark horror short story with a surprise twist. The fantastic dramatic build-up is in huge part to the awesome art and color, shading detail, balanced with great pacing. There is much to the story for its mere 14 pages of comic art, 4 pages of straight text; with elements of religion, myth and metaphors.

EVO-Z #1

Photo Feb 20, 10 58 50 PM

  • Writer: Paolo Ferrara   Artist: Silvano Beltramo
  • Released: Feb 2, 2016 via Comixology Submit by Mache Models
  • Price: 0.99  Age rating: 12+
  • Notes: Available via Comixology Submit, though translated from the Italian free version at machemodels.com

“Hunted, lost, Thy is an exobiologist, member of a scouting mission, who finds herself plunged into an unknown universe.
Fighting for survival – in the middle of a war about to explode and of which she, inadvertently, was the fuse – Thy finds some extravagant allies, aliens with mysterious abilities and needs, with whom she will try to find a way to return to her galaxy of origin.”

Evo-Z is hard science fiction full of variety and interesting sci-fi concepts and designs. The vehicles are based upon the original concepts from Germàn Impache, a master modeler with work displayed at machemodels.com. The story has much going on, not allowing for a quick read. This is a good thing, with much to take in for its fantastic world-building and character depth present.

BANDETTE #12

Photo Feb 20, 10 59 31 PM

  • Writer: Paul Tobin Artist: Colleen Coover
  • Released: Jan 27, 2016 by Monkeybrain
  • Price: 0.99 Age rating: 12+
  • Notes: Ongoing series, in print volumes via Dark Horse Comics

“The Voice holds Daniel hostage! Bandette and her Urchins scour the city in an effort to locate their abducted friend, while Daniel looks for a way to escape his captivity, and Inspector Belgique sets his sights on apprehending The Voice himself! All the while, Monsieur and Margot narrow in on the elusive prize at the root of the whole affair: the House Of The Green Mask!”

Love the heck out of this series since the first issue. At this point in the 12th issue, our spunky protagonist is well established as a unique lead unlike any other in all the comic book lands. The classic French style setting and expanding cast of characters are further well-developed and paced well for expanded interest. While this issue is not exactly the best jumping on point, this is worthwhile mentioning to anyone looking for something newish and different with high emphasis on fun.

That’s all for now. If you checked out any of the titles presented and have thoughts to share, or have suggestions of your own (cheap or free, accessible online or app)..let us know in the comments!

-Orion T

 

 

Banned and Challenged Comics Worth Reading

Banned Book Week

Banned Books Week is now, September 27 – October 3, 2015.

Since the days of metal moveable type, select books have been the subject of scrutiny, sorted for censorship and challenged by figures of authority. In our modern times, these books now include those in sequential arts format (comic books, graphic novels).

The reasons for censorship vary further with comic art, as visuals often enhance the type and message. These comics can exhibit a powerful force for change and subversion. Such works can enlarge the meaning and stir powerful emotions. They can also change one’s growth and development, and often inspire. But creativity and imagination have no limits, and can interfere with the intended moral directions of ruling establishments.

Banned Book Week is a resistance to censorship, and a continued fight to make sure creative writings that may offend or bother select groups, are not hidden for that purpose. Within great comic selections, there are excellent readings not to be missed.

Below are my suggestions and notes for popular banned and challenged (in certain areas and times) comics. I also included many “Case Study” links to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (cbldf.org). Keep in mind, some books do carry mature reader labels or age recommendations, which usually acts as a suggestion guide or warning.

Saga

Saga

  • Written/ Artist: Brain K Vaughan,  Fiona Staples
  • Publisher: Image Comics, 2012
  • Notes: Monthly series in single issue and collected in volumes.

“The series is heavily influenced by Star Wars, and based on ideas Vaughan conceived both as a child and as a parent. It depicts two lovers from long-warring extraterrestrial races, Alana and Marko, fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their newborn daughter, Hazel, who occasionally narrates the series. “

Banned/Challenged by: Often challenged for removal, according to the American Library Association, for reasons of being “anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group ” Also, one monthly chapter of Saga was once removed by Apple for it’s mobile devices. Click here for the CBLDF Case Study.

