Hello and welcome to Comic Sense: April 1st Edition. I have two announcements: One – Despite April 1st being in the title, this article in no way condones April Fool’s Day. In fact, it does the opposite of that. Everything in this article is said with 100% seriousness. April Fool’s Day makes my want to bop everyone on the nose. Two – I’ve been feeling lately that the comic community has been a bit world weary. I get that, but let me tell you, there are some really amazing and wonderful comics coming out this week made by amazing and wonderful creators. I just want to wrap every creator and reader up in a big comic loving hug. Okay, that is all, you may proceed with reading my words of wisdom now.
Writers: James Tynion IV and Noah J. Yuenkel
Artist: Matt Fox
Cover Artists: Matt Fox and Alison Sampson
Fun fact: I applied to college with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. So you can bet the title UFOlogy definitely caught my attention. The first page already had me bouncing up and down with excitement. Opening on a gorgeous view of the moon overlaid with dialogue from a radio station that tracks UFO sightings and other paranormal occurrences, the first three panels had me like hells-to-the-yeah. Then I found out that the radio station was run by a father-son team, code names: Big Dipper and Little Dipper. Armed with binoculars and a walkie talkie, Little Dipper sits on the roof and keeps his eyes on the skies while his dad broadcasts from below. I LOVE this dynamic and want like twelve massive volumes just focused on the everyday lives of these two characters. Unfortunately, not everyone is as fascinated by mundane, day-to-day routines as I am, so we soon find out that there are wiggedy wack things going on in this town. Wiggedy wack alien type things, which are the best kind, obvi. The art of this book is wonderful, and glorious, and super fits the sci-fi themes. Also, Becky, another leading character, is the type of person I’d want to hang out with largely because I’d want to spend time with her family. Not that she’s a bad character, because she’s definitely not, she just has a hilarious mom and an adorable sister and I want to be at her house always. We all have those friends. I’m all about the characters in this issue and the actual actiony part is incredibly well done as well. If you don’t pick up UFOlogy tomorrow, you need to reevaluate your life choices.
No Mercy #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Alex De Campi
Artist/Cover Artist: Carla Speed McNeil
I was just having a conversation at my comic book book club the other day about how much I love when comics have a bunch of references to pop and youth culture. We were discussing Scott Pilgrim and one of my club members has never played video games or known anyone in a band, so he felt little to no connection to Scott and his friends. I, however, see several people every day who remind me of at least one of the Sex Bob-omb crew. This brought up the question: are comics alienating readers by using the habits and stereotypes of a generation? Are they dating themselves or adding to the illustrious history of comics reflecting the era in which they were written? This conversation immediately came to mind when I started reading No Mercy. The use of text messages, tweets, and Facebook posts as a storytelling medium throughout the comic was an immediate source of awesomeness for me, but it made me wonder how people who aren’t as constantly tied to their phones would react. I’m not going to lie, like characters in No Mercy, I have definitely thought in emoticons before. Actual text sent by me a few days ago: “I’m still feeling 😦 about this and I don’t want to feel :(, but I do.” So yeah, I connected a lot to the immersive use of technology in this comic. I think this is an example of a comic that really showcases a generation, but also is relatable to all readers. We’ve all been teenagers at some point and have seen the fads and trends of our youth come and go. I also hope that as No Mercy continues, it will keep showing how technologically can be an integral part of our lives without overwhelming us or making us any less intelligent or human. This issue also provides important commentary on the ‘white savior complex.’ It brings to light a lot of issues regarding Americans participating in mission trips in other countries. But it does so with humor, charm, and relatability. The combination of unique style and social commentary, as well as phenomenal art, makes No Mercy a must read on my list this week.
The Big Con Job #2
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti and Matt Brady
Artist: Dominike “Domo” Stanton
Cover Artist: Amanda Conner
Okay, wow, this is like Ocean’s 11 in the comic book world and I am super on board. However, it doesn’t have Brad Pitt, but I suppose I can forgive that (although I wouldn’t be opposed to a bit of fan service a.k.a. a smoulderingly beautiful Brad Pitt showing up when they go to San Diego *hint hint*). I like this comic because it makes you think. I’ve always felt bad at cons when certain stars don’t have a line and I’ve wondered how they feel about it. I’ve also always been curious about the stars who go to a huge amount of cons in a row. What’s that like? Do they enjoy it? It is a necessity for them? The Big Con Job gives us a little perspective into this other side. But with excitement and thievery! Although it’s a bit of a bummer to think about celebrities once their stars have started to dim and flicker, I had a lot of fun reading The Big Con Job and I’m crossing my fingers that the actual heist will be complicated and well described, Ocean’s 11 style.
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Shaun Simon
Artist: Tyler Jenkins
Cover Artist: Conor Nolan
I get the vibe that there are a lot of artists and creators feeling disheartened about the future and art’s place in society. Neverboy had a very similar beginning to The Big Con Job, with out of luck artists facing evictions, loneliness, and hopelessness. So I have an announcement to make! Artists, creators, actors, writers, all creative people, etc: YOUR WORK IS SO IMPORTANT. You provide hope and an outlet to so many people. All manner of art has gotten me through so many tough times and I know it has for others as well. Don’t stop creating and remember, even if you aren’t getting feedback, somewhere someone has stumbled on your work and has been so thankful ever since that they did. Seriously. Okay, anyhow, Neverboy. I am just as in love with this issue as I was with the first one. Neverboy #2 lets us in on more of the inner workings of the imaginary world and sets us up for what promises to be an exciting ride for the rest of the series. I just want to crawl inside Shaun Simon’s brain and hang out there for awhile. His conception of imagination proves that he has his own phenomenal imagination and I want to see more of it. Add that to the fact that the colors and art of Neverboy are 100% radical and beautiful and amazing, and you’ve got yourself a truly wonderful comic.
My Little Pony: Fiendship is Magic #1
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Brenda Hickey
Cover Artist: Amy Mebberson
So my previous experiences with My Little Pony have been few and far between. I’ve seen a couple of episodes and heard a lot about it, but that’s about the extent of things. When scrolling through the new releases this week, nothing much was super grabbing my attention, but somehow My Little Pony was. So I thought, what the heck! It’s a #1 so it’s probably a good jumping on point! Why not? As I’m sure you’re aware, My Little Pony has an interesting reputation, but I tried to put that all aside as I began to read. And I’m really happy I did. My Little Pony: Fiendship is Magic is a great book! I would love to give it to a youngin’ looking to get into comics. The main Pony, Sombra, has a sympathetic backstory that is both interesting and adorable. Although he grows up to be a bad guy, there’s that little hint of hope that he could still come back from the dark side. The comic ends in an ominous cliffhanger, bringing things full circle and keeping it interesting all the way through. I will admit, though, I lost it a little when Sombra says, “Destruction was my talent and darkness was my cutie mark.”