Rose

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Release Date: 4/12/17

Words: Meredith Finch

Pictures: Ig Guara

The Sitch:

Rose is a classic fantasy tale about a girl trying to restore balance to a broken world. We are introduced to a world where magical Guardians once ruled peacefully over a beautiful and thriving place. These Guardians were born magical protectors and had the ability to connect with companions, Khats, that helped them maintain the peace and prosperity of their world. At some point, the Guardians are targeted by evil forces until they all  but disappear and now an evil Queen rules with intimidation and fear. Enter Rose who is born with the gift of magical abilities.  She has been hidden for a good while until she starts experimenting with her power and attracts the attention of the queen. Of course Rose’s world is destroyed in the Queen’s hunt to find and destroy her, forcing Rose to grow up fast. She has to find and connect to her Khat and survive in order to become the Guardian her world needs.

The Confession:

I am so intrigued. I grew up reading and loving the fantasy genre but there was a big deficit in stories with a strong female lead taking on the metaphorical heroes journey. Finch takes the classic heroes journey and puts a fresh face on it. Even the evil antagonist is a Queen! The Queen isn’t just eye candy either, she is a complicated, independent woman who wields formidable power and is the most interesting character so far. Guara has strong work, perfect for the fantasy genre. He pays a lot of attention to detail and lighting and uses a lot of color so that the world depicted is just beautiful. The words and pictures combine into what easily feels like a labor of love in honor of the classical fantasy genre.

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Redlands #1

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Release Date: 8/9/17

Words: Jordie Bellaire

Pictures: Vanesa R. Del Rey

The Sitch:

Welcome to the sleepy, sunny town of Redlands, Florida where the police are failing to maintain control of their old-fashioned town, and a coven of killer witches that plan on taking everything from them. Bible thumpers beware.

The Confession:

If you enjoy a good southern-gothic horror, Redlands just may be what you’ve been waiting for.

The story opens in 1977. The lynching of three witches has not gone as planned. The lynching tree is on fire and the police are immobilized with terror and hiding in their precinct. The reader is only given little pieces of the puzzle. We don’t know how the lynching went wrong or why the women were put there. There is a ghost that haunts the Sheriff, hinting at deeper, darker secrets. And what is the deal with all those people locked up in the dark? With an opening such as this, everything is turned on its head. Who is more vile, the women for whatever it was they were accused of or the police for attempting to lynch them? It’s clear the witches have plans for the future of Redlands, and said plans look bloody well promising to say the least.

The art and coloring fit perfectly with the story. There is something about the scratchy, frantic way she draws the scenes that adds to the unsettled terror and chaos. The characters seems scratched out of the shadows and it’s truly creepy how the light coming from the lynching tree is the only illumination for the things coming out of the dark. It’s a horror story lover’s dream.

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I Hate Fairyland

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Release Date: #1 – 10/14/15, Vol. 1 – 4/20/16

Words: Skottie Young

Pictures: Skottie Young

The Sitch:

How did I not review this when it first came out? SO many apologies…

Meet Gertrude, a six year old who has been stuck in Fairyland for almost thirty years. She is willing to hack and slash her way through anything to get back home. Even a magical place like Fairyland will lose its magic and drive a girl a little mad if she can’t leave. You do not want to miss this blood soaked journey to see who survives the girl who hates fairyland.

The Confession:

Skottie Young. That’s all you need to know to make you want this book. I Hate Fairyland is his debut epic fantasy for Image that is sort of  like Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz, if Alice or Dorothy were more like Tank Girl. Needless to say, this is not one for the kiddies. Every issue is what it is, a fun romp through a whimsical and unpredictable world. Who doesn’t remember what it was like to dream of being some perfect, happy protagonist on some magical adventure in a world of marvels, like talking wondrous creatures that answer in riddles and fart glitter? I mean, who wouldn’t have a good time? What about after thirty years of the same? Could you still be happy and chippy or would you be bitter and completely mad? Could you still greet the challenge of crossing ice cream mountains with joy and grace or would you want to throttle the next muffin fluffin unicorn that farted in your general direction? Anything goes in the world of Skottie Young.  The results are awesomely funny.