A fantastic series for those who like a little bit of everything in their science fiction, with no limits to the imagination.

Barefoot Gen

Barefoot Gen

  • Written/Artist: Keiji Nakazawa
  • Publisher: Last Gasp 2004
  • Notes: Manga series, now collected in volumes. Originally published in Japan in Shonen Jump Magazine from 1973-1985.

“This harrowing story of Hiroshima was one of the original Japanese manga series. New and unabridged, this is an all-new translation of the author’s first-person experiences of Hiroshima and its aftermath, is a reminder of the suffering war brings to innocent people. Its emotions and experiences speak to children and adults everywhere. Volume one of this ten-part series details the events leading up to and immediately following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.”

Banned/Challenged by: Multiple educational institutions for being too graphic with violence and imagery, and also “anti-Japanese.” Click here for the CBLDF Case Study.

Otherwise critically acclaimed, and essential to those who appreciate manga as an art form in storytelling, and love historical fiction.

Bone

Bone

  • Written/Artist: Jeff Smith
  • Publisher: Originally Cartoon Books 1991 (self-published), now by Scholastic
  • Originally a series, now collected in volumes and a all-in-one omnibus

“The BONE adventures tell the story of a young bone boy, Fone Bone, and his two cousins, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone, who are banned from their homeland of Boneville. When the cousins find themselves mysteriously trapped in a wonderful but often terrifying land filled with secrets and danger – and special new friendships – they are soon caught up in adventures beyond their wildest dreams.”

Banned/Challenged by: Multiple school libraries, often challenged for multiple reasons (political stuff, drinking) and being “unsuitable” for minors. Click here for the CBLDF Case Study.

Great fantastic series, but I think a repeat target because of the cartoony appearance of lead characters. Still, a great read for all ages wanting a bit more than the typical G-rated Disney formulaic stuff in their epic fantasy literature.

Maus

Maus

  • Written/Artist: Art Spiegelman
  • Publisher: Pantheon, 1991
  • Notes: Originally published in serialized parts in Raw Magazine, 1980-1991. Now obtainable through the direct market in a complete book.

“The Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. “Maus” approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity and succeeds in ‘drawing us closer to the bleak heart of the Holocaust'”

Banned/Challenged by: Pasadena Public Library in Pasadena, California. Major book chains in Russia. Reason: anti-ethnic and unsuited for age group. Probably other areas for it’s Swastika imagery. Click here for the CBLDF Case Study.

An essential read for all those who love comics. The storytelling is emotionally gripping, and at times quite suspenseful. Also, the only comic story to win a Pulitzer Prize.

The Boys

IMG_2564

  • Written/Artist:  Garth Ennis / John McCrea
  • Publisher: Year: Dynamite, 2007
  • Notes: Monthly series, collected in volumes.

“This is going to hurt! In a world where costumed heroes soar through the sky and masked vigilantes prowl the night, someone’s got to make sure the “supes” don’t get out of line. And someone will! Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie, Mother’s Milk, The Frenchman, and The Female are The Boys: A CIA-backed team of very dangerous people, each one dedicated to the struggle against the most dangerous force on Earth – superpower! Some superheroes have to be watched. Some have to be controlled. And some of them – sometimes – need to be taken out of the picture. That’s when you call in The Boys!”

Banned/Challenged by: Qatar’s Ministry of Culture, banned and denied checkout to a reader there for being “offensive.” More info here.

Garth Ennis uses lot of dark humor in his writing, but with fantastic character development (other works including Preacher, Punisher, Hitman). The Boys is among his best creative work, though not as popular as his Preacher..but should be.

Perseopolis:

IMG_2567

  • Written/Artist: Marjane Sartrapi
  • Publisher: Pantheon 2003

“Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.”

Banned/Challenged by: Multiple schools for different reasons including “coarse language and scenes of torture.” Click here for the CBLDF Case Study.

Not only fantastic for its challenging content, but for the art style and storytelling. Though it was later adapted into an award winning animated film, this book is a better  as Marjane Sartrapi’s memoir.

