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Comic Reviews Archives - Page 4 of 99 - Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

What I bought – March 2014 selections


On the narrow Augesd dam where for so many years the old miller had been accustomed to sit in his tasseled cap peacefully angling, while his grandson, with shirt sleeves rolled up, handled the floundering silvery fish in the watering can, on that dam over which for so many years Moravians in shaggy caps and blue jackets had peacefully driven their two-horse carts loaded with wheat and had returned dusty with flour whitening their carts – on that narrow dam amid the wagons and the cannon, under the horses’ hoofs and between the wagon wheels, men disfigured by fear of death now crowded together, crushing one another, dying, stepping over the dying and killing on another, only to move on a few steps and be killed themselves in the same way. (Leo Tolstoy, from War and Peace)
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Review time! with The Rattler

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“Dunk you under deep salt water / In my dreaming you’ll be drowning / Raise me up Lord call me Lazarus / Hey Lord help me make me marvel”
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Advance Review: How i Made the World #1

HiMtW Cover

by Liz Plourde & Randy Michaels


It’s easy for me to get into a rut with superhero comics.  Superheroes are, after all, what turned me onto comic books—growing up watching Saturday morning X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons, Marvel’s extraordinary world mesmerized me and left me wanting more of its wonderful, addictive escapism.  I identified with and clung to characters like Rogue, whose strength I admired, and whose power and dramatic angst hooked me.  And for the longest time, these were the only comics that I read.

Decades later, this same sense of the fantastic can sometimes be what drives me away from superhero books.  For me, the ultimate purpose of reading a story is to connect with something—a character, a situation, a feeling.  If I can’t make any emotional connection to the Justice League fighting Darkseid for the hundredth time—entertaining though it can be—I’m left wanting something deeper … something else.

That search always seems to lead me to independents, and it was the yearning for a pertinent story that led me to discover the likes of Craig Thompson, Terry Moore, Marjane Satrapi, and countless others.  Sometimes, I don’t want to escape.  Sometimes, I want the stuff that shows me what it’s like to be a person dealing with real life, in all of its joyful, frightening, wondrous, and confusing aspects.

That evocation of the relatable, then, is what makes Liz Plourde and Randy Michael’s Xeric Award-winning How i Made the World such a pleasing read.

The first issue of this book is broken up into two stories, both following the character of Liz, a college student who confides in us through journal entry that she isn’t “a real writer,” but rather a “sophomore struggling not to max out my meal plan before the end of the week.”  In the first story, “The Monster,” Liz finds herself struggling to complete an art midterm wherein she is tasked to imagine and create a sculpture of a “seed pod.”  The seed pod can take more or less any shape she desires, and eventually her appetite and devotion to a nearby clam hut leads her to settle on crafting an oyster-like sculpture—her own “SEAd pod,” nyuk nyuk.

Michelangelo stated that he could see the statue inside every block of marble—he only had to carve away the material to reveal HiMtW Promowhat was hidden underneath, and this is exactly how Liz thinks her piece will come to her.  “That’s how artists create masterpieces, right?” she muses—but as anyone who has spent any time in an art class knows, it’s never that easy.  Liz works on her assignment through the nights, forgoing sleep—and when she does sleep, she’s haunted by nightmares of the monster that is her task.  The comic then alternates between scenes of Liz commiserating with her friends and fighting to complete her work.  What makes those scenes stand out in particular are the supporting characters—aside from buoying Liz at the right moments, they also flesh out the story in such a subtle yet meaningful way.  I read them thinking “I know these people,” and I have to tip my hat to Plourde and Michaels for making these characters so lively in so few panels.  I immediately fell for Liz’s art instructor—I’m pretty sure she was my own high school art teacher.

I would be remiss not to mention Randy Michaels’ artwork.  This book is so clean, and I absolutely love that.  It fits the tone of the story so well—anything “dirty” or “scratchy” would have taken me right out.  Instead, Michaels draws me in, whether it’s through the detailed background of a building or the more simply-depicted but hysterical scene of Liz’s roommate coming out of the shower.  Something about it harkens to Alison Bechdel, and that’s never a bad thing.