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Glitterbomb

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Release Date: #1 released 9/7/16, Vol. 1 – 3/1/17

Words: Jim Zub

Pictures: Djibril Morissette-Phan

The Sitch:

Farrah Durante is a middle-age actress on the hunt for her next gig in an industry where youth is valued more than experience. Her frustrations become an emotional lure for something even uglier and horrifying than Hollywood itself. Something dark and wicked comes to Farrah, and is eager to help her exact some sweet revenge on the shallow, celebrity obsessed culture of the entertainment industry. Hollywood feeds on the insecurities, desires, and fears of its victims, it’s about time for someone or something hungry enough to bite back.

The Confession:

This horror story about fame and failure is pretty enjoyable. Zub makes some strong character development with Farrah from the start. The reader is pulled in fast and furious into the pain and anguish she has to endure navigating the entertainment world. I’m all for complex female leads, and Farrah is one to root for. As much as I hate Hollywood and it’s messed up culture, I still follow it. I’m still a sucker to watching it and enjoying it for the most part. I also hate it for its power to pull in the more gullible and vulnerable, making victims and monsters of so many. It is such an ugly thing, what Hollywood does to women in particular. It’s disgusting to see the prevalence and enthusiasm for seeing older men with younger woman. It’s disgusting to see women turn against each other and themselves in order to survive. That’s why it’s so satisfying to see the industry receive its due, and it’s even more fun to see it done with such violence and gore. The art is dark and beautiful. The line work and layout is paced just right, which adds to the dread feeling brought out from the subdued colors. The book feels taught and miserable at the same time, just right for this kind of horror story.

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Bitch Planet #3

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Release Date:  2/18/15

Words:  Kelly Sue DeConnick

Pictures:  Robert Wilson IV

The Sitch:

Bitch Planet #3 is the first of special third issues in which there will be a guest artist and the narrative will focus on the back-story of one of Bitch Planet’s inmates.  This one is focused on Penelope “Penny” Rolle.  Penny Rolle is a repeat offender of “insubordination,” “assault,” and “aesthetic offenses.”  Obviously, Penny is non-compliant.  This is her origin story.

The Confession:

I normally don’t revisit ongoing books on this blog because I try to focus on what’s new, the potential new starts on some different reads for the usual pull list.  Only this week, I had to break the cycle.  I have to admit I eagerly read, and devoured, this one before any of the others.  I usually give #1’s the first, quick read of the week.  This time I indulged.

My confession is really a thank you letter to DeConnick.  As I have said before, somewhere in my review of Bitch Planet #1, this is the comic I’ve been waiting for since I picked up my first comic…. way, way back in the day.  When I was a kid there just were not many female characters I could relate to or admire.  It was so disappointing, not to mention frustrating.  I didn’t want to see women depicted as the scantily clad trophy on the arm of a man, a sidekick or some other insignificant supporting character.  I wanted to see more diverse women kick ass.  Where were the female led books?  Being an Asian American female I would be sorely disappointed for an unfairly long time.

Since then I’ve made do, like many of us do every day.  I grew up and I learned how to compromise. It wasn’t perfect but neither is the world we live in every day.  In recent years there have been advances but it’s painfully slow.  We still have a long way to go despite it being 2015.

And then Bitch Planet happened.

Bitch Planet #3 tackles body politics, racism, and the blatant misogyny of our society. Penny Rolle is my hero and spirit guide.  Just like the comic book itself, she is unapologetic.  I love her with all my heart.  In this book we learn her origin story, why she is where she has ended up.  Despite the attempts of “the fathers” trying to help her be happy, Penny digs in and takes a stand for herself.  She is not afraid to take up space and be her own person.  She doesn’t struggle.  She just is.  Oh my goddess she is what I strive to be. She is what I hope my daughters strive to be.

Non-compliant for life.

Guest artist, Wilson, is awesome in highlighting Penny’s story.  He has a softer edge than De Landro but makes no less of a point.  His renditions of the compliant women and superior “fathers” are in stark contrast to every non-compliant inch of Penny Rolle.  And his work on the last page was so satisfying I had tears in my eyes.  No one can break a woman like Penny Rolle.

Bold, Beautiful and Baaaaaad is an understatement.

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If you aren’t reading Bitch Planet already, hurry up and get it on your pull list.  Share it even. You owe it to yourself, your mother, your sister, your daughter, and your lover.

