Okay, here’s a little Julia life story time that will hopefully help you understand why this article is shorter than usual and lacks a little classic Julia flair. My thesis is due tomorrow. 50 pages of Batman-y madness and I’m so close to being done, but I’m not quite there. I’m 43 pages in and I’ve hit that wall of having to do small nitpicky formatting things and expanding things to fill seven more pages and therefore my comic reviewing skills are feeling very under the weather and also I kind of want to cry/bang my head against a wall. Please forgive me, I will be back in full force within the week, I promise! In the meantime, if you have any questions about the Comics Code and Batman, lmk cause I can rattle off a whole thesis worth of information at you. Never fear though, I did read comics this week and I do have some things to say about them so here you go!
Beyond Belief #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Writers: Ben Acker and Ben Blacker
Artist: Phil Hester
Cover Artist: Annie Wu
Beyond Belief was exactly what I needed this week. It’s smart, witty, hilarious, and fun. Despite being a comic about a haunted house, it’s not the least bit scary, and that’s totally okay. Frank and Sadie are fighters of the paranormal and no ghosts, ghouls, or goblins can get past them. While Sadie enjoys the hunt, Frank is a little more hesitant, but with a little persuading from his wife and a lot of whiskey, he’ll get rid of your ghost in a jiffy. All the dialogue sounds like it should be crackling out of vintage tube radio speakers on a stormy night and it is absolute perfection. It plays on all the classic scary movie tropes, with talking dolls, angry ghosts that don’t know why they’re angry, doors that lead to the wrong rooms, and the most adorable monster under the bed I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I just want to hug him and let him live under my bed. What a cutie. Beyond Belief #0, which appears at the end of this issue, is just as charming and wonderful as the main story. It makes my origin story loving heart go, “Squee!” and my only regret is that it isn’t longer. This feels like the kind of story that should be lying around in a cabin to be read before bed when the coyotes are howling and the owls are hooting and the closest thing you have to technology is a crank operated flashlight. Now I really want to go listen to The Thrilling Adventure Hour Podcast.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artists: Clay Mann and Butch Guice
Cover Artist: Das Pastoras
Ninjak continues to be perfect and ninja-y. I loved it and it is definitely worth reading and it should probably be read whilst dressed in all black, wearing a mask, and sitting in some absurd location.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist/Cover Artist: Kagan McLeod
So there’s like a million amazing things going on in Kaptara. Let’s start with the most initially obvious. The art. Wow. I’ve been excited about this comic for months. When I first saw the preview pages, it was love at first sight because the colors are just so woofta and the drawing is just so wowza and the whole package is just so splendiferous and fantabulous. It’s like an 80s sci-fi feature film mixed with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy plus a little bit of Easter egg explosion. Okay, so now that we know it’s gorgeous, let’s talk about the content. Kaptara was a lot more real and oddly down to earth than I expected, but it still managed to be insanely riveting and upbeat. The crew is fantastically diverse, which allows them to have real conversations about real life serious things in a way that is not at all forced or contrived. Kaptara is adventurous and fun. It is also sad and thoughtful. It does all of this expertly and smoothly so that nothing feels jarring or out of place. Also, I’m a really big fan of the little moon with arms that says “Follow your dreams” on it.
Infinite Loop #1
Writer: Pierrick Colinet
Artist/Cover Artist: Elsa Charretier
Time travel and dinosaurs! This comic is super fun and frollicky, but it also has a message that I was not expecting. It takes a closer look at the continuing cycle of discrimination and violence directed at love that is so often apparent in the history of humanity. It brings up questions about the value of continuing to love versus the value of protecting yourself and your emotions. Like Kaptara, it is both an entertaining and a thoughtful read and is worth picking up tomorrow.
Writer: Chris Lewis
Artist: Bruno Oliveira
Cover Artist: Ramon Villalobos
Drones is one of those few comics I was unsure about that was actually worse than I expected. From what I understood from the solicitations for this series, Drones is meant to be a commentary on our society’s obsession with watching violence and horrific acts of war happen and then carrying on with our lives. It’s meant to be satire, highlighting the way in which we use real life atrocities as entertainment. Sounds cool and important, right? So what happens when this idea turns into a comic that reads as if it actually is bigoted, uninformed, and insensitive? Because I expected societal commentary going in, I looked for it and therefore was able to find some glimmer of what it was trying to be. But if I had been someone going in blindly, without any previous expectations, I would have been even more confused, offended, and disappointed than I was anyway. A responsibility inherent in creating satire is making sure your audience is aware that the views portrayed in your work are not meant to be favorable. This doesn’t have to be obnoxiously obvious, but I like to think that I’m a fairly intelligent person, and if I’m genuinely wondering if I was wrong and the creators aren’t going for satire, but are actually endorsing the topic they’re writing about, there might be a problem. That being said, the art is really cool and different.
Curb Stomp #3
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writer: Ryan Ferrier
Artist/Cover Artist: Devaki Neogi
Ah! Things are getting all crazy and intense and yikes! The art continues to be super on point and it adds to the intensity of the escalating events. You know a story is well written when it has the ability to break your heart, then pick up the pieces and patch it back together again. This issue is action-packed and emotional and I still can’t get over Betty’s hair.