Release Date: #1 released 9/7/16, Vol. 1 – 3/1/17
Words: Jim Zub
Pictures: Djibril Morissette-Phan
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.
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.
Release Date: 2/25/15
Words: Ryan Ferrier
Pictures: Devaki Neogi
A rich metropolitan city is surrounded by three boroughs, each with it’s own gang defending their own territories. The Fever is a group of five women undertaking the self appointed task of protecting their home, Old Beach. When Machete Betty brutally kills a rival gang member in self defense, a chain reaction of retaliation, gang warfare and unlikely allies is set. This is the set up for a four issue run in which The Fever – Machete Betty, Derby Girl, Bloody Mary, Daisy Chain, and Violet Volt, defend their home and each other at all costs.
This book is like The Outsiders and The Warriors… if they starred some kick ass women. Which, I personally, think is a long time coming. I find it much more interesting to see how a group of strong women can band together and be willing to die for each other than witness one more story depicting the same old bro code. Curb Stomp has a lot of potential, with a group of protagonists that are culturally diverse and all female. From the beginning we know that The Fever are not in it for the drugs or the money, they are just out to keep their home safe and taking care of their own. I like how each member of The Fever was quickly introduced through brief dialogue exchanges and manners of dress just enough to reveal their different personalities, complete with badass cool names. Each woman has a voice and each make a point of being heard.
The art is gritty and raw. It goes along well with the punk feel of the story. It’s not “pretty,” but not much of Old Beach is. The rash reality of this world is heartbreaking and brutal. As violent as the title sounds, the actual brutality of the act is not depicted, leaving much to the reader’s imagination. Sometimes what is suggested can be more powerful than seeing it painted out for you. Even scarier is the aftermath, the consequences of a single, uncontrolled moment. The art and colors emphasize this feeling of desperation and brutality.
Curb Stomp is not one for everyone’s tastes, but that is why Indie books are such a treasure trove for unexpected stories. If you are one of those more adventurous souls that like a little diversity and unapologetic, badass women doing it for themselves, this is something worth checking out.
Release Date: 8/6/14
Words: Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman
Pictures: Afua Richardson
This is a 1-5 issue, weekly throughout August book. The title Genius is in reference to a seventeen year old girl named Destiny from South Central L.A. Only she, with her intellect and will, has been able to round up the gangs, unifying the neighborhood against the oppressive “justice” system they have been at the mercy of all their lives.
Since it is still a rare thing to see compelling, strong women of color lead a good comic, I found this to be a refreshing read. Destiny’s back story is given quickly, but by the end the reader is interested and engaged with this complex character. She is a young woman who could have succeeded in any industry had she been born into that world, but she is a product of her environment. She is the most interesting anti-hero I’ve read in a long time. I won’t give away more because the joy is in the journey. Just read it.
The art is a highly stylized version of reality. Some panels were too dark, making it difficult to see clearly, but for the most part it was pretty shiny. The inside is not as sexualized as the cover may suggest. The women are definitely not exploited here.
If you are looking for an original and refreshing read, are into stories of the evolution of urban warfare, enjoy those stories where it’s unclear if the main character is a protagonist or antagonist, or just want to read a story focused on a strong woman of color… give this one your time.