Sidescrollers:

SideScrollers

  • Written/Artist: Matthew Loux
  • Publisher: Oni, 2006

“Brian, Brad and Matt are best described as lovable perpetual losers. They’re good guys who just lack direction and are all too happy to be enjoying that lazy time after high school. Their favorite thing to do in life is to play video games, eat junk food and kick around the suburban town they live in. All of this tranquil laziness is interrupted when Brian, Brad and Matt discover that the new girl Amber (of whom Matt is sweet on) is going to that night’s big local rock show with Richard, the bully football jock. Determined to steer her away from Richard, the boys are launched off of their lazy rears and forced into a grand adventure. Chased by an irate football team, a vengeful troop of Girl Scouts and a stalking evil cat that may actually be possessed by Satan, our heroes are thrust into a giant rock ‘n’ roll videogame adventure.”

Banned/Challenged by: Connecticut School District after a complaint of sexual references and profanity. Click here for the CBLDF Case Study.

Well received for its time, and often recommended on various shelves of comic stores and libraries. But, also relevant for the growing inclusion of geek culture to the current pop mainstream.

The Color of Earth

Color Of Earth

  • Written/Artist:  Kim Dong Hwa
  • Publisher: First Second 2009 (Macmillan)

“First love is never easy…Ehwa grows up helping her widowed mother run the local tavern, watching as their customers – both neighbors and strangers – look down on her mother for her single lifestyle. Their social status isolates Ehwa and her mother from the rest of the people in their quiet country village. But as she gets older and sees her mother fall in love again, Ehwa slowly begins to open up to the possibility of love in her life.”

Banned/Challenged by: Multiple institutions according to the American Library Association, as it’s on their “Top Ten most Challenged Books of 2011.” This for reasons on nudity and sexual content.  Click here for the CBLDF Case Study.

Not personally read, but I have seen this book often on suggested lists for reading.

Blankets

Blankets

  • Written/Artist:  Craig Thompson
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions, 2003

“…A rarity: a first-love story so well remembered and honest that it reminds you what falling in love feels like. …achingly beautiful.” – Time magazine Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith.”

Banned/Challenged by: The Marshall Public Library, Missouri (2006), challenged for “obscene illustrations.” Click here for the CBLDF Case Study.

A fantastic multi-dimensional read with powerful story developments do emotional themes. Also, a long read for a graphic novel at 562 pages..something to take time with, as the artwork is beautiful.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier 

Black Dossier

  • Written/Artist:  Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neill
  • Publisher: DC Comics, 2008
  • Note: Part of a series, as the full story calls for the reading of Volume 1 and 2 of the series, while this is placed before Volume 3 and the Nemo sub-series (printed by Top Shelf).

“The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen returns in this amazing new Absolute Edition! England in the mid 1950s is not the same as it was. The powers that be have instituted…some changes. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has been disbanded and disavowed, and the country is under the control of an iron-fisted regime. Now, after many years, the still youthful Mina Murray and a rejuvenated Allan Quatermain return and are in search of some answers. Answers that can only be found in a book buried deep in the vaults of their old headquarters, a book that holds the key to the hidden history of the League throughout the ages:”

Banned/Challenged by: Denied checkout to an 11-year old girl by two employees of the Jessamine County Public Library in Kentucky (who were fired shortly after), on grounds of “pornographic” content. Click here for the CBLDF Case Study.

The work of Alan Moore has been challenged multiple times from Watchmen to Neonomicon. But what sets this book apart is Alan Moore’s unique interpretation on classic characters and events. While there is nudity and sexual references, I feel it is especially important that any profound interpretation on classic literature be kept in the open to anyone, regardless of content. Plus, the series as a whole is fun.

That’s all for now. I hope you have added at least a few of these to your reading list. If you checked out any of these banned books and have thoughts to share, or have suggestions of your own..let us know in the comments.

-Orion T

Fresh, Cheap Indie Comic Reads, Right Now!

I have some short and cheap reading suggestions..