In a panel where Liz wonders what the point of her assignment is, her best friend Parker offers that “the point is the experience.”  It’s when Liz takes that advice and lets go of her anxiety that she finds the clarity and strength to complete the seed pod.  On the surface, while the story is about a commonplace struggle—completing an art project—ultimately, and as any good narrative will address, it’s really about the larger need of finding and accepting who you are.  Reading this book brought me inside myself into something relevant—and lately, I want more of that from my comics.

If that isn’t enough for one issue, the second story in the comic—“Catman”—gives us the best of both fantasy and reality.  A young Liz is told that her uncle has seen Liz’s cat Wally shapeshift from cat to human and back again.  Liz is convinced that Wally must be half-cat, half-man, and spends the rest of the story trying to catch him in the act of shapeshifting.  “Catman” is a little bit of whimsy grounded in a down-to-earth, nostalgic story—and that’s the perfect note on which this issue ends.

How i Made the World #1 will be listed in the April Previews (out March 26), for release in June.


Review time! with Cape Horn

03-20-2014 10;24;28AM

“Dark angels follow me / Over a godless sea / Mountains of endless falling / For all my days remaining”
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Review time! with The Absence

03-09-2014 12;40;23PM

“Passing by the padlocked swings / The roundabout still turning / Ahead they see a small girl / On her way home with a pram”
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Review time! with Crystallized

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I received a nice .pdf of this comic from its creator, and now he’s posting a page a day to his Tumblr, so I feel bad I didn’t get to it sooner. But at least I can write some nice things about it before the entire comic goes up!
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Trade paperbacks, older editions, and miscellaneous for February 2014

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“In war we’re tough and able / Quite indefatigable / Between our quests we sequin vests and impersonate Clark Gable”
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What I bought – 26 February 2014

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“Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love’s triangles.” (Oscar Wilde, from The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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What I bought – 19 February 2014

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That cloud of falling golden hair, that vivacious green, those trembling shadows, that shy, delighted, self-surprised face … if her God was watching, He must have wished Himself the Fallen One that night. (John Fowles, from The French Lieutenant’s Woman)
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Review time! with The Joyners in 3D

02-18-2014 04;43;21PM (2)

“Freedom belongs only to those / Without video screens for eyes and mouth”
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What I bought – 12 February 2014

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“I wish life was like banking,” I said. “I don’t mean it’s straightforward. Some of it’s incredibly complicated. But you can understand it in the end, if you try hard enough. Or there’s someone, somewhere, who understands it, even if only afterward, after it’s too late. The trouble with life, it seems to me, is that it can turn out to be too late and you still haven’t understood it.” (Julian Barnes, from Talking It Over)
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Review time! with some small-press comics!

02-11-2014 01;25;29PM (2)

Yeah, I get comics sent to me occasionally. We all do, and it’s always fun. I review everything that is sent to me as a physical copy, but occasionally I forget to review stuff that is sent to me electronically. If it’s not right in front of me, my oldness kicks in and it slips my mind! So today I’d like to review a few things that two Facebook friends sent me recently (meaning in December and January). Plus, on the 26th of January I went over to the Amazing Arizona Comic Convention, and I bought a few comics there that I’d like to review as well. Finally, I just got another comic via email, so I’ll check that out, too. So let’s get going, shall we?
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What I bought – 5 February 2014

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“Well, I don’t really know how it feels, because I was so upset over it, but basically it feels like you’ve just tried to kill yourself. Until you almost kill a person you don’t really understand what it’s like to be a human being, how quickly and easily you can die yourself. Up to that point, I pictured life as something that gradually leads to death. And death was a process, something that happened over a period of time, eventually. Now I know that death is a halt. It just happens, suddenly. Life ends. Life just stops, and even if you’re ninety, it still happens right in the middle of your life.” (Jeremy Leven, from Creator)
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Review time! with Basil & Victoria: London Guttersnipes

02-04-2014 08;46;49AM

“One evening as I was lying down by Leicester Square / I was picked up by the coppers and kicked in the balls / Between the metal doors at Vine Street I was beaten and mauled”
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