Bitch Planet #1

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Release Date:  12/10/14

Words:  Kelly Sue DeConnick

Pictures:  Valentine De Landro

The Sitch:

It’s the not too distant future where women who are guilty of being “non-compliant” are shipped off to a distant planet for a life of incarceration, they are told they are to “live out your lives in penitence and service” for their so-called crimes.  This planet is known to all as “Bitch Planet,” despite it’s supporters’ preference of “Auxiliary Compliance Outpost.” Earth as we know it is a man’s world and women must comply with the standards of their society.  We all know what that means, thin, white, sexy, living to please the man, the same old tired story we live every day.  Well, at least some of us.

The Confession:

Image has tag-lined Bitch Planet as, “Think Margaret Atwood meets Inglorious Bastards,” as if I needed any more incentive to pick this first issue up.  This is a sci-fi, women-in-prison with a 60’s/70’s exploitation feel kind of story.  It’s the future, but really, it’s right now.  It’s like Orange is the New Black but even better.  This is the comic everyone, not just every woman, needs to read.  It is the comic every woman, every person who ever felt not up to the standard society dictates, has been waiting for.  Have you ever felt unable, tired of, or unwilling to play the same tired old reindeer games that are being shoved down your soul every minute of every day in this screwed up society we call our world?  Are you non-compliant?

DeConnick is awesome.  She writes about characters that aren’t just strong, they persevere.  The world would be a far better place if there were more of these characters in existence, especially in the comic world.  She writes of women of all shapes and colors that aren’t afraid of who they are and refuse to apologize for it.  These are the women you’ve been looking for, the ones who truly kick ass. Penny Rolle is larger than life and proud of it.  Now, when I feel the need to raise the proverbial middle finger, I will channel by inner Penny Rolle and not feel one ounce of shame.  The plot twist at the end will hit you in the gut if you’re paying enough attention and this story deserves your attention. Give it due respect.  Read it slow, read it twice, and don’t skip any of the pages, including the back page of ads.  It all deserves your attention.

De Landro is excellent in his artwork here.  He has to draw a lot of female nudity and does so with respect, none of that sexualization of women is depicted.  This guy gets it.  It’s harsh and gritty and real, melding seamlessly with the story line.  He can also draw facial expressions with perfection.  He makes those punches to your gut that much more harsher with his talent.  Take the time to notice his details while reading what DeConnick is saying.  There is nothing disappointing here.

I cannot recommend this book enough.  I want to buy one for every woman I know, the ones who are fighting the good fight daily and the ones living in denial.  I want to buy this for every man, too.  As Eve Ensler said, “You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren’t you standing with us?  Why aren’t you driven to the point of madness and action by the rape and humiliation of us?”

Get this book.  Now.

Non-compliant for life.

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Goners #1

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Release Date:   10/22/14

Words:  Jacob Semahn

Pictures:  Jorge Corona

The Sitch:

The Latimer family is humanity’s lone defense against the supernatural forces that plague the mortal world and they have been throughout history.  The youngest Latimer’s, Zoe and Josiah, are forced rather suddenly into the depths of the family legacy one night, scared and unprepared.

The Confession:

Goners is something like Goonies, Johnny Quest, and Supernatural all rolled into one.  It’s an homage to those adventure stories many of us grew up on and love with a fierceness only youth can conjure up.  The themes of undeniable family bonds, loyalty, and honor of family history is strong in this adventure story with a bite.  Older readers will find this as a good bit of nostalgia, the younger ones can enjoy it just as well because there is a timelessness about this kind of story.  It’s just a fun read.

The art pops.  It’s a bit manga-esque. Of course, the story does involve the undead and people do die in violent ways so there is a fair share of blood.  This isn’t for the littlest of readers because, duh, adventures that involve the young being forced to grow up and face off monsters isn’t exactly bedtime story material.  But what is depicted isn’t over the top at all and, in fact, is quite pretty to look at.  The art matches the tone of the story, there is a hopeful innocence in it that makes adventure a thrilling prospect, especially on those days in childhood when there is nothing better to do than run around with your equally bored friends and use your imagination.

All I can say is that if you are the type that gets the feels over Goonies, you may as well pick up Goners.

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