These are available online, for much less than the price of a regular-priced comic ($3.99 nowadays). This week, I bring a bundle of indie creator-driven fun, through the Comixology Submit program. Check these out:

(click on the title of each for a direct link)

Bloodworth

Bloodworth

  • Writer: Daniel Corey,  Artist: Chris Fenoglio
  • Released: Sept 16, 2015 via Comixology by DangerKatt.
  • Price: 99 cents!

A short story preview to a new series set in a not-so distant future, where social networking is taken to a new level through a cloud-based “Thoughtshare.” Enter Special Agent Bloodworth and her FBI task force, as they solve crimes by hacking minds. It’s good fun, and thought-provoking for those enjoy some modern tech-dystopian drama.

Beigey, P.I.

Beigey

  • Writer: Joe Wack,  Artist: Sebastian Kadlecik
  • Released: Sept 2, 2015 via Comixology by Low Pulp Comics.
  • Price: 99 cents!

A first issue introducing José, a private-eye in Guadalajara with a knack for trouble and solving cases. Though bumbling and unlucky, José is determined to make the best of his situations. All told in noir-style first-person narrative, with fantastic black and white art.

Gamma

Gamma

  • Writer: Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas  Artist: Ulises Farinas
  • Released: Sept 2, 2015 via Comixology by Buster + Norah Press.
  • Price: 1.99 cents!

Note: Released earlier in print via Dark Horse Comics.

What if the greatest monster catcher of them all, gave up? What if instead of trying to catch them all, he failed humanity against the sudden revolt of these pocket monsters? What will it take to bring our fallen hero back to his former glory? Read and see, with awesome (and sometimes gorey) art and throwbacks to some familiar nostalgia.

Apartment Hunting

Apartment Hunting

  • Writer: Alison Wilgus Artist: Alison Wilgus
  • Released: Sept 16, 2015 via Comixology.
  • Price:$1.99

A slice of life cheeky standalone story, on the hunting of an apartment for a friend. This involves a little fantasy, with some colorful and imaginative sequential art.

That’s all for now. If you checked out any of these these stories and have thoughts to share, or have suggestions of your own (cheap or free, accessible online or app)..let us know in the comments!

-Orion T

 

 

Animated Video Short: The Reward

The Reward from The Animation Workshop on Vimeo.

WARNING: Some graphic violence and humor within. Viewer discretion is advised.

  • Title: The Reward
  • Creators: Sun Creature Studio (for the Animation Workshop)
  • Published: January 28, 2013 (Originally for the Animation Workshop)
  • Source: Film – Sun Creature Studio official page – suncreature.com and  youtube.com/suncreaturestudio
  • Graduation film from The Animation Workshop in Denmark – official page –  www.animwork.dk/en.
  • Notes: Planned for an expanded “Tales of Alethrion” series.

Synopsis:

From suncreature.com:

“The Reward is a wordless 2D animation short, directed by Mikkel Mainz Ekljær and Kenneth Ladekjær in artistic collaboration with Glenn August, Jonas Andreassen, Josefine Hannibal, Karen Bennetzen, Ole Christian Loken, Paolo Giandoso and Tanja Nielsen.”

A tale of two bros who find a map and go on a most epic adventure. The rest you should watch.

Personal Thoughts:

This brought a lot of joy to my heart. As a fan of nearly everything that I think  here (One Piece, Adventure Time, Final Fantasy) . The animation is very stylish, and awesome in terms of what’s done with this small team involved. I like the sudden cuts, and editing used to quickly show us the passing of time, and elevation of action in the heroes time progression. I can’t think of anything else like this, in such a short time.

The writing says an incredible amount, for a short film with no words. There is a lot of wicked fun humor, and some very imaginative things mixing science fantasy; reminding me of those classic role-playing games (both digital and tabletop). I see the great story to this meaning of the term “,” and how awesome a life-long friendship will endure. You see the incredible feats they carry out; not likely done by one, or as much fun.  I also applaud the message in the end, where such a friendship can inspire a new generation in very subtle ways.

There is much to enjoy here. I would like to see more of this style and animations from Sun Creature Studio.

– Orion T